Who’s right? Is it EchoStar’s Charles Ergen? Or Lifetime? But before than can be answered, what is the argument really about? Is it about raw programming costs for distributors? Or the effects of retransmission concent? Or which is "king" – content v. content? To help decide, here a few indisputable "facts:" 1)DISH has a lot of customers, circa 12 million or so paying subscribers. 2) Those customers no longer can watch Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Net on their DISH-connected TV sets (a few have cable, too). 3) Lifetime and its sister network are terrific channels with pretty darn good ratings and, not counting DISH, some 77 million TV HHs can watch Lifetime (fewer for the movie net) 4) Lifetime and its sister network aren’t the only female-demographic-aimed channels (there are the also terrific Oxygen and WE … and, tongue firmly in cheek, sometimes and inadvertently Spike). 5) Ergen did a smart thing when he cut Hearst Argyle retrans consent apart from Lifetime carriage. 6) Lifetime co-owners Hearst and Disney might not have communicated as well as they should … it gave Ergen an opening. Who is right? Well, the market will decide … but I know I’d switch to cable and get it ALL! And, as our friends at the American Cable Association have noted, Ergen has a point about retransmission consent … it tilted the power too much to those guys who get better distribution and never appreciated it (and I mean the broadcasters here) … never have really understood it, either. They claimed a free ride for cable when what cable did was clear up their pictures! And with the CBS – Viacom split, I’d expect to see some re-thinking there, too. So … Fun to watch; fun to watch the coverage; but not much fun for our industries. Random Notes

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