Dish Network finally sealed the deal with Disney over digital streaming rights to Disney Channel, ABC, ABC Family and ESPN. This means that the number two satellite provider can now allow its customers access to these channels both On Demand and live. DirecTV, the top ranking satellite provider, is rumored to be in the works with Disney for a similar deal.

What Does The Deal Look Like?

While Dish Network’s deal includes eliminating its Hopper DVR’s automatic ad-skipping functionality on Disney content (including ABC and ESPN), it also includes dropping all legal issues Disney and Dish are currently under.

DirecTV’s deal would mirror Dish’s in that the agreement will be part of a larger re-negotiation between Disney and DirecTV to replace their current contract set to expire in December. As a result, DirecTV customers would have access to all Disney content over any device rather than only live TV.

Additionally, because DirecTV has a larger following of around 20.3 million subscribers in comparison to Dish’s 14.1 million, it is assumed they will receive a better deal for these content terms. DirecTV already has great deals on their website And if they manage to clinch a deal with Disney as well, many Dish customers could very well make the switch to DirecTV.

Why Is This Significant?

Direct TV’s position as a company would benefit incredibly to gain arguably the largest content trophy an online programmer could ask for—namely the domain under ESPN and ABC. And it would do so with a no subscription-strings attached. While it seems unlikely that Dish or DirecTV would offer Disney’s new online service independent of its dish-based subscription, this could be the first pat-TV operator with permission to do so.

While Netflix, Amazon Instant and iTunes already offer Disney content, those paying for cable or satellite have had little ability to stream anything Disney related. Since many of these customers are paying for two subscriptions, the ability to maintain live TV with built-in Internet streaming would make cable cutters think twice about cutting the cord.

Who Will This Affect?

Since Netflix, Amazon Instant and iTunes originally had the market cornered on digital streaming, cable and satellite companies have been furiously trying to keep up. Both cable and satellite companies have managed to secure features similar to Internet TV streaming companies.

For viewers who desire both digital TV as well as live TV, paying the hefty price for cable or satellite was worth it. But, many customers who wanted live TV as well as features of Netflix and other Internet streaming companies ended up paying a premium for all services.

However, now that satellite and cable companies are offering more and more services, Internet TV streaming companies could be losing their leg up. Internet TV no longer has an exclusive hold on the ability to stream from any location and any device. So what does the future hold for these online streaming options? Only time can tell.

Dish Network’s deal was a landmark contract, but it is safe to say that DirecTV and other companies will be engaging in similar contracts in the near future.