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Disney's Groundbreaking Deal With Dish Leads the Dow

By Travis Hoium – Mar 4, 2014 at 3:30PM

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Disney is leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher today after a megadeal with Dish Network.

Easing tension between Russia and Ukraine has helped push all 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.63%) components higher today, a rare consensus that came after every component was down yesterday. Overall, the Dow is up 1.6% in late trading, and markets in Europe had a good day as well.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that his government did not intend to annex Crimea, a region of southeastern Ukraine, which was a worry given military posturing in recent days. Of course, he left the door open for future action and I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this, which may bring some volatility to the markets in the future.

The significant news on a company front today was a deal between Disney (DIS -1.70%) and Dish Network (DISH -5.74%) that may lay the groundwork for the streaming TV revolution.

Disney leads the way in streaming
It's no surprise that Disney is leading the way into streaming, but the partnership announced with Dish Network last night is surprising in how quickly it opens up new options. Under the terms of a complex deal, the House of Mouse will allow Dish Network to stream ABC, ESPN, and other DIsney networks, while Dish gives up the commercial-skipping Auto Hop feature on DVRs for prime time Disney programming.  

Initially, this will give Dish subscribers the ability to stream Disney content such as WatchESPN, but it also has the option to offer these streaming options as a separate service. If fully utilized, this could open up subscription options for streaming that wouldn't require a video subscription, bringing new customers to Dish.

These streaming subscriptions have been a long time coming and Disney's large offering of streaming apps lays the foundation for this kind of offering. It also opens the door for streaming-only deals with companies such as Apple, Netflix, or Hulu, which have been waiting for cable to loosen its grip on media content.

Disney is the big player to watch, primarily because ESPN's content is in such high demand for cable consumers. If ESPN is offered via a subscription outside of the traditional cable providers, it could start a flood of cord cutting. Dish Network made a step in that direction and also put itself in the center of the battle for streaming subscribers.

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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