Dish Sues NBCUniversal for Breach of Contract in Carriage Dispute

Company plans to file for arbitration to prevent NBC from blacking out Dish customers

Dish Network is suing NBCUniversal for breach of contract as negotiations to renew said contract continue between the two companies.

“NBC’s public statements against Dish over the past 24 hours are in violation of the contract between the two companies,” Dish said in a statement, adding that the company expects to file for arbitration to prevent NBC from blacking out its channels to Dish customers.

“NBC is forbidden from blacking out its networks if a pay-TV provider chooses, in its sole discretion, to exercise its right for binding arbitration,” the statement continued. “Regulators implemented these conditions to prevent Comcast and NBC from harming consumers and competition.”

NBCU said it would “of course” participate in the arbitration as mandated in the Comcast-NBCU merger.

“Should Dish proceed with arbitration we will of course participate in the process, and look forward to receiving the fair market value for our portfolio of networks,” an NBCU spokesperson said.

The suit comes amid an increasingly contentious dispute over the companies’ mutual carriage renewal agreement. NBCU previously launched the public campaign “Make Dish Deliver” to get subscribers to apply pressure on the satellite carrier.

Read Dish’s full statement below:

“NBC’s public statements against DISH over the past 24 hours are in violation of the contract between the two companies. Today, DISH filed a breach of contract lawsuit against NBC to address those violations.

“DISH has successfully negotiated agreements representing numerous networks in recent months that benefit all parties, including our viewers. DISH’s goal is to reach a mutually beneficial deal with NBC.

“However, based on NBCU’s actions to date, DISH currently expects to file for arbitration, which would prevent NBC from blacking out DISH customers.

“Under the conditions imposed by the FCC and Department of Justice in approving the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger, NBC is forbidden from blacking out its networks if a pay-TV provider chooses, in its sole discretion, to exercise its right for binding arbitration. Regulators implemented these conditions to prevent Comcast and NBC from harming consumers and competition.

“In the event of arbitration, affected programming would remain available during that process, and for the foreseeable future.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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