Dish Network reportedly exploring a pay Internet TV offering

Dish Network reportedly is exploring offering its own pay Internet TV service and has inquired among media companies about licensing channels for the service, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal online.

According to the article, the Dish Network strategy appears to be aimed at reducing how much it pays monthly to program providers — particularly sports networks — that charge more for their content. The move would give the direct-to-home satellite TV provider a new lower-cost service to offer consumers who have been rocked by the nation’s economy and are looking to reduce their household expenses.

As part of the service under consideration, a broadcast TV antenna may be included to give viewers a way to pick up OTA TV broadcast stations and remove Dish from paying for the right to carry those channels, further reducing its monthly programming expense, the article said.
This week, Dish said it lost 111,000 subscribers, reducing its customer count to 13.9 million as of Sept. 30, according to the article.

Last month, Dish launched a streaming service with Blockbuster to deliver movies, games and TV shows. It is unclear whether the company will actually launch the new pay Internet TV service under consideration.

As over-the-top delivery of movie and television content has grown, many reports and studies have been released either affirming or denying that Internet streaming is leading to cord-cutting, a situation in which pay-TV subscribers drop or reduce their pay TV subscription in favor of streaming content online.

The Internet TV service reportedly being explored by Dish reflects some of these same cord-cutting sentiments, only in this instance the cord, which is used to bind some content providers (such as sports networks) to a pay TV distributor, may simply be loosened.