Long-Term Deal Between Disney, Dish Boosts Carriage For Longhorn, SEC Networks
Disney and Dish Network yesterday announced a long-term distribution agreement that will see the satellite TV company carry both Longhorn Network and SEC Network upon its August launch. Dish also gets the rights to stream cleared linear and VOD content from ABC-owned broadcast stations, including ESPN and ESPN2. Dish customers for the first time will be able to access Disney's authenticated live and VOD productions, including WatchESPN. Dish will make available ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater. In addition, Dish, ESPN and ESPN Deportes customers will have access to the live and VOD channel ESPN3. Dish as part of the agreement will launch ESPNews, ESPNU, Disney Channel and ABC Family in HD. ESPN Classic will be reintroduced as a VOD channel (Dish). VARIETY's Todd Spangler noted Dish has "agreed to disable the ad-skipping function in its Hopper digital video recorder for three days for ABC programming." The agreement also covers "other advertising models, including dynamic ad insertion, advertising on mobile devices and extended advertising measurement periods" (VARIETY.com, 3/3).
GRABBING THE BULL BY THE HORNS: In Austin, Brian Davis noted the Disney-Dish deal is an "important milestone" for LHN, as the channel now will "be carried on one of the two major satellite distributors all over the nation." The Dish agreement will "give ESPN and Texas officials more firepower to go after DirecTV" and is a "shot in the arm for LHN" (STATESMAN.com, 3/3). In Houston, David Barron noted the agreement "leaves DirecTV, Suddenlink and Comcast as the largest holdouts not carrying" LHN within the state of Texas. Dish has "about 290,000 customers in Houston and about 95,000 customers in Austin" (CHRON.com, 3/3).
ONE STEP CLOSER: RECODE.net's Peter Kafka wrote the deal may allow Dish to be "first to launch a real 'over the top' TV service, which would deliver actual network programming you want to see, over the Web." Disney is still requiring Dish to "sell its stuff on the Web as a bundle." But that "does mean you don’t have to pay for ESPN2 through ESPN12." Dish Network Chair & CEO Charlie Ergen could "theoretically offer his subscribers a 'skinnier' -- and less expensive -- bundle on the Web" (RECODE.net, 3/3).