$2.4B AMC, DISH trial set to begin

Michelle Clancy | 20-09-2012

Jury selection in the trial between AMC Networks and DISH Network for $2.4 billion is set to begin on Thursday. The state court in New York will decide whether DISH wrongfully terminated a 15-year contract for Voom, a now-defunct HD TV channel.

In May 2008, DISH took Voom off the air for poor ratings and in December of that year, AMC's former owner, Cablevision, announced it was shutting the service down. Nonetheless, it sued DISH in 2008 for breach of contract and the issue has lingered on. The court will decide on the breach-of-contract claims.
Meanwhile, DISH's decision to drop AMC's channels from its lineup in July looms over the case.
DISH decided to drop AMC's four networks in July, saying the carriage fees AMC wanted were too high considering the popularity of the channels. Outside of Mad Men and Walking Dead home AMC Network, the other three cable nets can only be considered niche: they include IFC, the Sundance channel and WE tv. AMC however accused DISH of using the tactic to force an out-of-court settlement in the lawsuit. DISH's 14 million customers made up 13% of AMC's subscriber base.
"We've been off the platform for a couple of months now, and we think we're off because of litigation and not because of anything related to what our prices are for programming," AMC CEO Joshua Sapan said during an investor conference.