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Dish Network gains streaming rights, but drops ad hopping for Disney content

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Dish Networks' ad-skipping Hopper DVR won't be skipping over ABC commercial breaks much longer. On Monday, Disney and Dish announced a deal (via GigaOm) that limits Hopper to automatic ad-skipping only three days after the content originally airs.

However, Dish had a good reason for giving in to Disney: As part of the deal, Dish now possesses the rights to include ABC and ESPN programming “as part of an Internet delivered, IP-based multichannel offering,” according to a press release. That would include broadcast stations, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2.

Also, for the first time, Dish Network subscribers will be able to access Disney’s authenticated live and video-on-demand (VOD) products, including Watch ESPN, Watch Disney, Watch ABC Family and Watch ABC using Internet devices both in the home and on the go.

This deal is the first time that a content provider has given a U.S. pay-TV operator the ability to offer its content over the Web through smartphones, tablets and computers. Until now, cable or satellite TV operators did not have the right to sell content outside of a pay-TV subscription.

Joseph P. Clayton, Dish Network Chief Executive Officer and President said:

The creation of this agreement has really been about predicting the future of television with a visionary and forward-leaning partner. Not only will the exceptional Disney, ABC, ESPN entertainment portfolio continue to delight our customers today, but we have a model from which to deliver exciting new services tomorrow.

Dave Shull, Dish Network Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer added:

This agreement allows us to bring more innovation to the customer experience, including new marketing, packaging and delivery options. This paves the way for more customer choice and control over the viewing experience.

Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, and President, Disney/ABC Television Group, said,

We knew early on we had a responsibility with this deal to not only do what was best for our business, but to also position our industry for future growth. After months of hard work and out-of-the box thinking on both sides, led by Bob Iger and Charlie Ergen, this agreement, one of the most complex and comprehensive we’ve ever undertaken, achieves just that. Not only were innovative business solutions reached on complicated current issues, we also planned for the evolution of our industry.

Meanwhile, John Skipper, President, ESPN & Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks added:

We worked with DISH to smartly address the future of the multi-screen world on several levels. Together, we are adding value to the traditional video subscription by making great content accessible across platforms and delivering new products, including our WatchESPN authenticated networks, the highly anticipated launch of the SEC ESPN Network, expanded distribution for Longhorn Network, and a reimagined ESPN Classic video-on-demand channel. At the same time, we are creating opportunities to add new subscribers and introducing the value of a multichannel subscription to a small subset of broadband-only consumers.

Phil Swann, president of TVPredictions.com explained the change:

Disney is saying, "If you want to create an Internet service that is not simply an enhancement to what (subscribers) already get ... you have the rights to do that." That is different. The actual technology isn't different, but the structure is.

With this deal, Dish with live-streams of Disney channels, including ABC and ESPN, as a separate service. Dish has not, however, yet committed to it.

The deal was called "long-term" but a duration was not given.

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