DirecTV and Sinclair argue over lack of contractual enforcement


Many New Jersey business owners would agree that contract disputes tend to concern money. That certainly seems to be the case with the current negotiations between satellite TV provider DirecTV and Sinclair Broadcasting Group. According to statements from DirecTV, it has no problem with contractual enforcement on its end, but at the same time, the TV provider does not feel it is necessary to overcharge customers for programming.

Sinclair - which owns NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and CW stations across the country - claims that it spends millions of dollars every year on programming and expects DirecTV to offer Sinclair fairer compensation. If the two companies do not reach a deal soon, some DirecTV customers could be without 87 channels in 47 markets. This includes local channels such as CW.

DirecTV faced a similar situation last summer, when a dispute with Viacom left customers without 17 Viacom channels, including Nickelodeon and MTV, for 10 days. DirecTV also battled with Capitol Broadcasting earlier this year over a contract. The negotiations were settled just before the deadline.

When a contract is created, both parties offer their feedback to ensure that they are content with the agreement. For example, one party supplies the goods or services and the other remits payment on an agreed-upon schedule. However, sometimes things compromise the original contract. Delays occur, money runs out and the unexpected happens. This can result in a breach of the original contract. Whether or not the existing contract was clearly-written, legal help is almost always needed to determine each party's obligations, review contractual defense if applicable, and complete other complex tasks.

When a contract is breached, the parties can work together to come up with a revised contract based on the circumstances, if such cooperation is possible. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, they may take legal action and sue the other party in court. If no agreement can be made, DirecTV and Sinclair may need to resort to that option.

Source:, " Contract dispute puts local CW signal to DirecTV in question," Brook Cain, Feb. 25, 2013