EchoStar Communications Corp. will charge $3.99 for movies
shown in Dolby Digital Surround Sound on a Dish Network "All-Day Ticket,"
chairman Charlie Ergen said last week during an on-air customer chat.
The new pricing takes effect Oct. 2. The rest of the
company's PPV movies will remain $2.99 per view.
Direct-broadcast-satellite rival DirecTV Inc. prices all of
its PPV movies at $2.99, whether they are shown in letterbox format, Dolby Digital or
offered for all-day viewing, spokesman Bob Marsocci said. The company has no immediate
plans to raise PPV pricing, he added.
The company has not yet set pricing for PPV movies to be
televised in the high-definition format.
Picture masters cost significantly more in Dolby Digital
than for other formats, EchoStar director of pay-per-view Susan Grillo-Arnold said. The
company has no plans to raise the price on the rest of its PPV movies, she added.
EchoStar continues to promote its impulse-ordering
capability via remote control, which requires customers to keep their DBS receiver hooked
up to a telephone line at all times. In the past, those who preferred not to wire a phone
line to the receiver were charged a $5 fee to order from a live operator.
But the company recently set up an automated phone line
that allows subscribers to order a pay-per-view movie for a $1 surcharge, instead of $5.
In addition to impulse movie ordering, EchoStar's Dish
Network service has gradually introduced the concept of impulse special-events ordering to
its customer base. Last year, the company made impulse ordering available for events
priced at $19.95 or less.
Earlier this summer, Dish made certain World Championship
Wrestling cards available via impulse ordering. Starting this month, all events can be
ordered via a remote, although larger subscription sports packages must still be ordered
over the phone.
Grillo-Arnold said there is a credit limit on each
customer's receiver. After that limit is met, a message pops up on the viewer's
television screen prompting them to call in with a credit card for additional PPV orders.
She would not disclose what that limit is, citing confidentiality.
Dish Network late last month made two of its adult movie
services available on a PPV basis, as well keeping their subscription statuses.
Playboy TV costs $6.99 for a four-hour block and TEN (The
Erotic Network) is priced at $8.99 for 90 minutes.
Dish Network has also set up its channel 501 to allow users
to pre-purchase special events through their remote control several days in advance. The
company activated the feature for last Tuesday for last Saturday's Oscar de la
Hoya-Felix Trinidad fight.
With a temporary satellite at the 110 degrees west
longitude orbital location, pending the successful launch of a new satellite to that
location, Dish Network has gained additional spectrum for all of its pay-per-view
services. Between the satellites at 110 and 119 degrees that will service the
company's "Dish 500" customers, EchoStar currently devotes 24 channels to
Another 10 PPV sports channels, at channels 455 to 464,
were recently enabled for all Dish Network customers who wish to access ESPN Game Plan
events by the package or for any given Saturday.
The company also offers a wide range of sports programming
targeted to customers of its international programming packages.
This month and next, Dish Network is offering three
different cricket tournament packages. Last month, it aired a Mexican soccer package. The
company is preparing to offer a World Cup Rugby package at the end of October.
"We try to do live matches whenever we can,"
Grillo-Arnold said. When the events are held in the middle of the night, Dish Network
sometimes airs an immediate replay of a match for viewers who don't wish to get up
"Live will always do better," Grillo-Arnold