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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 23, 2012

Dish Network Settles VOOM HD Dispute with AMC and Cablevision

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

In the ongoing legal war between telecom and technology giants, a truce has been declared on one of the battles.

Cable giant Cablevision and AMC Networks recently settled their litigation with DISH Network LLC related to VOOM HD Holdings LLC. The lawsuit, VOOM HD Holdings LLC v. EchoStar Satellite (News - Alert) LLC, was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.

The lawsuit was borne out of Dish Network’s announcement in May of this year that it would no longer carry the AMC Networks family of cable channels upon the expiration of the satellite provider's distribution agreement with the company at the end of June 2012, citing that AMC Networks charged an excessive amount in retransmission consent payments from the service for their carriage and low audience viewership for the channels.

AMC Networks responded to Dish Network's announcement of its pending removal of the channels as being related to a 2008 breach of contract lawsuit against Dish Network by former company parent Rainbow Media's Voom HD Networks. AMC sought more than $2.5 billion in damages against Dish Network for improperly terminating its carriage contract.

This new settlement will see Dish paying up to $700 Million in damages to Cablevision for damages from removing Voom owned channels off the Dish lineup in 2008, and in return Dish signed a new agreement with AMC.

The specific settlement terms are as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

“We are glad to partner again with DISH Network and are delighted to bring back our popular channels and programming to their customers,” Josh Sapan, president and CEO at AMC Networks, said in a statement announcing the settlement.

Edited by Braden Becker

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