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Dispute between satellite television provider and CBS resolved

Earlier this month individuals who subscribe to Dish Network for satellite television may have experienced a blackout of CBS programming which lasted for 12 hours. A technical glitch was not to blame for this outage. Instead, a contractual dispute between the two prompted the network to go off the air for a time. The programming was restored as soon as the dispute was resolved.

Disputes such as this one are not all that uncommon currently. As networks are seeking to maintain digital rights to their programming and receive higher rates, distributors are trying to continue to make money by keeping a lid on programming costs. The desire for both sides to make a profit can result in difficulties reaching an agreement.

In the course of the negotiation the two businesses addressed not only the programming on networks owned by CBS such as Showtime and CBS Sports, they also covered digital rights for Showtime and video-on-demand. The agreement reached is multiyear.

The fact that the outage was so short may reflect the desire of both parties to the agreement to minimize the amount of money lost. This is because blackouts are more than just a nuisance for subscribers—they are failing to receive something they pay for. This could lead some subscribers to ultimately end their relationship with the satellite television provider. In addition, the cost associated with litigating such a case can cause both sides a large amount of money. Accordingly, the fact that this matter was resolved in a relatively short amount of time was likely beneficial to all involved.

Source: The New York Times, “CBS and Dish End Dispute, Resolving a 12-Hour Blackout,” Emily Steel, Dec. 6, 2014

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