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DirecTV sues Lifetime over Dishnetwork contract

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by lee1203, Mar 24, 2006.

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  1. lee1203

    lee1203 AllStar

    Jul 14, 2005
    Satellite television provider DirecTV Group Inc. has sued Lifetime Entertainment Services, saying the women's cable network reneged on a deal to lure customers from rival EchoStar Communications Corp.

    In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court, DirecTV accused Lifetime of retracting a Jan. 30 offer it had sent to about 30,000 customers of EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network promising $200 if they would switch. DirecTV accuses Lifetime of breach of contract.

    In January, Lifetime "approached DirecTV with the idea of offering a group of Dish Network customers a $200 check if they would switch to DirecTV," the complaint said. The offer "was primarily directed to lure away customers of the Dish Network."

    DirecTV says it didn't know that Lifetime was negotiating a new agreement with EchoStar at the same time. Lifetime retracted its offer for the EchoStar customers Feb. 3, DirecTV said.

    In addition, Lifetime breached its Jan. 8 contract with DirecTV by giving EchoStar better terms than DirecTV, according to the lawsuit.

    Lifetime executives declined to comment. Robert Mercer, a spokesman for El Segundo-based DirecTV, didn't return a call to his office.


  2. newsposter

    newsposter Hall Of Fame

    Nov 12, 2003
    The part i dont get, is why it's illegal for one provider to get better terms than the other. Isn't this a free market?
  3. Greg Bimson

    Greg Bimson Hall Of Fame

    May 5, 2003
    Yes, but not when your contract states your company will get best pricing when compared to smaller companies. So, if Lifetime offers Dish Network better pricing than DirecTV contractually, then DirecTV can sue via the terms of the contract to obtain better pricing than Dish Network received.
  4. Geronimo

    Geronimo Native American Potentate DBSTalk Gold Club

    Mar 23, 2002

    It does not have to be a smaller company. Such clauses are common and occasionally lead to disputes about which deal is "better."

    FWIW our federal government usually insists on getting the most favorable prices when it buys commercial items.
  5. tomcrown1

    tomcrown1 Hall Of Fame

    Jan 16, 2006
    Can echostar sue both lifetime and direct tv for using a bribe to loure customer away from echostar???
  6. Curtis0620

    Curtis0620 Hall Of Fame

    Apr 22, 2002
    They wouldn't dare. They did the same thing with Primestar conversions. Probably even more deceptive.
  7. DoyleS

    DoyleS Icon

    Oct 21, 2002
    El Dorado...
    I wonder how DTV found out the pricing that Dish received. I wouldn't think this is public info. What is the best price today may not be the best price tomorrow. It is a little like buying the latest receiver today at a lowest price of the year sale and then a month later your neighbor buys the same receiver for less. Welcome to the free market system.

  8. Reggie3

    Reggie3 DBSTalk Club Member

    Feb 20, 2006
    Wow - this is more fun than a soap show.
  9. Larry Caldwell

    Larry Caldwell Godfather

    Apr 4, 2005
    In the USA, you can sue anyone for anything. The problem is winning. I think DirecTV just wants Lifetime to pony up the full $6,000,000 they committed to promote DTV.

    Charlie played hardball with Lifetime. Lifetime countered with some really ugly tactics, including badmouthing Dish Network in newspaper ads and on billboards. Charlie held his line, and Lifetime blinked.

    DirecTV is owned by investors. Bean counters are normally pretty timid, and will avoid controversy. Charlie still owns enough of Echostar to have control of the company, and by all accounts he is not a man you want to get crosswise with. He ended up negotiating better terms because he had a stronger negotiating position.

    If Lifetime guaranteed lowest pricing to DTV, then DTV stands to save some money. It looks like Lifetime is going to take it in the shorts, but that's what they get for trying to play the feminist card in a business environment. It may play in Congress, but it means nothing to TV viewers.
  10. the_bear

    the_bear Godfather

    Oct 18, 2004
    Did D agree to the $200? Liftime has between the time they made the original solicitation until the mutual promise to finish their disclosure of material facts. A low price guaranty is a pretty serious concession to make for Lifetime. This isn’t Circuit City we are talking about. No doubt D was paying a pretty penny for the channel.
  11. UnnDunn

    UnnDunn AllStar

    Oct 27, 2002
    Is there any chance of a disruption of Lifetime service on DirecTV as a result of this action? Could it result in a potracted PR war between Lifetime and DirecTV?
  12. Geronimo

    Geronimo Native American Potentate DBSTalk Gold Club

    Mar 23, 2002
    We know very little about this. I assume that the calculation of $6,000,000 is based on assuming that 30,000 would all accept the offer. I doubt that that would be the case.

    We do not know the facts of any agreement between D* and Lifetime on this promotion nor do we even know what carriage agreement Lifetime struck with either provider--and if the D* deal rally contained language that it could be no no higher than other deals how is the E* deal "better"?

    Many of these suits are eventually settled out of court. But I would not take PR releases or law suits at face value.

    I do however think it is inaccurate to describe the current management of DirecTV as "timid". And I have never heard it said that Rupert murdoch or Newscorp (who control DirecTV) avoid controversy. But I suppose that we are all entitled to an opinion on that score.
  13. Charise

    Charise AllStar/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Jan 25, 2004
    Totally agree!!! :hurah: I guess D* is anti-woman now?! (Uh, that's a joke, because I didn't go for Lifetime's rant that E* was against women.)

    Waiting for Lifetime's next move... :rolleyes:
  14. jakattak

    jakattak AllStar

    Feb 14, 2005
    I'm calling BS! There is no way on Earth D* didn't realize there was a pricing negotiation going on between E* and Lifetime during January. People get paid big bucks to know everything they can about what's going on with the competition and even us lowly folks on dbstalk knew this was going on.
  15. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    The difficulty that D* may have is that they have fewer tiers to bury the content in than Dish did. I predict that it will indeed be nasty and Lifetime will sustain major damage (both regular and punitive).

    I especially like the "you promise to screw my competitor(s)" clause. We must not lose site of the fact that this is a battle in the D* versus E* war and after the lawyers are done, the accountants will bayonet the wounded.
  16. Kheldar

    Kheldar Icon

    Sep 5, 2004
    Since when?
    E* has: AT60, AT120, and AT180.
    D* has: Total Choice Select, Total Choice, Total Choice Plus.

    That looks like the same number of tiers to me.
  17. homeskillet

    homeskillet Icon

    Feb 3, 2004
    E* has: DishFamily, AT60, AT60 Plus, AT 120, AT 180, AT Everything Pack and 5 levels in the Spanish package, and 4 levels on the HD package.
  18. David_Levin

    David_Levin Icon/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Apr 22, 2002
    Dish has the ca-hones to hold out for a better deal, then DirecTV complains.

    The game goes both ways, and Direct shouldn't have been trying to take advantage in the first place.
  19. army1

    army1 Duplicate User (Account Closed)

    Mar 22, 2006

    and don't forget the al-carte channels of the wb and upn that D refuses
    to carry
  20. Curtis0620

    Curtis0620 Hall Of Fame

    Apr 22, 2002
    It's not like Dish wouldn't have done the same thing.
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