In the wake of an unprecedented deal struck between Dish Network and Disney, which saw the two companies engaging in quid pro quo to nail down a new licensing agreement, CBS president Les Moonves was unimpressed. As MultiChannel News reports, the deal, which grants Dish rights to Disney-owned content in exchange for backing off its AutoHop feature, is in Moonves’ words, “a great start,” but when it comes to CBS’ turn at bat, he said his network is going to want, “some different things.”
The agreement struck on Monday came at the end of a long courtroom feud between Dish and Disney, with the marrow of the issue centered around AutoHop. The feature allows subscribers to automatically skip ads in primetime programming during next day re-airing. While Dish didn’t fully kill AutoHop for Disney-owned ABC, it effectively crippled the service, agreeing to delay AutoHopping of ABC commercials for three days. As part of the agreement, Disney opened the floodgates to its vast arsenal of programming for an online TV service Dish has been cooking up.
The deal seems to have given Dish a powerful deck of cards to play to get its new online network off the ground, including content from ABC, Disney, and ESPN . For Dish’s future licensing agreements with the conglomerates that own the other three big broadcast networks, including NBC, FOX, and CBS, it’s a sort of blueprint which both sides can follow going forward.
However, it seems that before CBS will be granting Dish Network the keys to its content kingdom, Dish will have to offer more concessions than those included in its agreement with Disney. Speaking candidly about the Dish-Disney deal at a Morgan Stanley investor conference on Tuesday, Moonves expressed a positive view of Dish’s desire to access content for its new online service, admitting that online programming is yet another way for content owners to bring in revenue, as long as it’s done, “properly and with the appropriate partners.” Whatever that means.
But while Moonves agreed that both sides came away with something, it seems Dish will have to limbo a little lower when it renegotiates with CBS at the end of this year.
At any rate, while Dish seems to have struck a win for its new online service with Disney, it’s a sure bet that savvy gatekeepers such as Moonves and his compatriots won’t be licensing any content without lucrative deals tying back to the current broadcast paradigm. Just how that will look in an online package when the final handshakes are swung is any body’s guess.
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