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TV broadcast business dispute coming to an end

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., which is based here in Maryland, is one of the country's largest television broadcasting companies. Recently, Sinclair became embroiled in a business dispute with Dish Network Corp., a satellite television provider. For one day, customers in several states covering 79 markets, which includes nearly 129 local affiliates (a combination of CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and CW) were without their local stations, which affected approximately five million Dish customers.

Disputes between cable/satellite providers and broadcast groups over the cost of channels are not new. Time Warner Cable experienced a month long blackout of some channels during its dispute with CBS in 2013. Fortunately, customers affected by Dish's dispute with Sinclair only lost their channels for one day.

The FCC stepped in with the aim of restoring the channels to Dish customers. Those efforts were successful since the two companies came to an agreement to extend their expired contract for a short term while they continue negotiations. Reportedly, at least part of the dispute surrounds an unidentified channel that Sinclair does not yet own. The two companies supposedly have managed to agree on an outline of a new agreement.

When a Maryland company is involved in a business dispute, a disruption of normal business can occur. Limiting the amount of time services or goods are suspended from getting to consumers is an understandable goal. Sometimes, it is a good idea to agree to small steps -- such as an extension of an expired contract -- in order to keep the business going while the parties continue to work toward a new agreement. This could help ensure that neither side loses ground on a journey toward achieving and maintaining success.

Source: US News & World Report, "Dish and Sinclair agree in principle on new contract", Tali Arbel, Aug. 26, 2015

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