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EchoStar Settles Dispute With Viacom

By | March 11, 2004

      Englewood, Colo.-based satellite TV service provider EchoStar Communications [DISH] managed to reach a settlement with New York City-based programming giant Viacom [VIA] late Wednesday to restore carriage of the broadcaster’s owned-and-operated affiliates in 16 U.S. markets, as well as 10 cable channels.

      “It’s great to have our networks back in front of all our viewers, and to bring a new service – Nicktoons — to DISH Network subscribers,” said Mel Karmazin, president and COO of Viacom. “We apologize to our viewers for the disruption in their service, and want to thank them for their patience and support. We look forward to continuing to serve our viewers through DISH Network well into the future.”

      Charlie Ergen, EchoStar’s chairman and CEO, said, “This agreement with Viacom allows DISH Network to remain the lowest-cost, all-digital TV provider in the country. We understand that this has been a difficult few days for our customers, and we thank them for all the encouragement they have given us throughout. We also look forward to a long relationship with Viacom in which we can provide their quality channels to our viewers.”

      The multi-year agreement not only restores full service of CBS in 16 U.S. markets but it also includes the return of Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Noggin, GAS, VH1, VH1 Classic, MTV Espanol and BET in all markets. In addition, the agreement extends the term of the carriage for CBS HD (East and West) channels as well as Spike TV, CMT and TVLand. DISH Network agreed to add Nicktoons to its America’s Top 180 package this spring but Ergen said in a conference call Thursday that his preference would have been not to do so.

      As part of the agreement, Viacom and DISH Network have settled all litigation between the two companies.

      For in-depth coverage of this story, see the March 15 issue of Satellite News. For more information about subscribing to PBI Media’s satellite newsletters, check out our Web site at

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