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Sky Angel Lifetime subscription changes


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#1 OFFLINE   Wayne

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:03 PM

I just noticed on Tony's Echostar Knowledge Base that Sky Angel will now be charging it's lifetime subscribers $4.99 for Fox News, HGTV, and the two Hallmark channels. Please see this link for details http://ekb.dbstalk.c...time_Change.htm .

They said that programmers costs were going up and that's why they must now charge for these channels. If you are a lifetime subscriber you must send a notice back to them by April 15th to let them know you wish to start paying for these channels. Otherwise they will no longer appear in you guide after May 1st, 2007.

There was no mention of monthly subscribers being charged any more or being charged less if they no longer wanted these four channels.

They also mentioned they are still trying to negotiate with Echostar to get back the space for channels they lost last year.

I'm not a lifetime subscriber so I have no say as to what is fair for those who were promised a certain number of channels. I will say that I would subscribe again to the monthly package if they were to get the three channels back from Echostar and gave me the option not to subscribe to the 4 channels above since I get most of them from Dish anyway.

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#2 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 04:41 PM

Since the four channels are (or will be soon for Hallmark Movie Channel) on Dish I wonder how many people are going to pony up $4.99 ... I don't know how many lifetime subs there are. SA stopped offering those subscriptions a few years ago. Some may not even be watching the service at all any more.

The biggest backlash I see is among month to month and annual subscribers who are paying twice for the channels ... once to SA and once to Dish Network. Given the choice I'd want a $9.99 "Christian only" package that drops those four channels. I doubt I am alone.

IMHO adding "secular" channels is one of SkyAngel's biggest mistakes. One of their other mistakes was getting involved with Echostar ... which served the purpose of getting them on the air in the first place (there would be no SkyAngel without that deal) but in recent years has come back to haunt them. IMHO they should have spent every day since their creation getting their own satellite and uplink center. Perhaps they have (last I heard the uplink center was actually being staffed!) but still relying on E* is a bad situation.
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#3 OFFLINE   Aransay

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:23 PM

sky anegl end moeatholci chanel only wtn is e fe
alsoof othe eleigosn and amke speil leigion and apckage

#4 OFFLINE   BNUMM

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:40 PM

Since the four channels are (or will be soon for Hallmark Movie Channel) on Dish I wonder how many people are going to pony up $4.99 ... I don't know how many lifetime subs there are. SA stopped offering those subscriptions a few years ago. Some may not even be watching the service at all any more.

The biggest backlash I see is among month to month and annual subscribers who are paying twice for the channels ... once to SA and once to Dish Network. Given the choice I'd want a $9.99 "Christian only" package that drops those four channels. I doubt I am alone.

IMHO adding "secular" channels is one of SkyAngel's biggest mistakes. One of their other mistakes was getting involved with Echostar ... which served the purpose of getting them on the air in the first place (there would be no SkyAngel without that deal) but in recent years has come back to haunt them. IMHO they should have spent every day since their creation getting their own satellite and uplink center. Perhaps they have (last I heard the uplink center was actually being staffed!) but still relying on E* is a bad situation.


When SA added Fox News and HGTV is when I dropped Dishnetwork. Those were the two channels we watched the most and I couldn't justify $35.00/mo when I could get SA for half that. The Hallmark channels were just a bonus for me.

#5 OFFLINE   TNGTony

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:56 PM

The monthly packages are totally unaffected. They already went up from $9 to $12 and then to $15 in short order. This is strictly for those of us who ponied up $200-$400 up front to a company whose future was highly in doubt! They did not even have broadcast license yet! We bought on faith. Be bought on the PROMISE of a company that calls itself a Christian organization that we (the risk-takers) would have a life-long subscription.... LIFE-LONG subscription
LIFE-LONG subscription. Am I making my point here?
Yes the lawyers can get involved and change the meaning of LIFE to whatever and "subscription" to whatever until it is all meaningless. So...another CHRISTIAN organization reneges on its word and SCREWS those that took the risk to help the company get some much-needed cash up front.

I am still alive (as far as I can tell) but my LIFE-LONG subscription is gone.

Anyway, since I am also a Dish Network everything pack sub, I will be getting all these channels from them and not Sky Angel.

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Do I sound bitter?
For the life of me I will never understand why people will pay hundreds and thousands of dollars on a TV that provides the clearest, sharpest, most realistic picture possible and then, voluntarily, distort the image!

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#6 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:54 PM

Do I sound bitter?

You sound like a guy named "justalurker" that first met you on usenet when I was that bitter about SkyAngel's antics (and failure to perform as a "real" DBS provider). :)

I subscribed for one year ... March 2005 through 2006. I bailed when they raised the rates and dropped religious programming for secular. The later loss of channels due to E*'s satellite problems sealed the deal.

When I had it my favorite channel was SpiritTV ... I wanted a CCM music video channel. I also remember seeing Worship TV at college and thought it would be a nice 'background' channel (I ended up watching Spirit more than anything). I didn't like TVU's style of music.

The only positive addition I recall was the addition of Salem's "America's Talk Satellite Network".

BTW: I didn't leave specifically because of SkyAngel's antics (and I didn't approve of those antics before I signed up in 2005). I just found that I wasn't watching enough to make the service worthwhile.

BTW2: IF SkyAngel was savvy enough to offer a $9.99 non-secular package I may consider signing up again. Especially with an annual discount. :)
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#7 OFFLINE   Wayne

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 08:32 AM

I think I have a solution that could make everyone happy if Sky Angel and Dish could work together for the good of both of their subscribers. I know it's a big IF and I may not understand completely how the technology works or how contracts work with the programmers but here it goes.

Sky Angel needs to drop 6 channels to make room for 6 new Christian only channels (like JCTV, NRB, 3ABN, etc.) . This would make their Lifetime subscribers very happy because they would be getting what was originally promised - Christian only programming with no additional costs.

The channels they need to drop are those that are already on Dish (Angel One, TBN, Fox News, HGTV, and the 2 Hallmark channels).

Then Dish could remap these 6 channels back to their old Sky Angel locations (in the 9700's) for those who have a Dish 500.

So here's the specifics for each case (please correct me if I have anything wrong):

Sky Angel Christian only programming with 61.5 only dish: They would lose 2 Christian channels (Angel One and TBN) but gain 6 new Christian channels.

Sky Angel Christian and Sky Angel secular (Fox, HGTV, & the 2 Hallmark channels) programming with 61.5 only dish: They would lose 2 Christian channels (Angel One and TBN) and the 4 secular channels but would gain 6 new Christian channels and would not have to pay the $4.99 for the secular channels unless they add a Dish 500 and pay the $4.99 fee.

Sky Angel Christian only programming with 61.5 dish and Dish 500: They would not lose any Christian channels they have now and would gain 8 new Christian channels (the 6 new channels to be determined plus Daystar and EWTN from the 119 and 110 satellite locations that the Dish 500 could get and that Dish would remap down to the 9700's).

Sky Angel Christian and Sky Angel secular programming with 61.5 dish and Dish 500: Same as above but would pay an extra $4.99 for the 4 secular channels.

Sky Angel Christian only programming and Dish Family programming: They would not lose any Christian programming but gain 6 new Christian channels and still have Fox News and the 2 Hallmark channels.

Sky Angel Christian only and Dish AT100 programming: They would not lose any Christian programming but gain 6 new Christian channels. They would no longer receive Fox News and the 2 Hallmark channels but would retain HGTV. They too could buy the $4.99 secular pak from Sky Angel if they wished and get back Fox News and the Hallmark channels.

Sky Angel Christian only and Dish AT200 programming: They would not lose any Christian programming but gain 6 new Christian channels. They would retain Fox News, HGTV, and the Hallmark channel. They would not longer have Hallmark Movie Channel.

Sky Angel Christian only and Dish AT250 and above programming: They would not lose any Christian programming but will gain 6 new Christian channels and would retain all 4 secular channels they had with Sky Angel with no $4.99 fee.

I know that some people would have to buy a Dish 500 (which may be an issue) and Sky Angel would have to offer a monthly package that is for Christian only programming, but I think it could work if everyone would try to make it happen.

In this scenario Dish wouldn't have to give back the transponder that was lost on the 61.5 satellite but would have to be willing to remap down 8 channels (TBN, Daystar, EWTN, Angel One, Fox News, HGTV, and the 2 Hallmark Channels) to the 9700's. Maybe Sky Angel could give them a small fee for their trouble. Of course Sky Angel and Dish would have to have the proper contracts signed with all of the programmers as well.

I for one would re-subscribe to Sky Angel at a lower monthly fee for the Christian only programming and it would keep my Dish subscription secure. Right now I'm tempted to go to DirecTV because of more Christian channels (especially the NRB channel).

What do you think? Can they work together and is this scenario even possible?

#8 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 08:59 AM

What do you think? Can they work together ...

The short answer is no. I am surprised that SkyAngel has not taken Echostar to court over the transponder failure issue (win or not). The last case I know about was when SkyAngel forced the removal of "Educating Everyone", "FamilyNet" and "Daystar" from the E* service because they are religious channels. Apparently the lease deal they struck with E* for use of EchoStar 3 at 61.5° prohibited E* from adding religious channels. Now that SkyAngel has added non-religious channels and E* has returned Daystar to the air and added the Spanish language "AlmaVision" religious network perhaps that prohibition is gone.

While there obviously was a spirit of cooperation back in the day that E* helped launch SkyAngel (E* providing use of their satellites in exchange for the use of SA transponder licenses) it appears that cooperation is now at a contract level ... not very friendly.

I'd like to see a cooperative package between E* and SA but I don't expect one.
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#9 OFFLINE   CornChex

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 09:59 AM

I bought a lifetime subscription to Skyangel many years ago, and I think I paid about $300 for it. This past week I received one of the letters concerning the loss of the four channels. I am not really worried about it, since I already receive those channels on E*.

But, here is what I am wondering about: What will happen if I don't return my letter? I don't know why, but I feel like SA is asking me to sign my rights away or something.

#10 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 10:15 AM

But, here is what I am wondering about: What will happen if I don't return my letter? I don't know why, but I feel like SA is asking me to sign my rights away or something.

If you elect not to receive the four special secular channels, do not respond, or do not remit the service charge when billed, you will no longer receive the four channels after May 1, 2007.

It doesn't say that you can opt in at a later date (if that is your concern). It also doesn't say that getting the secular channels for $4.99 is a limited time offer.

The request for smartcard information is a concern:

Accurate recording and timely return of the information requested on the Information Update and Billing Request will enable Sky Angel to determine information necessary for the providing of uninterrupted service to you after May 1, 2007 regardless of your decision as to the secular special channels.

I would take this as a "respond now or else" for possibly losing the service. Not good.
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#11 OFFLINE   CornChex

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 11:24 AM

The request for smartcard information is a concern:I would take this as a "respond now or else" for possibly losing the service. Not good.


When you say "losing the service" do you mean permanently losing ALL of the SA channels?

I guess that what worries me is that it seems like right now SA doesn't have a clue what satellite box I am using, and that if I send them a smart card number they will only honor my SA lifelong subscription for as long as the box I have now is still working!

Do you think that is possible? Why do you think they are asking for smart card numbers?
Does the letter strike any of you as being a bit "fishy"?

#12 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 12:07 PM

Fishing for information to keep your service working? I wonder how well their recordkeeping works. Apparently they have good enough records to generate a letter to "lifetime" subscribers. They should have record of your receiver/smart card. Perhaps they are concerned that there are receivers out there that won't lose the secular channels? (I haven't looked at the authorization codes in a while but it seems that the easiest thing to do would be create a new code for the secular channel and only activate that for monthly/annual and now $4.99/mo lifetime customers who opt in. It would save the audit.)

Fishy but not phishy. :) I don't see why you can't trust them with the information.
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#13 OFFLINE   Wayne

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 12:09 PM

When you say "losing the service" do you mean permanently losing ALL of the SA channels? ... Do you think that is possible? Why do you think they are asking for smart card numbers?


I don't think you will permanently lose all of the SA channels until the satellite at 61.5 fails completely (which that may only be a few years away).

As for asking for the smart card numbers I think SA is going to turn off the 4 secular channels for all lifetime subscribers. Then as they get the letters back stating that a lifetime subscriber wants the 4 secular channels then and only then will they turn them back on. In order to turn them back on they must have your receiver and smart card information. By signing the letter you also give them permission to bill you $4.99 a month for those 4 channels.

#14 OFFLINE   Wayne

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 12:54 PM

The short answer is no. ... I'd like to see a cooperative package between E* and SA but I don't expect one.


Thanks for replying to my question.

I know the lawsuit between the two actually hurst Sky Angel more than it helped. I remember thinking at the time that it was a bad decision by Robert Johnson. I was hoping that Robert Johnson Jr. might be able to negotiate with Dish better than his father. Maybe he's run into the same problems and might have to file a lawsuit over that failed transponder as well.

It would just be nice if everyone thought of the customer first. Television providers need to be sensitive to why people pick one provider over another. It could be over the number of quality Christian channels (or lack thereof) or it could be over family channels, sports channels, movie channels, costs, picture quality, etc. The point is that every subscriber will be hard fought over and providers need to look for easy solutions (like the one I proposed above) to keep them as a subscriber.

#15 OFFLINE   MellowYBird

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 05:13 PM

I'm a monthly subscriber and I didn't appreciate the addition of the "special secular" channels. My subscription went from $11.99 to $15.99, no choice, so these "special" channels are blocked and I'm paying for them. I'm not complaining about the price, Sky Angel is the best compared to other packages on cable or satellite as far as family-friendly programming and ?commercials? (questionable).
I just cannot believe that Robert Johnson Jr., the son of Robert Johnson the founder of Sky Angel, would do this to his father. Did he dislike his father a great deal or was this really his father's vision- "to become "secular" and like the world"? I did a great deal of research on the programming & company before I subscribed and I did not get that impression. I honestly thought it was too good to be true, almost a prayer come true. I find it so sad that there are well over 100 immoral & secular channels to watch and subscribe to and I don't even know how few moral or Christian channels there are out there, yet people still want to interfere with the "good". It's bad enough a family cannot sit down and watch a sporting event on a local channel without a remote in hand, let alone, not be able to watch a Christian satellite service anymore. Would it really be that awful to let the Christian service be strictly Christian & moral? It's not like we have a whole lot of packages or channels to choose from, do we?

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#16 OFFLINE   quiverof8

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 11:53 PM

[quote name='TNGTony']The monthly packages are totally unaffected. They already went up from $9 to $12 and then to $15 in short order. This is strictly for those of us who ponied up $200-$400 up front to a company whose future was highly in doubt! They did not even have broadcast license yet! We bought on faith. Be bought on the PROMISE of a company that calls itself a Christian organization that we (the risk-takers) would have a life-long subscription...

I totally agree with you. I am still hoping that someone will turn up a video of the founder advertising how all future channels would be included, never have to pay again etc. also the lifetime agreement should clarify this matter if anyone has theirs.

furthermore, if someone were to legaly challenge this "special package" I don't think sky angel hs a leg to stand on. the reason I say this is that there is no division of packages for monthly or yearly subscribers. They would need to have a basic and specials option even then they still violate what was offered to lifetimers.

If lifetimers pay now it will only get worse. We will never get another channel for free!

personally am looking into glorystar, its free too!

#17 OFFLINE   quiverof8

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 12:03 AM

They are violating so many of their original beliefs, statements it not even funny! first of all, what happened to CHRISTIAN? They keep losing Christian stations and adding secular?! Familyland is talking of leaving too!

They were supposed to be a ministry, not a business concerned with making a profit. for someone who is losing $ they have sure been investing in property (fl and tn)

furthermore they stated that lifetime subscribers would have all future channels included at no extra charge (which they have hnored over the past 10 yrs or so). Now they have added channels(for over a year) they want to take away unless we now pay for them. not even all subscribers though, just the lifetimers!

someone didn't do their job properly if they didn't realize how much it would cost them in advance.

they are REFUSING to let monthly subscribers drop the "special 4". they are also not planning to charge them $4.99 therefore there really is no basic/special tier as they are implying.

#18 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 07:23 AM

Browsing around the internet archive, I couldn't find any reference to "all future channels". But there was this:

"Become a Sky Angel subscriber. Simply pay a one-time, lifelong activation fee of just $295.00. That's it! No other hidden costs or monthly subscription bills."

http://web.archive.o....com/page6.html
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#19 OFFLINE   TNGTony

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 12:39 PM

I posted that earlier in another thread. Now one thing we are all forgetting (I include myself in this), at the time the lifetime subscriptions were being sold, Sky Angel had two "Bob Jones University" home school channels that WERE NOT part of the lifetime subscription! I wish I would have kept the original agreement... Oh..wait, they never sent me an agreement!!! They just took my money and said "bless you"!

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For the life of me I will never understand why people will pay hundreds and thousands of dollars on a TV that provides the clearest, sharpest, most realistic picture possible and then, voluntarily, distort the image!

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#20 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 01:03 PM

Although it seems to be echoing in the tone of voice that Whoopee Goldberg used in "Sister Act" when it sounded like the word "bless" was a euphemism.

I'm sure they meant "may God bless you" at the time. :)
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