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Lifetime Ads Say 'Dump Dish'

January 13, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Lifetime Networks, known for its tear-jerker television movies, is running newspaper and TV ads asking viewers to "dump Dish" after EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network dropped the channels.

Lifetime, jointly owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., teamed up with cable operators, which are offering $200 to Dish satellite TV subscribers who switch their service. In an open letter, Lifetime and 50 women's groups also asked EchoStar Chief Executive Charles Ergen to bring back Lifetime channels.

EchoStar, the No. 2 U.S. satellite TV provider, pulled the Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network channels from its lineup because of a contract dispute, EchoStar said Jan. 1.

"The contract they sent over called for a 76% price increase," EchoStar spokesman Mark Cicero said. He challenged Lifetime to waive the right to pricing confidentiality.

Lifetime spokesman Gary Morgenstein disputed Cicero's comment, saying the new contract called for 4 cents more per customer than a previous agreement that expired Dec. 31. Negotiations were ongoing, he said.

Lifetime on Thursday ran radio, TV and print ads, after Wednesday's newspaper ads, two full pages side by side, told viewers to "Take Back Your Lifetime!" The letter to Ergen says that because of the removal of the channels, "millions of women will not get the inspiration and support they need and deserve."

Cicero offered to broadcast, at his company's expense, any valuable information or public service announcements to its viewers that they were missing by not watching Lifetime.

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