Such a clause typically enables a large distributor to get programming more cheaply than a smaller distributor, much like the way a chain store such as Wal-Mart often gets products from suppliers at a lower cost than a stand-alone supermarket can.
Another topic that may get attention from the Justice Department is how programmers package channels that are licensed to distributors, a practice known as bundling.
Programmers such as Viacom Inc. and Disney often package less popular channels with their more successful ones. For example, a distributor would have to pay more to carry Disney's ESPN but not its various spin-off channels than to carry all the ESPN channels.
Bundling is a sore point for distributors as well as for smaller programmers such as Herring's Wealth TV, but efforts to eliminate it through the courts have not succeeded.