Cablevision announces settlement with Dish

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Dish Network Corp. has agreed to pay $700 million to settle a breach-of-contract dispute with Cablevision Systems Corp., ending a four-year legal battle.

The companies announced details of the agreement in statements released Sunday, as a trial headed into its fourth week in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. In addition to the cash payment, the settlement calls for Dish to resume broadcasting Cablevision's former subsidiary, AMC Networks, and its programming, which includes "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad."

"We are glad to partner again with Dish Network and are delighted to bring back our popular channels and programming to their customers," AMC chief executive Josh Sapan said in a statement issued by Cablevision announcing the settlement.

The dispute dates back to 2008, when Cablevision's former unit, Voom HD, filed a lawsuit accusing a Dish affiliate, EchoStar Corp., of breaking a 15-year agreement to broadcast high-definition channels over its satellite network. Cablevision, which owns Newsday, says it lost $2.4 billion in revenue when the deal collapsed.

Dish, based in Colorado, said it broke off the deal because the Bethpage company failed to spend a required $100 million annually on programs.

Last week, an analyst for Barclays said the evidence at trial had "overwhelmingly" supported Cablevision. Justice Richard B. Lowe III admonished Dish for destroying evidence, barred several of its witnesses from testifying and forced it to release emails that Cablevision says prove Dish unlawfully reneged on the deal.

In the run-up to the trial, Dish had declined to renew its broadcast contract with AMC, whose channels also include IFC and the Sundance Channel. The issue was not part of the lawsuit. But AMC accused Dish of dropping the channels to gain an upper hand in settlement talks. Dish will resume broadcasting AMC's channels by Nov. 1.

"We are glad to have settled the case and reestablished our long-term relationships with AMC Networks and Cablevision," said Dave Shull, Dish's senior vice president of programming.

Cablevision and AMC will evenly split the proceeds from the settlement. As part of the deal, Dish will receive $80 million worth of wireless broadcasting licenses from Cablevision covering 45 metropolitan areas in the United States, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

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Dish has also agreed to renew a broadcasting agreement with another former Cablevision subsidiary, The Madison Square Garden Co., to resume carrying its Fuse music network.

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