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Dish, Disney End AutoHop Litigation

3 Mar, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Dish agrees to suspend AutoHop functionality on ABC primetime programing up to three days after initial broadcast

Dish Network and The Walt Disney Co. March 3 reached a retransmission distribution agreement that will provide Dish  subscribers access to Disney’s content lineup, including ABC TV and ESPN, across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices.

The agreement ends all pending litigation between the two companies, including disputes over PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop. As part of the accord, Dish will disable AutoHop functionality for ABC content within three days (C3) of initial broadcast. The deal also provides a structure for other advertising models as the market evolves, including dynamic ad insertion, advertising on mobile devices and extended advertising measurement periods.

ABC TV was among several broadcasters that had sued Dish over its AutoHop ad-skipping feature that allowed subscribers using the Hopper DVR to delete TV ads on all recorded primetime programming.

The expanded renewal agreement also grants Dish rights to stream linear and video-on-demand content from the ABC-owned broadcast stations, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2, as part of an Internet delivered, IP-based multichannel offering.

For the first time, Dish subscribers will be able to access Disney’s live and video-on-demand products, including WatchESPN, Watch Disney, Watch ABC Family and Watch ABC using Internet devices in the home and mobile.

“The creation of this agreement has really been about predicting the future of television with a visionary and forward-leaning partner,” Dish CEO Joseph Clayton said in a statement. “Not only will the Disney, ABC, ESPN entertainment portfolio continue to delight our customers today, but we have a model from which to deliver exciting new services tomorrow.”

Anne Sweeney, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, said, the renewal was in the best interests of both companies.

“Not only were innovative business solutions reached on complicated current issues, we also planned for the evolution of our industry,” Sweeney said.

John Skipper, president, ESPN & co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, said the deal allows Dish to address the multiscreen world on several levels. Skipper said the pact adds value to the traditional video subscription by making content accessible across platforms and delivering new products, including WatchESPN app, pending launch of the SEC ESPN Network, expanded distribution for Longhorn Network, and a reimagined ESPN Classic VOD channel.

“We are creating opportunities to add new subscribers and introducing the value of a multichannel subscription to a small subset of broadband-only consumers,” Skipper said.

Dish will make available Disney Junior, Fusion, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, as well as Longhorn Network and the upcoming SEC ESPN Network upon its launch. In addition, Dish, ESPN and ESPN Deportes customers will have access to the live and VOD channel ESPN3.

The extensive and expanded rights package gives Dish customers access to VOD content at home, on computers and on-the-go through the Dish Anywhere app for tablets and smartphones, including:

ABC On Demand, a fast forward-disabled service that features a selection of top-rated primetime entertainment programming, including episodes of such popular current ABC shows as “Scandal,” Castle,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Once Upon a Time” and “Revenge.”

ABC Family On Demand, which features a variety of top-rated full episodes, refreshed monthly, from such popular millennial favorites as “The Fosters,” ”Switched at Birth,” “Baby Daddy” and “Melissa & Joey.”

Disney-branded On Demand offerings, including Disney Channel On Demand, Disney Junior On Demand, and Disney XD On Demand.

Refreshed each month, the Disney Channel On Demand offering will include episodes from series such as “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Sofia the First” and “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” for preschoolers, as well as variety of episodes from “A.N.T. Farm,” “Liv and Maddie,” “Jessie” and other popular series for older kids.

Select episodes featured on Disney Channel On Demand will be available in innovative new offerings, such as playlists and monthly programming blocks, in addition to a number of episodes available in multiple languages.

A variety of Disney Channel Original Movies will also be available. Disney XD On Demand features a selection of episodes from such series as the Emmy Award-winning animated hit “Phineas and Ferb,” “Pair of Kings” and “Kickin’ It.”

Expanded On Demand content from ESPN, including content from ESPN Deportes and ESPN’s award-winning original content from ESPN Films.


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