DIRECTV is working on an “over-the-top” service too

Don’t think that DISH will have the upper hand forever. Although DISH did recently announce a deal that lets them offer ABC programming for people who don’t want satellite service at all, it seems DIRECTV is hot on their tails.

Reuters reports that DIRECTV is working hard to get the same kind of deal in place, allowing them to offer ABC programming on streaming boxes. It’s not the first time they’ve hinted that something like this was in the works, either. DIRECTV’s Investor Day webcast had a tantalizing hint of the future with a suggestion of a future “over-the-top” service and ABC programming would have to be part of that.

DIRECTV has lagged behind other providers in allowing its customers to use Disney’s online content, especially WatchESPN. They’ve always cited high costs and low demand, but it’s clear that demand is rising. If DIRECTV can get costs under control, expect that to change quickly.

The big picture here is that both DIRECTV and DISH realize that the world has changed. It’s not just “sit in front of the TV in the living room” anymore. Close to half of video viewing now takes place on smartphones, computers or tablets, and both companies are working hard to carve out a place for themselves in the new world of internet video. DISH tends to take more risks and sometimes that means they come out ahead with early adopters, but investors favor DIRECTV’s cool, methodical style of rolling out new features when the market is ready to pay for them. Here’s another case where you see that.