Dish Network and The Walt Disney Co. announced that they struck a long-term programming deal -- and as part of the deal, the satcaster has agreed to disable the ad-skipping function in its Hopper DVR for three days for ABC programming.
Among other pieces of the pact, the Mouse House has granted Dish over-the-top rights -- letting the satcaster include Disney content in a virtual pay-TV service. Dish has the ability to stream cleared linear and video-on-demand content from the ABC-owned broadcast stations, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2, as part of an Internet-delivered multichannel offering.
ABC, along with CBS, Fox and NBC, sued Dish over the AutoHop feature of the Hopper, which lets users automatically skip ads in recorded primetime programming.
Under the satcaster's pact with Disney, Dish will modify the Hopper so users will not be able to skip ads in ABC shows until three days after the shows air. That will let the Alphabet net receive Nielsen C+3 ratings credit for Dish subs. Under the deal, ABC will agree to drop its litigation over the Hopper, according to the companies.
Dish and Disney have been in talks for months on an agreement that would cover carriage of cable networks including ESPN, Disney Channel and ABC Family, as well as ABC-owned stations in eight markets. The previous agreement, reached in 2005, expired Sept. 30.
"The creation of this agreement has really been about predicting the future of television with a visionary and forward-leaning partner," Dish president and CEO Joe Clayton said in a statement. "Not only will the exceptional Disney, ABC, ESPN entertainment portfolio continue to delight our customers today, but we also have a model from which to deliver exciting new services tomorrow."
Anne Sweeney, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, said the agreement will "position our industry for future growth.... Not only were innovative business solutions reached on complicated current issues, we also planned for the evolution of our industry."
Also under the Dish-Disney pact, Dish will add the Mouse House's TV Everywhere apps such as WatchESPN. In addition, Dish has agreed to carry Fusion, the news-and-lifestyle cable network joint venture of Univision and ABC News, along with the SEC Network, which ESPN expects to launch later this year.
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