Dish Network is officially the first major pay-TV operator to make a deal with Netflix and start offering the service with its set-top boxes. This deal is no doubt good news for Netflix, which gains potential access to around 14 million customers who currently pay Dish for their TV (as long as they upgrade to the second generation Hopper, which is a big caveat). However, those who already use Netflix may be inclined to yawn: The video streamer is already available on such a large number of boxes, consoles and devices, the move toward Dish may seem unnecessary. But here Netflix has an opportunity to target other niche markets, especially older viewers who would otherwise not have a chance to try Netflix at all.
Starting with the second-generation Hopper set-top boxes, Dish Networks users will be able to access Netflix directly from the Hopper menu. Users will still have to make separate monthly payments to Netflix to access the service, but they won’t have to buy any additional devices. If you have a Hopper 2, you can hop on right now and look for the new Netflix option and how to sign up for the service or visit the Netflix page explaining the details.
Once viewers choose Netflix from their Hopper menu, it will enter the traditional Netflix app format and allow people to browse through the entire Netflix library. It is worth noting that Dish Network is not the first provider to make such a Netflix deal (Cable One, Atlantic Broadband, RCN and others have also made the move), but it is by far the largest of the group.
There is also some future investment at work. Dish is working to expand the app to additional set-top boxes, including its Joey line, which will reach a lot more customers. Also, when Netflix releases future episodes and movies, there’s a good chance they’ll be advertised on other Dish services, like Video On Demand and general search functions. This could give a big boost to Netflix’s own shows, which of course do not appear on any traditional networks.