Dish Purportedly In Talks With Viacom To Change The Economics Of Pay-TV

By Megan O'Neill 

Earlier this year Dish Network made headlines when they dropped AMC, to the dismay of Mad Men, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad fans everywhere.  In “out with the old, in with the new” fashion, today Bloomberg reports that Dish may now be in talks with Viacom Inc.’s MTV and other networks about offering their channels on the web.  A move that “could shift the economics of the pay-TV industry.”

Edmund Lee reports that, aside from Viacom, Dish is also purportedly in negotiations with Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc. and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., owner of HGTV and the Food Network, according to “five people familiar with the plan.”

The deal would consist of the companies offering an over-the-top Internet TV service and charging a lower price than the traditional cable TV bundles for a smaller bundle of channels, available for viewing on computers and tablets.  Lee writes, “Dish’s service would change the dynamics of the pay-television business, breaking up the bundles that force customers to pay for channels they don’t watch.”

The smaller bundles would provide viewers with a cheaper way to get the content that they actually want to watch, while also allowing companies like Viacom to charge a higher rate per channel than it does with larger programming packages.

Lee writes that the new solution “gives Dish a way to avoid its biggest programming expense: sports.  Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ESPN gets as much as $5.13 each month for every cable and satellite subscriber, compared with the industry’s average of 26 cents, according to SNL Kagan.”  With the new solution, viewers that don’t want to watch ESPN would not be tied into having to pay for the suite of channels because they were part of a larger package.  Currently few customers subscribe to the Dish package without ESPN, as it also lacks MTV, HGTV and other top channels.

Check out more on Bloomberg and let us know what you think.  Would you subscribe to this sort of Internet TV service?

Image credit: Apples Eyes Studio via

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.