DISH, Lifetime Strike Deal - Broadcasting & Cable

DISH, Lifetime Strike Deal

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EchoStar and Lifetime have reached a truce in the carriage battle in which they’ve been engaged for a month. The two have reached a "multi-year agreement" for EchoStar’s DISH satellite service to carry Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network.

The two channels, yanked from Dish’s lineup Dec. 31 when Lifetime’s previous carriage contract expired, returned to DISH at around 11 p.m. Tuesday night.

Lifetime returns to DISH’s America’s Top 60 and DISH Latino Dos programming packages. Lifetime Movie Network will be carried on America's Top 180 package. It was previously carried on America's Top 120 package.

In a related deal, EchoStar also revised its retransmission consent agreement with stations owned by Hearst-Argyle Television.

The broadcaster’s controlling shareholder – Hearst Corp. – also owns 50% of Lifetime.
For years, Hearst-Argyle let Lifetime act as its agent in retransmission consent agreements with all cable and DBS operators. But as part of its Lifetime dispute, EchoStar offered a separate deal with Hearst-Argyle, robbing Lifetime of leverage. Women may not have screamed loudly when EchoStar removed Lifetime, but sports fans would have if they didn’t get college bowl games on Hearst-Argyle’s local stations.

In a new securities filing, the broadcaster said it has returned to allowing EchoStar to pay Lifetime, which in turn compensates Hearst-Argyle.

Lifetime said it had ceased carriage negotiations with EchoStar near the end of January. EchoStar said Lifetime was asking for a large increase in license fees and carriage of a new Lifetime network, while Lifetime countered that EchoStar demanded to cut fees by up to 33%.

A war of words ensued, with Lifetime taking out a full-page ad in The New York Times accusing Dish of not caring about women, and EchoStar sending Lifetime a letter offering to carry the network on an à la carte basis.

Neither Lifetime nor DISH would comment .

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