Louisiana residents who are TV aficionados can breathe a sigh of relief that portions of their Dish Network TV service has been restored after a 14 hour outage. The outage ended when Dish Network and Hearst Television were able to meet each other half way and come to terms with their latest agreement. Finalizing the agreement meant that 25 different markets, including New Orleans, that were receiving Hearst stations had those stations finally restored.
The outage started immediately after both companies’ prior retransmission-consent contract expired. Until a new contract could be drawn up and negotiated, nearly two million Dish Network active members lost their feeds to about 29 different Hearst stations; not only in the Louisiana market, but other states as well.
Though a new contract has been drawn up and the terms have been agreed upon and finalized by both parties, the specific terms of the agreement have not and are unlikely to be disclosed. As such, it’s not clear what the contract dispute was about that caused the outage and disruption of dish service to those millions of Dish network subscribers.
Hearst TV, however, did make statements that hinted that the problem stemmed from Dish Networks’ inflexibility in accepting common marketplace terms that are standard practice in the industry. Hearst did not make any statements with any specificity however, opting to keep their statements vague.
Dish Network intimated Hearst used subscribers as bargaining chips while making unreasonable requests during contract negotiations. In fact, they claimed that they offered to keep broadcasting Hearst programming while the terms of the new contracts were being negotiated but that Hearst refused the offer.
As exemplified in the contract dispute above, such disagreements affect not only consumers and subscribers, but also the businesses involved. Negotiations are commonplace in a business setting and it is necessary to periodically evaluate a business relationship and negotiate better terms. However, such negotiations should not adversely impact consumers. Utilizing the legal knowledge a business law firm has to offer in contract negotiations may help parties efficiently reach a fair deal.
Source: Variety, “UPDATED: Dish, Hearst TV Reach Deal Ending 14-Hour Blackout of Stations in 25 Markets,” Todd Spangler, April 9, 2014