The long dreamt-of days of Internet television has become a near reality thanks to the latest deal between the Disney cable network and Dish. After the all-too-common stalemate between network and cable provider a deal was reached to continue the agreement between the two. This time, one new addition was added to the agreement that is sure to please subscribers: Internet TV is finally coming.
Dish and Disney's historic deal will allow for Disney programming from ESPN, ABC and other channels to be streamed on a (potential) new online pay-TV service. In doing so, Disney has granted Dish the rights to use its content on a free-standing Internet service that is not an extension of its current cable package. In exchange, Dish will restrict its ad-skipping feature on all Disney programming for the first three days a program is aired.
Not only are subscribers happy to see the end of commercials detailing the latest cable drama impasse, but they are now excited to see the antiquated cable system finally take steps in updating its platforms to meet the demands of the modern online era. With Internet TV taking a significant leap forward it is time for all of us avid television viewers to get caught to speed as to what will be happening in the coming months and years.
Dish Network's Immediate Impact
Without a doubt, Dish is the current leader in the Internet TV industry, and with a massive player in Disney, Dish has secured one of the most important providers of content around. What makes the deal that much more significant is the inclusion of sports giant ESPN in the package. While family-friendly programming on Disney and ABC's varied programming are in demand it is sports that will be the major get for Dish's first deal. Now fans will be able to stream their favorite games online, a long sought after feature for all die hard sports fans. As CNET elaborated, "[The deal] netted the most important network for live-TV demand: the king of live sports, ESPN.”
With one deal in place, Dish now has the template to offer its service to other major players. If a sacrifice of its AutoHop ad-skipping feature is all that is in the way, expect more deals to happen in the future. Dish's CCO Dave Schull spoke on Dish's next plans, "Every deal is different, but certainly there are parameters we agreed to that will help us define how we approach the OTT [over-the-top] business.” Where they will go next remains to be seen, but with Disney on board momentum is in Dish's favor.
However, fans should not be too excited just yet. Schull went on to explain, “Dish wants to broker deals with other major cable channels before it starts selling a live-TV streaming service." This is sure to irk many clamoring for Internet television to arrive as soon as possible, but it also is a positive sign that Dish wants to ensure that this is launched properly the first time around.
The TV Times Are Changing
With this deal being reached, the days of wishing for Internet television will begin to become conversations, instead, about how best to implement an internet TV system. So far, indications suggest that subscribers will still be required to order bundled packages to appease the networks. While the dream of buying individual channels may not happen right away, the goal seems much more attainable at this time. Open internet TV is on the horizon.
As Dish begins to secure more deals, other providers are sure to be scrambling to do the same. In light of the recently announced Time Warner/Comcast merger, the public is sure to be happy about seeing new options becoming available. We may still be a bit away from a new order in the industry, but the next few years will be exciting to watch unfold.
What The Competition May Do
Dish was far from the first to make attempts at this service. Apple has been rumored to be in the mix for over five years at this point. While there has been some growth in the form of their Apple TV not much else has been achieved at this time. With Dish taking the clear lead the talks and rumors from Apple may finally come to fruition. Another interesting potential player could be Amazon.
While out of the industry currently, Amazon had been exploring its own similar service at the beginning of this year. A deal like this might re-ignite its interest in the venture. Google is another name that most expect to make strides as well. As it begins to further distribute its Google Fiber services, an Internet television service could put it firmly in the lead. Then, of course, there’s the streaming video juggernaut that is Netflix.
Sony and Verizon are known to have plans in place, while the others are mostly conjecture at this point. Sony has been stating that a cloud-based Internet television service will be available this year. Not much more is known than that it will combine live programming with the popular DVR and on-demand features.
As for Verizon, Bloomberg wrote “Verizon, armed with the online-video technology it acquired from Intel, is also considering a national online-TV service over its mobile-phone network or its landline Internet network." Everything is guesswork until more direct action is taken, but it is clear that exciting things are on the internet streaming video horizon.