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Dish Network Removes Last 5 Voom Channels
The satcaster says it will make room for more popular high-def networks.
Washington, D.C. (May 14, 2008) -- Dish Network last night removed the last five Voom High-Definition channels from its programming lineup.

The satcaster dropped the first 10 Voom channels on Monday night, just hours after it added 20 other high-def channels.

In an analysts call yesterday following the release of the company's first quarter report, Dish CEO Charlie Ergen said the remaining five would be removed as soon as possible.

“We believe we can replace those channels with other channels that have more value for our customers,” Ergen said.

The loss of Dish Network means that Cablevision is now the only U.S. carrier of the Voom 15-channel high-def suite. With Cablevision's agreement expiring next month, the future of Voom appears to be in serious doubt this morning.

Dish Network's decision to eliminate Voom is not unexpected.
The Supreme Court of New York last month denied Voom's request for a preliminary injunction to block Dish Network from terminating its agreement to carry all 15 high-def channels.

The satcaster informed Voom last year that it would move the 15 HD channels to a less watched programming tier. Voom objected to the plan, saying it would reduce its programming fees and jeopardize its business. Following a series of negotiations, Dish informed the programmer that it planned to terminate the agreement entirely, which led to the court battle.

Rainbow Media, the Cablevision unit that owns Voom, told Multichannel News that the company plans to fight Dish's decision to eliminate the channels.

EchoStar's decision (EchoStar is Dish's sister company) to drop the Voom channels is unjustified and, we believe, is a violation of our distribution agreement. We are intent on enforcing our legal rights in court. Because the litigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time." a Rainbow spokesman said.

Although the Voom channel reduction is not unsurprising, the timing is. Dish Network this week announced it was adding 22 high-def channels this week, starting with the 20 on Monday. In the announcement, the company said the new channels means that Dish would now have "over 95 HD channels."

However, the Voom reduction now would appear to lower that number to around 80.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

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