AMC and Cablevision Reach Settlement to End Dish Blackout

by Anthony Caruso on November 8, 2012

Entertainment lawyer NYCFans of Mad Men, Break Bad, and The Walking Dead can breath a collective sigh of relief. The popular shows are back on the Dish Network after AMC Networks and Cablevision recently settled their four-year entertainment lawsuit with the Dish Network for $700 million.

The lawsuit centered on whether the Dish Network violated an affiliate agreement by dropping AMC's Voom HD Network. The satellite provider claimed that it was authorized to terminate the channels under a clause in the agreement requiring Cablevision/AMC to invest $100 million per year. A trial on these issues began in September.

The tensions between the parties escalated this summer when Dish blacked out AMC's networks, contending the channels’ ratings did not justify the increased licensing fee AMC was seeking under a new carriage agreement. AMC maintained that the blackout was a negotiating ploy to influence the ongoing lawsuit and said the two companies had never discussed a new agreement.

According to an AMC press release, the settlement addresses both disputes and contains the following provisions:

DISH Network pays a cash settlement of $700 million to Cablevision and AMC Networks, $80 million of which is in consideration for the purchase of Cablevision’s multichannel video and data distribution service (MVDDS) licenses in 45 metropolitan areas in the U.S.;

DISH Network enters into a long-term distribution agreement with AMC Networks to carry AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv, and with The Madison Square Garden Company to carry Fuse on its satellite service; and

DISH also conveys its 20-percent membership interest in VOOM HD to Rainbow Programming Holdings LLC, such that all of the cash settlement remains with Cablevision and AMC Networks.

Source: Reuters

For more information about this case or other legal issues surrounding affiliate and carriage agreements, please contact Anthony Caruso, Chair of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Sports and Entertainment Law Group.

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