Dish Network and Disney Reach Landmark Deal

DishAs regulators continue to argue over network neutrality, Dish Network and Disney have agreed upon a landmark deal that will have broad ramifications, not merely to both companies bottom line. but also to the way television is watched, enjoyed and made available in the future.

The deal will allow the Dish Network to have access to the Disney Corporation’s strong catalog of programming for cable and its broadcasting schedule. It covers both programs for television and internet streaming devices. For their services Disney has received an agreement from Dish that limits will be placed on the AutoHop tool, which has been controversial in the past, and will allow all viewers to skip any commercials they feel compelled to on all broadcast network programming.

Both companies have called this deal “a watershed moment for the television industry.” The head of Disney, a part of the ABC Television Group, Anne Sweeney said that this deal is one of the most encompassing and intricate deals that the company has ever begun.

Media analyst Michael Nathanson says that Dish Network will join Google, Netflix and other companies who are “arguing that usage-based pricing, usage caps, and other more generic net neutrality transgressions,” are all abuses that should be permanently disallowed.

Sweeney also added that this deal is so interesting because it solves business problems with workable solutions while also planning for the future of this industry. Dish subscribers will not have access to online programming from Disney, including the Watch ESPN app. This deal will mark the first time that Dish subscribers will be able to access this content from mobile devices and it will allow them to skip commercials from the AutoHop feature for up to three days after the show has aired.

Nathanson says that this deal ensures the future of ESPN under Disney/ABC. He says that the idea that Disney would drop or somehow severely cut ESPN will remain an interesting idea, but will no longer be a viable strategy. Although ESPN is a major revenue source for Disney, it is also a very expensive source of programming for the company.

This deal will also allow Disney to focus their service to the five or 10 million homes which have broadband only. The deal will also squash the possibility of a long duel between Disney and their cable or satellite companies over retransmission fees that are paid by the programming companies to deliver the content to the viewer.

This same debate cost Time Warner Cable 300,000 viewers when it underwent a fight with CBS broadcasting over these same fees. It is also part of the reason DirecTV dropped the Weather Channel at an earlier moment this year.

For the average television watcher at home, but especially on the go, this landmark deal means good news. It does not report an increase in fees for the average user, but will provide them with the ability to not only access Disney owned content on their mobile devices, but to also skip the commercials in a play back of their favorite show up to three days after it has been aired, as a part of the Dish Disney agreement.

By Nick Manai



LA Times