Current TV, EchoStar uplink


Current TV has inked a carriage agreement with EchoStar Communications Corp. that will increase the network's reach to more than 38 million U.S. homes.

The deal will see Current become available starting Wednesday on EchoStar's Dish Network, where it will air on Channel 196 as part of the satellite TV provider's "America's Top 200 With DishHD" and higher packages.

Current and EchoStar declined to specify how many new subscribers the network gained through the deal, but Current was reaching 30 million subscribers, which would mean the new carriage agreement adds about 8 million homes.

The news also means that Current has more than doubled its number of subscriber households since it launched with 17 million subscribers in August 2005. The network also has carriage agreements with satellite TV provider DirecTV as well as with Comcast and Time Warner for carriage on digital cable tiers.

"This is record-setting growth for a new cable network, and it's a real powerful testament to the concept we pioneered (of airing viewer-created content, which comprises roughly one-third of Current's on-air broadcast)," said Current CEO Joel Hyatt, who co-founded the channel with chairman Al Gore.

Current TV touts itself as the "first network created by, for and with an 18- to 34-year-old audience." Its programming ranges from the hottest trends in technology, fashion, music and video games to pressing issues such as the environment, relationships, parenting, finance, politics and spirituality.

The network also is set to launch March 12 in the U.K. and Ireland, where it will reach 8 million subscribers, Hyatt said. Viewers like SAG's act

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