EchoStar Communications Corp. early this month extended and
expanded its free-hardware promotion, adding free installation for new subscribers who
commit to $56.98 per month in programming for one year.
The direct-broadcast satellite company is backing the
promotion with a print and radio campaign -- "Our standard yell-and-sell
approach," vice president of marketing Mary Peterson said. Full-page ads ran on the
back cover of Parade Magazine May 2, and two radio spots broke May 3.
In one radio spot, a sympathetic announcer asked,
"Have you or a loved one ever been a victim of cable television?" He let the
audience know that Dish Network offers an alternative, but, "You must take the first
EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen was "laughing out loud
when he heard that the first time," Peterson said, adding, "Our target remains
cable: There's no doubt about it."
Still, EchoStar doesn't plan to leave any business on
the table. It extended its bounty program for PrimeStar Inc. subscribers through July 21,
even as DirecTV Inc. closed its $1.3 billion deal to acquire those medium-power DBS
Along with dealer incentives, EchoStar will offer PrimeStar
subscribers one free DBS receiver, free dish installation and six months of free
programming, worth $19.99 per month.
Under the "Dish Network One-Rate" plan, new
subscribers who buy three premium-movie services and the "America's Top
100" package get a $298 rebate -- enough to pay for a basic DBS receiver and
Two other options allow new subscribers to commit to less
expensive packages in return for smaller rebates. The current One-Rate plan runs through
There's no question that a $56.98-per-month commitment
may scare some consumers away from the One Rate plan. But Peterson insisted that many
people pay that much and more for cable each month.
"If you're spending that kind of money, why not
do it for a digital picture?" Peterson asked, adding that even operators that offer
digital-cable products don't deliver all of their channels in digital.