Universal’s IMF, Dish Settle Suit

A music-video network owned by Universal Music Group settled its lawsuit against EchoStar Communications Corp., landing a long-term carriage deal with the satellite provider in the process, officials said Thursday.

IMF: The International Music Feed, owned by the global record giant, and EchoStar’s Dish Network resolved the litigation that has been pending between the two parties for more than one year. As a result, IMF will continue being carried on channel 157 as part of Dish’s “America’s Top 120” programming package.

Dish has been carrying IMF -- a would-be rival to MTV -- since last April, when a judge issued a temporary injunction ordering the satellite provider to roll out the service.

The court issued that order while proceedings continued on the lawsuit that Vivendi Universal, Universal Music’s parent, filed against EchoStar in January 2005. In the suit, Vivendi alleged that EchoStar had breached a deal to carry IMF.

“We are pleased to have resolved the litigation in an amicable manner and look forward to a flourishing relationship going forward,” Dish vice president of programming Ken Tolle said in a prepared statement.

IMF’s president is Andy Schuon, a former top programming executive at MTV.

“This is a tremendous milestone for IMF," he said. “This commitment from Dish Network assures us of millions of viewers just at the time when we are on a creative roll. And with Dish Network as a partner, we've got fantastic potential to reach even more music fans in new and exciting ways."

IMF is not only a linear channel, but offers on-demand, broadband and mobile content around the world, as well as 30 audio channels of music. IMF programming is also now available on multiple national mobile carriers in the United States, Great Britain and France.

Universal Music Group includes record labels such as Interscope, A&M Records, Geffen Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, Machete Music, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Philips, Polydor Records, Universal Music Latino and Universal Motown Records Group.