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Dish (S DISH) wants to make inroads with people who are fed up with traditional pay TV with its upcoming internet-based TV service, said the company’s GM of Interactive and Advanced TV Adam Lowy at the TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco Wednesday. “Cord cutters, cord nevers and what we call cord haters” will be the target audience of the new service, said Lowy.
Dish announced a deal with Disney (S DIS) in March to deliver live TV through a new service, and Lowy said Wednesday that his company is talking to all the networks that it also carries over its traditional satellite service about licensing their content for the new venture. Dish is currently working on setting up technical infrastructure to launch the service, which will initially be based on Dish’s existing infrastructure, but eventually be moved over to an all-IP infrastructure, Lowy said. “All this is being moved very fast,” he added.
Lowy didn’t give any details on additional content agreements, but Fox (S NWS) Network SVP of Distribution Strategy and Development Sherry Brennan said that her company would like to sell its networks through all and any of these new services. Brennan admitted that some of the rights issues around content still have to be sorted out, but she argued that in the end, it wouldn’t matter to Fox whether its programming would get to consumers through a traditional or an internet-based TV service. “A pay TV operator is just a pay TV operator,” she said.
Of course, there’s going to be one big difference: An internet-based service isn’t necessarily bundled with internet access from any existing provider, which will make it a whole lot easier for consumers to cancel the service and switch to a competing offering. “At any time, if you don’t pay, it’s over,” admitted Lowy, which is why he argued that the service would have to get it right in the first place, and be better than existing TV services. “The consumer is gonna win out in the end,” he said.
Lowy made these remarks on a panel that also featured Eric Fitzgerald Reed, VP of Entertainment and Tech Policy at Verizon (S VZ) Communications. Verizon bought Intel’s OnCue internet TV service earlier this year, but recent remarks by Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam have cast doubts on the company’s plans to actually launch a full-blown TV service.
McAdam recently said during an investor call that content rights for a linear TV service would be too expensive. Notably, OnCue boss Erik Huggers left the company two weeks after these remarks. Asked whether he could clarify Verizon’s plans for OnCue, Reed replied: “I don’t want to subscribe to just one particular business model right now.”