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DirecTV service stall-out a reminder of the importance of effective contract negotiation

Utah readers who subscribe to DirecTV may remember that the first football game of the NFL season was unavailable for viewing last month. The reason the game never aired is apparently that NBC’s affiliate in Utah, KSL-TV, has been off the air completely for DirecTV subscribers due to a contract dispute.

KSL says that DirecTV has failed to provide fair compensation for airing its programs while DirecTV accuses KFL of requesting too much. Sources didn’t provide any specifics about the terms of the dispute, but KSL maintains that the compensation it is requesting is fair and comparable to what other cable companies have agreed to pay. The contract at issue in the dispute apparently ended at the end up June, but was extended several times prior to service being cut off.

Contract disputes are not uncommon in the business world, and it is important for companies to understand their goals in contract negotiation and utilize effective having their interests addressed in the final outcome. This is especially important for smaller companies with less bargaining power, like KSL in the above case. When a company cannot rely on sheer size and influence, engaging in effective negotiation is even more critical.

Obviously the specific strategies a company uses in contract negotiation depends on the terms being offered, the companies’ history, the availability of mutually acceptable alternative arrangements and terms, and a number of other factors. Sorting out all of these things is not necessarily easy, and it is important for companies to work with experienced legal counsel when doing so.

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