There really are three interesting take aways from this deal. Auto-hop being disabled within C3, a possible glimpse at ESPN Classic's future and the ability to deliver networks via IPTV.
First, Auto-Hop being disabled within C3 takes Disney out of the "Hopper" lawsuit. This also gives the other 3 a framework to settle. I've always said the "issues" with the Hopper really were minor and could easily be corrected. Hopefully, this means the "Hopper" lawsuit(s) come to an end quickly.
Second, the portion about ESPN Classic transitioning to a VOD "channel" or service is interesting. I'm curious to see if this is just a Dish "deal" or, some hint at long-term planning on the side of ESPN. My guess is it's closer to the latter. ESPN Classic is the only net that hasn't gotten an HD feed. It has seen it's overflow useage shift more to ESPNEWS. And, I don't think it's that farfetched to assume ESPN might be using Classic's "space" to help gain carriage for LHN and/or SECN, either.
Lastly, WRT the IPTV portion of the deal. I was going to include that I expected a mainstream MVPD to start or aquire an OTT service in my post on the predictions thread. I deleted it before posting when I remembered Dish has been doing this for a couple years now with DishWorld. Anyway, this could be an expansion of that service. If I read the press release right it stated that only 5 channels (the O&O's, Disney, ABC Family, ESPN & ESPN2) were agreed to for IPTV delivery. It's always hard to tell what Charlie's "master plan" is sometimes. He's a forward thinking individual and has his hands in a lot of things. He's willing to try new things and challenge the status quo sometimes they work (ie: Hopper, Sling, etc.) Sometimes not so much (ie: Blockbuster, MobileTv via RF channel 56, etc.) So, it's completely possible whatever Charlie might have in mind with these IPTV rights might never come to fruition or might flame out and never take off thereby making this disscussion much ado about nothing. If I was to wager a guess based on that 5 channel subset I'd assume He's planning a new "low cost, basic cable" or, "Family" OTT service. They already have the underpinnings to do so via DishWorld and have presumably worked out any kinks. Doing this would also provide Dish with a new entry level package (or, product) at a much lower subscriber aquistion cost. Meaning no truck rolls for costly installation on these "basic" subscribers. Plus, if the model works and they expand it further it opens them up to people who cannot receive DBS. It will be interesting to see what comes of this. Although, Charlie has been sitting on a bunch of spectrum for some time. So, I'm not going to hold my breath that something will happen immediately.
Slightly OT: But, For what it's worth I think A La Carte is overrated and will really do nothing to solve issue of the "rising cable bill." Just my 2 cents, take it for what its worth.