EchoStar Communications Corp. pulled Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network from its lineup on New Year’s Eve after the companies failed to agree on terms of a new carriage deal.
EchoStar officials said Lifetime was demanding a 76% increase in its license fees and attempting to squeeze its Dish Network direct-broadcast satellite service into carrying new digital channel Lifetime Real Women.
“Lifetime is also insisting that Dish Network force consumers to pay for a new channel with similar content to a channel already available on Dish Network. In order to continue to bring customers the programming they want at a fair price every month, Dish Network must say no to Lifetime’s strong-arm tactics,” EchoStar said in a prepared statement.
Lifetime dismissed EchoStar’s claims on a statement posted on the network’s Web site (www.lifetimetv.com/about/echo3.html).
“The truth is that Dish is totally misleading their subscribers and, at the same time, denying women their favorite networks. The truth is that Dish unilaterally pulled Lifetime networks off the air -- on New Year’s Eve, no less -- despite our offer to extend their contract through the holidays and despite more than seven months of our efforts to reach a fair agreement,” Lifetime wrote in its statement.
EchoStar is also attempting to pressure Lifetime by offering a free preview of rival WE: Women’s Entertainment to subscribers.