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Dish grabs new cache of channels for TV service aimed at cord-cutters

Dish's coming Internet-delivered TV service will offer channels like Travel and Food Network from programmer Scripps alongside networks owned by Disney and A+E.

Dish lined up another group of channels for its coming service ideal for cord-cutters, people who forsake a traditional pay-TV subscription for online alternatives. James Martin/CNET

Dish Network's coming Internet TV service is taking shape, as a deal with programmer Scripps Networks Interactive included the rights to stream channels like Travel and Food Network.

A fully online pay-TV service has become a popular ambition for technology and entertainment companies in the last year, as consumer demand to break the tether to television in the living room -- as well as consumer exasperation at ever-rising bills for pay-TV like cable and satellite -- has given rise to online-only players like Netflix.

But Internet pay-TV is a goal most often foiled by the trickery of securing must-have content. In March, Dish Network took the lead in turning the aspiration into reality when the satellite television provider reached a deal with Walt Disney Co., owner of such networks as ABC and ESPN, to give Dish the right to stream video, live and on demand, as part of an Internet-delivered television service. Dish also secured the rights to A+E Networks channels like its namesake, Lifetime and History last month.

Last week, Sony joined Dish at the front of the pack with a similar deal with Viacom, which is the parent of networks like Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon. Sony went public with its goal at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, saying it plans to pilot a cloud-based TV service this year that combines live television content with on-demand and DVR.

Dish's Tuesday deal with Scripps was part of an agreement renewal that would continue to provide Scripps channels on the satellite provider's core television product, and it expanded distribution of channels DIY Network and Cooking Channel.

"This first-of-its-kind OTT deal for Scripps Networks Interactive enables us to reach even more people through DISH's innovative services," Scripps Chief Executive and Chairman Kenneth W. Lowe said in a statement, referring to the term "over the top" often used to describe video content that circumvents the typical set-top box to get on televisions via Internet delivery.

Cord cutters, a term for those who forsake a traditional pay-TV packages for online alternatives like Netflix or a service like Dish's, remain a small niche but appear to be growing. A study released last week by Frank N. Magid Associates found that just 2.9 percent of US pay-TV consumers are "very likely" to cancel their service in the year ahead, up from 2.7 percent last year and 2.2 percent two years earlier.