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Local TV station blackout hits 36 states due to contract dispute

A massive TV station blackout has hit Dish Network Corp. customers in multiple states across America. The blackout is the result of a contract dispute between Sinclair Broadcasting Group Inc. and Dish Network Corp. and so far the two companies appear to have reached an impasse.

The blackout has caused a record number of local TV stations, 129 in total, to be inaccessible by Dish Network customers in 79 television markets across 36 states, including Washington DC. According to the entertainment trade publication, Variety, this is the largest TV station blackout in history relating to a retransmission contract dispute.

As a result of the blackout, Dish Network submitted a legal complaint to the Federal Communications Commission on the evening of Aug. 26. The complaint is demanding the FCC to force Sinclair Broadcasting Group to negotiate the contract dispute in good faith. However, Hunt Valley, Maryland, based Sinclair claims that it is already willing to engage in good faith negotiations.

Whenever a contract dispute involves large corporations, and/or large government organizations, it could serve to cause a massive breakdown in business. Giant companies may not be able to provide services to their customers, and millions of dollars -- if not billions -- could be lost as a result. Therefore, it is always advantageous for organizations to begin contract negotiations as early as possible in order to renegotiate the terms of an agreement well in advance of the current agreement's expiration. That said, this is not always easy to achieve without employing a shrewd understanding of the law and copious amounts of diplomacy.

Source: 9 News, "Dish Network-Sinclair dispute sparks record TV blackouts," Aug. 25, 2015

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