Well that was fast. Within weeks of Anthony Wood prognosticating about virtual MSOs, Bloomberg reports that Dish is working on a new stripped-down TV package to be delivered over the Internet. According to the news agency, Dish is in talks with Viacom, Univision and Scripps. The satellite operator would also bundle broadcast content in with a new Internet-based service, much like Aereo is doing in New York City. There is no word/rumor yet on pricing except that the new offering would be cheaper than a standard pay-TV subscription.
It makes sense that an incumbent player would jump off the bench to offer a new Internet TV service, and that Dish would be one of the first to try it. Between its use of Sling tech and the introduction of the Hopper, Dish has become quite the stirrer of pots. Dish also partnered recently with Roku to offer Internet-based international content in an app for the retail streaming box. It’s likely Wood had more than a crystal ball handy when he suggested a virtual MSO service was on the way.
There are about a thousand and one implications to consider with the potential new Dish service, many of which we’ve covered here before. They include (but are not limited to):
- The impact on broadcasters of new distribution channels that don’t include new retransmission fees
- The possibility for traditionally regional pay-TV operators to expand to a national footprint
- An opening of the floodgates for new and cheaper hybrid services that combine broadcast TV and Internet video
Of course, Dish hasn’t announced anything yet. Could this be timed for a holiday launch? CES? We’ll just have to wait and see.