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Dish Network to distribute Sirius radio

The Dish Network satellite TV service will start offering its subscribers music channels from Sirius, giving the satellite radio service a potential audience of almost 10 million.
/ Source: Reuters

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. on Thursday said it will be carried on the Dish Network satellite television service, in a deal it hopes will vastly increase distribution for the company.

Currently, Sirius has a little more than 400,000 subscribers who pay $12.95 a month for commercial-free satellite broadcasts of music, news, sports and traffic.

But the deal with EchoStar Communications Corp will make the service available to all 9.8 million Dish Network satellite television subscribers.

About two-thirds of those, people who pay for Dish Network's $39.99 American Top 120 Package or above, will get Sirius' 61 music channels at no additional charge. Others will have to pay for an upgraded channel package to get Sirius.

While the terms of the deal were not released, Sirius said the deal is intended to increase awareness for the service and that its fee from EchoStar will be small.

"It's an awareness-building thing," said Sirius CEO Joe Clayton. "The premise here is, if you like it in your home, you're going to like it in your car, boat or RV."

As part of the deal, Sirius will be sold in 10,000 Dish Network retail outlets and the companies will market a co-branded portable receiver, retailing for $149.99.

Sirius, the No. 2 U.S. satellite radio operator, has been working hard to close the gap with XM Satellite Radio, which launched a year earlier and had 1.7 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter. Sirius launched in July 2002.