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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The DISH: Borat, Clinton and $$$

"In Kazakstahn we think America technologely very good, and now I see is a very primitive." -- Borat.

From Broadcasting & Cable, March 17:
A new Ku-band satellite that was to be used by satellite-TV service Dish Network to increase its slate of HD channels failed to reach orbit after being launched from Kazakhstan Friday...

Regardless of the reason for the launch failure, the loss of AMC-14 casts significant doubt on Dish Network’s plan to expand from its existing 50-odd HD channels to 70-100 in order to better compete with DirecTV, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett said. In a research note to investors, Moffett declared that the competitiveness of Dish’s HD offering has “suffered a major blow.”

“Dish Network had made it clear that HD featured prominently in their own future plans, and that they did not plan to cede ‘video superiority’ to anyone,” Moffett wrote. “Given the long lead times involved in contracting for, building, and launching a satellite, however, it could take years for Dish Network to fully recover.”
As you may know, money related to business deals involving Borat's homeland is tangentially tied to the US presidential race.

Anyone interested in the web of connections might want to consider that the deal behind this failed satellite dates to 1994 and the Clinton administration, which brokered US business and Kazakh ties. The NY Times reported in February 1994: "a Russian rocket will use the Baykonur space center in Kazakhstan to launch an American communications satellite."

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