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EchoStar, MGM Discuss Channel

January 10, 2002|From Bloomberg News

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., owner of a library with more than 14,000 movies and television shows, is in talks with EchoStar Communications Corp. to start an MGM-branded channel on the Dish satellite TV service.

"We are now in discussions with EchoStar about that very subject, on putting an MGM channel on their platform," Chief Executive Alex Yemenidjian said at an investor conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

MGM has been investing in TV networks in other countries, such as Brazil, India, Israel and Turkey, to broadcast MGM programs and movies. The Santa Monica-based company owns the rights to many hit films, including the "James Bond" and "Rocky" series.

Yemenidjian said in an interview that the talks are in an "embryonic" stage. A spokeswoman for Littleton, Colo.-based EchoStar declined to comment.

EchoStar is the second-largest U.S. satellite TV broadcaster. If it completes its planned acquisition of rival Hughes Electronics Corp.'s DirecTV satellite TV service, it will have 16 million subscribers, more than any U.S. cable TV company.

MGM shares fell 15 cents to $20.60 on the New York Stock Exchange, and have increased 23% in the last year. EchoStar fell 32 cents to $29.05 on Nasdaq and has climbed 19% in the last year.

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