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Satellite Providers Stir Up Support

Soliciting grassroots support for their prosposed merger, EchoStar and DirecTV recently reached out to consumers through a local information campaign.

The effort focused on a series of media events they will stage throughout the country in coming weeks, to play up the benefits the satellite providers say the proposed $26 billion deal will bring to end users.

The first leg of the campaign targeted Green Bay, Wis., Helena, Mont., and Salt Lake City.

Activities included demonstrations of satellite-delivered TV and high-speed Internet access, along with explanations of how the combined assets of the two companies will enable it to deliver local TV channels throughout the United States.

To underscore the effort, the satellite companies took out advertisements in local newspapers, pitching their merger while stressing that 42 million American homes have little or no real alternative to cable TV for local programming.

Wisconsin was said to have more than 2 million homes that could get high-speed Internet service via satellite, while Montana had 300,000 potential high-speed Internet homes.