Lifetime Rejects Unfair and Unreasonable 'Take It or Leave It' Offer From DISH Network
DISH Sought Draconian Cuts in Rates for Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network
As a Result, the Two Top-Rated Women's Networks
Will Remain Unavailable to DISH Subscribers
Building on Groundswell of Support from Viewers and Advocates,
Lifetime Launches National Campaign to Encourage DISH Subscribers to "Switch
NEW YORK, Jan. 22 -- Lifetime Entertainment Services today
rejected an unfair and unreasonable "take it or leave it" offer from DISH
Network that would have crippled Lifetime's and Lifetime Movie Network's
ability to offer quality entertainment and impassioned advocacy on behalf of
women. Lifetime will undertake a national multi-media campaign to encourage
DISH customers to "Take Back Your Lifetime" by switching from DISH because
Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network's programming will remain unavailable on
On New Year's Eve, DISH unilaterally yanked the #1 and #2 women's networks
off the air, falsely and repeatedly asserting that Lifetime sought a 76%
increase in its fees. This is an absolutely bogus number. Lifetime only
asked for a modest increase of a few pennies per month in its fees for the two
networks combined. In fact, negotiations broke down on New Year's Eve and
have broken down yet again over DISH's insistence that Lifetime accept a
draconian cut in rates that would be far below fair market value.
In the weeks since DISH's drastic action, there has been a groundswell of
support for the two networks from viewers, leading women's advocates and from
cable and other satellite providers. Nonetheless, DISH chose to continue to
deny millions of its subscribers the two most popular women's networks, even
after Lifetime offered to extend the existing contract while the two sides
"Despite the fact that Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network are the two
most-watched women's networks, including among DISH's own subscribers, DISH
sought to drastically cut the rates they pay," said Betty Cohen, President and
Chief Executive Officer, Lifetime Entertainment Services. "We chose this
course of action to protect the integrity of our programming and the vibrancy
of our advocacy, and we are committed to continuing to provide the high
quality entertainment and support that our viewers have come to expect."
Cohen added, "The rates we have proposed to DISH are highly competitive
relative to what we believe DISH is paying for other networks -- including
networks that are far less popular -- and would not add to DISH customers'
costs. We continue to be open to an agreement with DISH that is fair to us, to
our viewers and to other providers, and which reflects the value of our
networks, but we have not once heard such an offer from them in more than
seven months of negotiations."
Said Cohen, "Considering that these are top networks in all of basic
cable, it is incomprehensible that DISH refuses to pay for a fair and
reasonable contract for Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network."
Concluded Ms. Cohen, "The extraordinary support we've received from
hundreds of thousands of women across the country, along with the efforts by
cable operators and other satellite providers to attract DISH subscribers,
validates the high value of Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network, especially
the irreplaceable programming and impassioned advocacy."
Lifetime Networks are Top Women's Networks and Overall
Cohen noted that DISH has never offered more than three women's networks.
In comparison, DISH carries 46 sports networks and seven pornography channels
among its more than 180 slots. "Apparently, DISH has a quota on women's
programming that precludes them from offering the top women's networks.
What's more, while they are depriving women subscribers of their favorite
programs, they have the audacity to raise their prices by $2 to $3 per month
starting on February 1. There is no substitute for Lifetime and Lifetime
Movie Network. Clearly, DISH subscribers are paying more for less."
* In 2005, Lifetime was the #4 most popular basic cable network, ranking
higher than Discovery, MTV, and CNN, among others.
* Lifetime Movie Network was ranked as the "favorite" network and "the
most important to the enjoyment of DISH" by DISH Network subscribers,
according to the latest Beta Satellite Subscriber Study of mid-sized
(40-70 million subscribers) and emerging (less than 40 million
* Lifetime Movie Network also had the highest perceived monthly value to
DISH Network subscribers, according to the same study.
* Last year, Lifetime Movie Network was ranked #12 in total day ratings
among basic cable networks.
* Lifetime Movie Network's ratings were equal to or better than channels
like MTV, Spike TV, The Travel Channel, History Channel, Court TV, The
Learning Channel (TLC), Food Network, and Home & Garden Television, all
of which are carried on DISH.
In addition, the networks are introducing exciting new programming such as
the Lifetime Original Movie, "For One Night" starring Raven-Symone; two new
reality series, "Cheerleader Nation" and "Face the Family"; and a new comedy,
"Lovespring," from Will & Grace's Eric McCormack that will all be unavailable
to DISH subscribers.
Lifetime to Expand "Switch from DISH" Campaign Nationwide
Lifetime announced plans to expand nationwide its current campaign to
encourage customers of DISH Network to "Take Back Your Lifetime" and "Switch
from DISH" to DIRECTV or a local cable provider. The campaign includes:
* A multimedia campaign of radio, television and print advertising in
markets across the country, as well as aggressive Internet marketing;
* A stepped-up campaign to promote Lifetime's and Lifetime Movie Network's
programming and the value it provides our viewers;
* Marketing partnerships with DIRECTV and local cable operators, who are
offering discounts and other incentives to subscribers who switch their
* These incentives will be combined with incentives offered by Lifetime to
"Switch from Dish."
The Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company, which are 50/50 owners
of Lifetime Entertainment Services, have endorsed this decision and will apply
their resources to help ensure that Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network are
available to the widest possible viewership.
Lifetime also is partnering with women's advocates and organizations
across the country to raise awareness of Lifetime networks' critical support
of issues of vital importance to women, such as breast cancer, heart disease,
domestic violence and more.
Lifetime released excerpts of letters sent by advocates for women lauding
the networks' programming and advocacy:
* "Lifetime networks offer programming that covers issues crucial to women
-- such as breast cancer, violence against women, economic equality and
girls' self-esteem -- which are virtually ignored by other networks." -
Martha Burk, Immediate Past Chair, and Susan Scanlan, Chair, National
Council of Women's Organizations, nonpartisan, nonprofit umbrella
organization of almost 200 groups that collectively represent over ten
million women across the United States, ranging from Business and
Professional Women/USA to the National Organization for Women
* "Lifetime is uniquely important to women." - Peggy Sanchez Mills, CEO,
* "Lifetime has made a corporate-wide, years-long commitment to providing
quality entertainment, while also offering information, education and
resources on issues critical to women's health and safety." - Rita
Smith, Executive Director, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
In addition, eight of ten women members of the Congressional Black Caucus
wrote that without Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network, there will be fewer
"diverse channels available for people to watch. This is a step backwards and
we strongly believe that there needs to be more diversity on television, not
Lifetime also has received thousands of supportive comments from viewers
not only supporting Lifetime but also complaining about DISH's high-handed
tactics in yanking Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network off the air and not
supporting diversity in women's programming.
About Lifetime Entertainment Services
LIFETIME is the leader in women's television, and LIFETIME Television is
one of the top-rated basic cable television networks. A diverse, multi-media
company, LIFETIME is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment
and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting
women and their families. LIFETIME Television, Lifetime Movie Network,
Lifetime Real Women, Lifetime Home Entertainment and Lifetime Online are part
of LIFETIME Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of The Hearst
Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.
SOURCE LIFETIME Television
Web Site: http://www.lifetimetv.com