Cablevision and AMC Networks have settled their lawsuit with Dish Network for $700 million, the parties announced.
The deal brings to end a dispute over whether Dish breached an affiliate agreement by terminating AMC’s Voom HD Network in 2008. At a trial that began in late September, AMC sought some $2.4 billion in damages from what it believed was Dish’s improper termination. Dish had defended itself by saying that it had the authority to cancel the Voom deal based on a contractual clause requiring Cablevision/AMC to invest $100 million per year on the channel. The parties disagreed on whether that money had to go to programming or whether overhead could be included.
As part of the deal to cut short the weeks-long trial, and on top of the $700 million cash settlement, Dish has also reached a new carriage agreement with AMC, bringing the Walking Dead network back to the satellite distributor along with IFC, Sundance, and WE TV. The return of these channels comes months after they were dropped by Dish, leading to relentless commercials from AMC telling fans of Breaking Bad and Walking Dead to abandon Dish.
As part of the agreement between the parties, Dish is also paying an additional $80 million to receive certain wireless spectrum licenses.
“We are glad to have settled the case and reestablished our long-term relationshipswith AMC Networks and Cablevision,” said Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming at Dish. “This multi-year deal delivers a fair value for both parties and includes digital expansion opportunities for AMC Networks’ programming.”
AMC’s full press release is below.
“Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC) and AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX) today announced that they have settled their litigation with DISH Network LLC (NASDAQ: DISH) related to VOOM HD Holdings LLC. The lawsuit, VOOM HD Holdings LLC v. EchoStar Satellite LLC, was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.
The settlement agreements include the following components:
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.;
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; and
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.
Promptly after payment of the cash settlement is received, the parties will file a joint stipulation to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice. The allocation of the settlement proceeds between Cablevision and AMC Networks will be determined pursuant to the existing agreement relating to this litigation between the two companies.
Said Josh Sapan, President and CEO, 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.”