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Dish Network wants subscribers to swap free Starz for Cinemax

October 5, 2011 |  4:24 pm

It looks like Dish Network is trying to make peace with pay cable channel Starz at the expense of Cinemax.

Earlier this year, Starz sued Dish after the satellite broadcaster started offering the channel free for one year to subscribers as part of a promotion. Now, Dish is pushing its 14 million subscribers to trade in their last three months of free Starz for free Cinemax.

The move by the satellite broadcaster comes one month after Starz said it would no longer make its content, including original shows and theatrical movies from Disney and Sony, available to Netflix. Distributors such as Dish are wary of Netflix and see it as a direct competitor. The decision to give Starz away for a year was seen by many industry observers as retribution for Starz's then cozy relationship with Netflix.

Whether the Starz for Cinemax offer will score Dish brownie points with Starz remains to be seen. A Dish spokesman said the legal battle between the two is ongoing.

There may not be many takers for Dish's offer. Cinemax does not have near the amount of original programming as Starz and the theatrical movies it carries have already run on sister service HBO.


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-- Joe Flint