Cable’s video archrivals are on the move today, announcing deals to expand their lineups of HD and digital TV programming.
First up, EchoStar Communications Corp. announced it will tap the VOOM HD lineup, adding 10 new high-definition channels to its DISH Network service starting May 1.
The agreement with EchoStar is the first carriage agreement Cablevision Systems Corp. subsidiary Rainbow Media Holdings LLC has forged for its planned launch of HD Originals, a collection of 21 HD channels it will market to cable and satellite TV providers. The agreement calls for EchoStar to add the remaining 11 channels in 2006. Specific terms of the deal were not released.
The 10 VOOM HD networks EchoStar will initially launch include RUSH HD, Gallery HD, Rave HD, Ultra HD, Equator HD, Monsters HD, Animania HD, Majestic HD, HD News and Guy TV HD.
“Signing our first distribution agreement with EchoStar validates our long-held confidence in the business opportunities inherent in the growing consumer demand for quality high-definition programming,” said Rainbow Media CEO Joshua Sapan, in a release. “We believe that these channels represent a vital and viable new business for Rainbow Media and its distribution partners.”
As part of the HD programming launch, EchoStar is offering new customers six months of free HD programming and HD receivers to outfit two rooms in the home. They also can opt to receive more than 180 standard definition channels for $19.99 monthly for the first three months, plus a free DVR upgrade and next-day installation.
Rainbow also announced Nora Ryan and Greg Moyer have been named co-general managers of the VOOM 21 HD Originals. Rainbow Network Sales President Gregg Hill will be in charge of sales for the HD channel package.
Elsewhere, Verizon Inc. moved ahead with its video plans riding its FiOS direct fiber-to-the-home service, inking carriage agreements with Varsity TV, Gospel Music Channel, Soundtrack Channel, MavTV and GolTV. Verizon plans to launch its Verizon FiOS TV service later this year.
The telco has already tacked down carriage agreements with NBC Universal Cable, Starz Entertainment Group, Showtime Networks, A&E Television Networks and Discovery Networks, and it is working on several other deals.