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DirecTV in talks with Disney for Dish-like Internet deal

DirecTV
Wikimedia Commons

DirecTV users taken aback by Dish Networks' announcement, earlier this week, of a deal between itself and Disney that gives the nation's no. 2 satellite TV service the right to stream video, live and on demand, as part of an Internet-delivered television service, probably needn't worry. Cnet reported on Thursday that DirecTV is negotiating the same sort of agreement with Disney.

Dish Network apparently didn't get the deal done earlier simply because its offer to Disney was better, either. Its existing agreement with Disney was scheduled to expire before DirecTV's. DirecTV spokesman Darris Gringeri said:

The deal and terms are not unexpected as the Dish contract was the most recent in the Disney timeline to expire. The DirecTV contract is up next, and we're in the process of working with Disney on a similar long-term agreement of our own.

DirecTV's deal won't directly mirror Dish Network's -- it can't. Part of the Dish agreement includes Dish eliminating its Hopper DVR's automatic ad-skipping functionality on Disney content (including ABC, ESPN) until three days after the show has aired. It also includes the dismissal of all pending litigation between the two companies.

Dish's deal with Disney allows it to stream linear and on-demand content from ABC broadcast stations as well as cable channels, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2. Dish has not revealed plans for its streaming service, but it now plans to negotiate with other major cable networks, offering similar terms to get online rights. These rights could lead to a major cost savings for Dish Network, which cost Dish an average of $866 for each subscriber it acquired last year.

However, such an Internet-based service would require Dish to rely on conventional ISPs, many of which -- like Comcast -- have their own television delivery services, as well. They also frequently have data caps, something which is the bane of anyone wanting to stream.

DirecTV has 20.3 million subscribers, while its smaller rival, Dish, has 14.1 million subscribers.