EchoStar/Lifetime Rift Intensifies, Net Seeks To Chip Dish

A dispute between Dish Network and Lifetime Entertainment Services intensified, even as both sides continued to negotiate a way out.

Dish fired off a letter to the heads of prominent women's organizations, asserting that the issue "is about economics, not women's issues." Meanwhile, Lifetime expanded the scope of a "drop Dish" ad campaign to five additional markets as well as television and radio.

The Dish letter was a return salvo for an ad Lifetime ran Wednesday, charging it with denying women "inspiration and support;" the ad ran in the form of an open letter to Dish CEO Charlie Ergen, and was signed by a slew of prominent female activists.

Dish and Lifetime are locked in a stand-off over the fees satellite operator Dish would pay Lifetime to carry two of its female-oriented channels. As a result, Dish has blacked out Lifetime in up to 12 million homes.

Both sides say they continue to negotiate on a deal that would restore Lifetime's flagship channel and movie network to Dish customers.



Dish says Lifetime is making an "excessive price demand," Lifetime counters that the dispute is over "pennies."

The flagship Lifetime Television channel saw a 4 percent increase in prime-time viewing last year, while Lifetime Movie Network had a 15 percent jump.

On Thursday, Lifetime expanded its ad campaign, encouraging Dish users to switch to a competitor, either DirecTV or a cable provider. The radio, television, and print effort is now in the Houston, Albuquerque, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, and Greenville, S.C. areas.

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