Lifetime Publishes Open Letter in Fight With EchoStar

Jan 11, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Lifetime Entertainment Services turned up the heat in its battle with EchoStar Communications, publishing a full-page advertisement in several newspapers that urges the satellite operator to return Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network to its system.

In the ad, which is in the form of an open letter addressed to EchoStar Chairman Charlie Ergen, leaders of some 50 women’s organizations and advocates expressed “deep concern and regret that your Dish Network decided to take the No. 1 and No. 2 highest-rated women’s networks off the air.”

The letter goes on to say, “Your drastic, unnecessary actions and unwillingness to restore Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network to the air and to continue working toward an agreement suggest that you do not listen to what women want and do not have their best interests in mind.”

The ads ran Wednesday in the New York Times, Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News.

Colorado-based EchoStar stopped distributing Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network over New Year Day’s weekend, after both sides failed to reach a new carriage agreement.

EchoStar in a statement said that Lifetime officials asked for a 76 percent rate increase, something that Lifetime officials deny, saying that the increase they sought was “modest.” The two companies also appear to be in dispute about whether an offer was made to keep the channel on the EchoStar’s system beyond the Dec. 31, 2005, termination date of the original contract while both sides hammered out a new deal.