Watch Out, Netflix: Dish Steps Up With Disney Deal

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Making good on the agreement just weeks after it was announced, The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) and DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) announced Tuesday that they will be unveiling WATCH Disney products and shows to DISH customers throughout the U.S. DISH customers will now have access to WATCH ABC, WATCH ABC Family, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD, and WATCH ESPN, according to a press release.

Early last month the two companies announced a multiyear distribution deal in which Disney promised that DISH would have the rights to live-streaming content from Disney and Disney-owned media outlets, like ABC and ESPN. The deal “removes the risk of a blackout … and provides opportunities for incremental revenue [for Disney] with the inclusion of video on-demand,” wrote Drew Crum, an analyst at Stifel who spoke with USA Today following the deal’s announcement. It also means that Netflix subscription might look a little less appealing to subscribers who already have access to Disney-owned content without it.

According to the company’s website, WATCH Disney is “a new way to watch full episodes of your favorite Disney Channel shows online through your computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or Kindle Fire. Full episodes ON DEMAND — watch anytime, anywhere.”

DISH currently has more than 14 million subscribers that will now benefit from access to Disney and Disney-owned programming while on the go. Disney and DISH say that access to Disney Junior and as well as authenticated services from SEC ESPN and Longhorn Network are coming soon, and are due to be launched later this year.

Live programming from Disney Channel, ABC, ABC Family, and Disney XD is available to DISH subscribers in several metropolitan areas, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Fresno, Philadelphia, and Raleigh-Durham, the press release added. Live events and programming from EPSN, as well as ESPN2 and 3, ESPNU, ESPN News, and ESPN Deportes are also now accessible to those subscribers, the press release added.

As part of the original agreement, DISH and Disney agreed to toss out a lawsuit between the two companies in which DISH subscribers were using ad-skipping technology from DISH, called AutoHop, to skip advertisements and commercials while watching Disney programming online, and which threatened the network’s advertising revenue. Instead, DISH has agreed to turn off AutoHop for Disney shows for three days after they’ve aired.