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Televisa, Univision settle legal dispute

US Spanish-language broadcaster Univision has settled its legal dispute with Mexican media giant Televisa with a deal that keeps Televisa’s hit novelas on Univision until 2017.

The broadcaster has agreed a deal to increase royalty payments to the program distributor that will see Univision pay an additional US$65 million per year to Televisa. The two parties have re-signed the Program License Agreement (PLA) that runs for nine more years.

Televisa filed a legal dispute in 2005, accusing Univision of underpaying royalties. However, many analysts suggested that the legal battle, which finally went to court earlier this month after a number of delays, was brought by the Mexican producer as a way of extricating itself from the 25 year content agreement and allowing it to set up its own US network. The dispute was settled hours before Televisa chairman Emilio Azcarraga was set to take the stand.

However, the two companies have yet to settle the disagreement over online rights to Televisa series including Dumb Girls Don’t Go To Heaven. The settlement doesn’t cover which company has the right to distribute such series digitally and that is expected to be resolved in court in March if the companies do not settle.

"This is an important matter," notes investment bank Morgan Stanley. "As a verdict in Televisa’s favor could permit it to sell its content to US-based IPTV providers and download sites like iTunes, as well as stream its content on US websites."