Dish Targets Comcast Subs with Offer

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EchoStar Communications Corp. kicked off a promotion Tuesday aimed at wooing cable customers in six Comcast Corp. markets with an offer of $19.99 per month for a 60-channel digital-video package for 12 months, plus three free months of Home Box Office and Showtime.

Officials at EchoStar wouldn’t comment on why the offer is only available in six cities where Comcast is the incumbent cable operator: Atlanta; Dallas; Kansas City, Mo.; Indianapolis; Pittsburgh; and Sacramento, Calif.

EchoStar noted in a press release that the offer, which expires Aug. 15, shows “disgruntled cable customers there is a better alternative.”

The direct-broadcast satellite provider said new customers in the six cities who sign up for its “Digital Home Advantage” package -- which includes 60 digital channels and local broadcast networks -- will be charged $19.99 per month for the first 12 months of service. Customers who make a one-year commitment will also get a free digital-video-recorder equipment upgrade, EchoStar said.

Digital Home Advantage includes EchoStar’s “America’s Top 60” package, which normally costs $31.99 monthly. The subscription cost for the programming package will go from $19.99 to $31.99 monthly after the first year of service, EchoStar spokesman Mark Cicero said.

Cicero said it is possible that EchoStar may expand the promotion to other cities. “We’re always looking for ways to offer the best offer to new subscribers and offer them the best value in the pay TV industry. At this time, I can’t divulge any of those plans,” he added.

When asked if Comcast would respond to the EchoStar offer, spokeswoman Jenni Moyer said the company would "evaluate it on a case-by-case basis.""We don't compete on price alone," Moyer added, noting Comcast's strategy of marketing other services in addition to video, such as video-on-demand and high-speed data.

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