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Dish Network targets summer launch for standalone Internet-TV service

Detailed within a report published by Bloomberg, Dish Network could launch an Internet-TV service as early as summer 2014 that will exist outside of the premium subscription content that requires a satellite dish and set-top boxes at each television within a home. Attempting to target a younger generation of subscribers that want to watch programming on their tablets and smartphones, the Internet-TV service will be offered at a monthly subscription price between $20 to $30 according to sources close to the project. 

However, content providers have set restrictions on Dish’s service that have to be met before it can be offered to the public. Dish must have at least two of the four major broadcast networks offered in the package as well as ten popular cable networks. Last month, Dish Network signed a deal with Walt Disney Co. which means ABC is on board in addition to sports network ESPN and the Disney Channel for the kids. In addition, Dish Network representatives have chatted with CBS, A&E Television Networks (A&E, Lifetime, History Channel) and Turner Broadcasting (CNN, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS).

Dish Network informed representatives of NBCUniversal that a summer launch is plausible, thus creating a sense of urgency if the Comcast-owned company wants to get on board with the service. In addition to adding NBC to the service, a deal with NBCUniversal could also bring content from USA Network, SyFy, E! and the Bravo group of channels. Conceptually, targeting a summer launch for the service would put Dish Network in a position to market the new service before the fall television season of programming kicks off during September 2014. 

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However, it’s unlikely that Dish Network will offer a true a la carte experience when it comes to subscribing to specific channels. It’s more likely that interested customers will be charged a flat fee that includes a grouping of channels. Obviously, that could include channels that aren’t particularly interesting to the subscriber.

However, if this model is successful among millennials, Dish Network could ultimately expand the offering to include additional packages of channels for an added cost, basically copying the traditional model. For instance, a sports package or premium movie channels like HBO or Showtime could be offered at an additional cost. Similar to Aereo, Dish Network could also offer a DVR service at an additional cost, thus allowing subscribers the ability to record programming and watch those shows at a later time.

It’s unclear how content access will be policed or limited within Dish Network’s streaming plan. It’s possible that Dish Network could limit the number of devices that could stream content through an account at any given time. It’s also possible that Dish Network will want to discourage handing out a password to friends or family, thus will limit the number of registered devices that can access the stream of live content. If a subscriber is watching live content on a smartphone or tablet, it’s unclear if Dish Network will allow subscribers to stream the content from their small screen to the HDTV in the room. 

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