Customers of Dish Network in Louisiana may have recently noticed a disruption in their satellite communications and programming. What many Dish Network customers may not know is that there was an ongoing contract dispute regarding a retransmission agreement between Dish Network and Raycom Media, which led Raycom Media to block programming for several days.

Raycom Media is one of the largest broadcasters in the U.S. and provides services to 18 states including Louisiana. The contract dispute arose when, in order to air its stations, Raycom asked Dish Network to pay nearly four times what Dish was paying in retransmission fees previously. Dish offered Raycom similar rates as their competitors, but allegedly Raycom did not accept the offer and the companies reached an impasse. As a result of a failure to negotiate a compromise on the terms of the retransmission agreement, Dish Network customers experienced a lapse in programming.

According to the American Television Alliance, last year broadcasters such as Raycom Media cut off programming a little over 90 times. Fees associated with retransmission are a major source of revenue for broadcasters but associated fee increases have become a major point of contention with cable and satellite companies such as Dish Network.

Contractual negotiations are a part of any business. When companies do not reach an agreement or are unable to negotiate the terms of an agreement or contract, their business relationship and customers suffer. It is not uncommon to revisit the terms of an agreement to determine if it makes economic sense to continue a business relationship. Nevertheless, such matters can get complex. Thus, regardless of the nature of a business or contract dispute, it is important for a company to involve an experienced business law firm to negotiate the terms of an agreement and contract.

Source: The Advocate, “Dispute takes WAFB, WBXH off Dish Network,” Timothy Boone, Aug. 8, 2013