Dish Network is another step closer to launching a cheaper over-the-top TV service, obtaining rights to deliver live and on-demand content from Scripps Networks Interactive’s suite of cablers including Food Network, HGTV and DIY Network.
The No. 2 satcaster has cut similar pacts with Disney/ESPN and A+E Networks, and has said it plans to bow an OTT service by the end of 2014 that will include slimmed-down channel packages — to deliver bundles over broadband that are less expensive than typical pay TV.
Dish negotiated the OTT rights under a multiyear contract renewal with Scripps Networks covering the programmer’s HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country channels. In addition to the over-the-top streaming rights, the pact expands Dish’s distribution of authenticated live and VOD programming on Internet-connected devices and widens distribution of DIY and Cooking Channel to Dish’s America’s Top 200 satellite TV package.
“Dish is delighted to add Scripps Networks’ award-winning lifestyle content to our growing library of sports, family, educational and entertainment options that will create a redefined video experience for a new type of consumer,” Dish president and CEO Joe Clayton said.
Dish sees the OTT television service as a way to capture biz from younger consumers, who are less likely than their elders to subscribe to pay TV, aiming to intro a service priced at $20-$30 per month. In the second quarter, Dish lost 44,000 pay-TV subscribers (an improvement over the year-earlier quarter when it dropped 78,000) to end the period with 14.053 million subs.
The OTT rights under the deal with Scripps Networks lets Dish deliver multiple streams per household. “This first-of-its-kind OTT deal for Scripps Networks Interactive enables us to reach even more people through Dish’s innovative services,” said Ken Lowe, Scripps Networks Interactive president and CEO.
The broad pact also expands the authenticated Scripps Networks programming available to Dish subs over any Internet connection, on devices including connected TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and videogame consoles. Dish customers will be able to use the Dish Anywhere app, dishanywhere.com and Scripps Networks’ websites and apps to access live, VOD and full-season content.
Other big players have planted flags on the over-the-top frontier, as they angle for opportunities to grab share in the shifting pay-TV climate.
Sony this month announced a pact with Viacom — the media conglom’s first OTT deal — for a service that will deliver TV to Sony’s line of connected devices, while Verizon Communications says it’s eyeing mid-2015 to roll out a television service over wireless networks.
Meanwhile, DirecTV, the biggest U.S. satellite TV operator, this year plans to introduce a Hispanic OTT package with Spanish-language programming. But instead of attempting to replicate pay-TV per se, DirecTV is targeting “niche” content areas with price points in the range of Netflix, CEO Mike White said at an investor conference last week.