According to Bloomberg, Dish has been telling the networks that it is targeting a late summer start for the online TV option, which would be separate from its current satellite TV service.
The ground was laid for the service earlier this year when Dish and Disney announced a deal that would limit Dish subscribers’ ability to auto-skip ads on Disney-owned ABC programming in exchange for online streaming rights to Disney properties. In addition to ABC and the Disney-branded networks, the company owns several other cable channels, most notably the ESPN slate of sports programming.
Getting Disney on board was key, as it provides at least the impression of stability. Other, smaller content providers are reportedly demanding that Dish make deals with at least two of the big four broadcast networks before they will sign on.
CBS, which has sued Dish over its ad-skipping DVR, may not be an easy sell, but Comcast-owned NBC could be the next network to sign on. When Comcast purchased NBC, it promised regulators to provide comparable programming “on terms that are economically equivalent” to those of its competition. So what needs to be hammered out is what would be an equivalent amount for to Dish to pay Comcast for a slate of channels comparable to what it’s getting from Disney.
Comcast may also be pushed to make a deal as it would help to give the impression to regulators that the company welcomes competition in the pay-TV market.
We’re a bit skeptical of the late-summer start date, but look forward to eventually seeing what channels Dish will offer and what price it will charge. Additionally, with net neutrality still being rebuilt like the Bionic Man in a secret FCC lab under the Potomac River, will cable-owned ISPs flex their muscle to throttle a service that goes head to head with their service?