Dish Network unveils online video portal

DishOnline.com gives access to films, TV shows, Web clips

NEW YORK -- A day after TV distributors digested a report showing a decline in multichannel subscribers, Dish Network unveiled an online video portal to give its satellite TV subscribers access to live and recorded shows, films and additional content even when they're away from home.

"We want to give consumers more options" at a time when they spend more time watching TV content online, said Bruce Eisen, vp online content development and strategy at Dish. "The portal is at the forefront of Dish's TV Everywhere strategy."

Asked whether there is evidence that Dish subscribers might cancel their satellite TV service in favor of free Web content, Eisen said, "We have not really seen cord cutting at a sizable level, but clearly more and more people want to watch TV on different devices and out of the home."

Indeed, DishOnline.com is part of distributors' attempt to make more TV content available online, but Dish said that no one else in the cable or satellite TV industry offers anything close.

Viewers can use the portal for free to watch live TV, DVR recordings and film, TV and clips content. Users also can search for content by title, network, genre or actor. The site also tells them when they are unable to access certain content because it isn't part of their subscription package.

Non-Dish-subscribers also can stream selected video on the site, including films, TV shows and clips.

The cloud computing-based service doesn't cover all networks and content, though. For example, users won't be able to access AMC's "Mad Men" via their computers.

"They have not made it all available," Eisen said about networks and content creators. "Networks are moving rather cautiously."

The Dish executive emphasized that the company has no plans to charge for the portal as it is a customer acquisition and retention tool.
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