Netflix now on Dish’s Hopper in first big pay-TV partnership

Subscribers to Dish’s satellite TV service can now access Netflix right from their set-top box, the companies announced on Wednesday. The partnership is a major strategic coup for the online video service, and reflects a new level of integration between online and traditional TV.

My colleague Janko Roettgers first reported last week that such deals were on the way.

According to a news release, [company]Netflix[/company] will now appear for all [company]Dish[/company] customers using a second-generation Hopper box, and will feature the same user interface as on other platforms:

“The app is easily accessible from any channel by clicking the blue button on the DISH remote and selecting the Netflix icon, or from the Netflix icon on the Hopper main menu.”

This is significant because, until now, Netflix users have had to switch to another input on their TV, or use another device to access the service. Netflix will now be available to millions of customers who want to access it through the same box where they get their existing TV.

The deal also represents a major marketing opportunity for Netflix. As Janko reported, Netflix has made pay-TV partnerships its major strategic goal for 2015. The Dish hook-up thus comes sooner than expected. AT&T, which is in the process of acquiring Direct TV, appeared to be the most likely initial candidate.

For Netflix, the Dish partnership is another step in its goal to achieve the broad reach of HBO — but at the same time not become too tied to the pay TV industry.

As Janko put it: “Netflix wants to be on your cable box you’ve learned to live with, but not part of the cable bundle you hate so much.”

DirecTV next in line to get internet TV rights from Disney

Looks like Dish’s (S DISH) internet TV deal with Disney (S DIS) may open the floodgates for news about similar arrangements: Reuters is reporting that DirecTV is in negotiations with Disney about also launching an internet-based TV service with programming from ABC and ESPN. DirecTV’s retransmission agreement with Disney is up soon, so the timing couldn’t be better.