Print 28 comment(s) - last by johnsmith9875.. on May 29 at 10:33 AM

Dish Network is heading to court with several major broadcasters, with a focus on skipping ads

Fox, NBC and CBS are taking Dish Network to court because of a new feature that allows subscribers to skip over commercials in recorded content.

Dish is currently the No. 2 satellite TV provider with 14 million subscribers, and also filed suit to make ad-skipping acceptable with an official judgment.

If the current dispute isn’t handled immediately, there is a chance that it could cause distributors to pull their content from Dish.

The company’s “AutoHop” feature is unique because subscribers are able to skip all of the commercials, instead of fast-forwarding and jumping in small segments. AutoHop isn’t available to all 14M subscribers, and can only be used to skip commercials for prime-time broadcast TV episodes.

“Viewers have been skipping commercials since the advent of the remote control," said David Shull, Dish Senior VP of programming, in a statement. “We are giving them a feature they want and that gives them more control."

As more TV viewers watch TV episodes and movies on-demand on their DVRs, advertisers and TV broadcasters are looking to better monetize their content. The TV ad industry nears $20 billion per year, but advertisers are increasingly worried about DVR viewers -- a continually growing number -- simply skipping ads of recorded programs.

Fox and several other major broadcasts prohibit users from fast forwarding through on-demand content, so they have to wait for the ads to finish. In its licensing agreement with Dish, for example, Fox says the provider can retransmit prime-time content, though fast forwarding through commercials is prohibited.

Dish doesn’t believe AutoHop will make a long-term impact on whether or not commercials are viewed, but the big four broadcasters and Time Warner Cable strongly disagree.

After the service was first announced, Dish reportedly welcomed input from broadcasters, but there were immediate rumors of possible lawsuits. It should prove interesting to see which side wins the court debate, because it could have a major ripple effect hitting advertisers and subscribers.

Source: New York Times

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dvr + fast forward = it already exists
By MyndMelt on 5/25/2012 8:14:26 AM , Rating: 5
The commercial skipping only works on certain shows, certain networks. Its not likes its ALL the commericals. People are going to do this with their dvr anyways. This just removes the wear and tear on the fast forward button.

RE: dvr + fast forward = it already exists
By tastyratz on 5/25/12, Rating: 0
RE: dvr + fast forward = it already exists
By bah12 on 5/25/2012 11:21:53 AM , Rating: 5
In the past I would have agreed, but last night I watched the House finale. It really did a good job of spot lighting the HUGE amount of effort it takes to produce a prime time show, it is literally a staff of hundreds. That is a ton of effort for a 1 hour show. Considering the majority of people could get it free of charge via an HD antenna to a DVR and skip the commercials, if everyone actually did this where would all the money come from to pay all those people?

Like it or not shows exist to make money, historically how they did that is primarily through commercials. If you cannot sell an advertiser on the benefits of a 30 second spot, then the funding for the shoot is simply not there.

Break it down this way. Say a an average shoot is 4am to 11pm (not a stretch as the set crews and such usually get there quite early). Now lets say for that shoot you pay 100 people every hour at a VERY conservative rate of $100/hour. That equates to $190,000 just in labor. Throw in another $110,000 for overhead regarding electricity, set materials, equipment costs and you are looking at about $300,000 per episode.

This would actually be extremely cheap by today's standards, when you look at actual hit shows having to pay prime actors $1 million + per show. So in my very cheap hypothetical you'd have to sell your ~$15 min of commercial space for $20,000 per minute.

Herein lies the problem convincing advertisers your product is worth $20,000 / min in an environment where technology all but guarantees that a good % will never see that ad, is really quite a tough sell.

Don't get me wrong we all hate commercials, but they absolutely MUST exist. If they don't the content dries up. The market has already said they won't tolerate a pay per view scheme, so it really is the best way.

RE: dvr + fast forward = it already exists
By crimson117 on 5/25/2012 11:30:42 AM , Rating: 2
if everyone actually did this where would all the money come from to pay all those people?

They only pay primary actors $1,000,000+ per show because the advertisers pay so much for our eyeballs.

If advertisers paid less because peiople were skpping commercials, the actors would get paid less (just like actors on less popular shows draw lower salaries) and they could take the pay cut or walk.

If all advertising stopped, first of all you'd draw more viewers, and second of all there is still the revenue from paid TV like cable or satellite, where a good chunk of your bill gets forwarded by your provider to the networks already.

By Indianapolis on 5/29/2012 9:20:03 AM , Rating: 2
So if we start skipping commercials, they won't be able to afford to hire the same old tired over-paid actors to be in shows/movies over and over and over again? Sounds like a win to me. I would be delighted to never see Ben Affleck or Jennifer Aniston in another show ever again.

By johnsmith9875 on 5/29/2012 10:33:13 AM , Rating: 2
If they're paying actors $1,000,000 for a TV show, imagine what executives are getting paid!

By Reclaimer77 on 5/26/2012 9:49:39 AM , Rating: 1
Oh please. Advertising revenue's aren't going to crumble if a few thousand, or even millions, of people buy DVR's that can skip commercials. This is just getting absurd.

Most people don't even buy Tivo's anymore anyway because cable providers use their own DVR's when you sign up.

Don't get me wrong we all hate commercials, but they absolutely MUST exist.

They can exist, sure. Just don't tell us that we MUST view them.

By Solandri on 5/26/2012 12:44:55 PM , Rating: 2
Like it or not shows exist to make money, historically how they did that is primarily through commercials. If you cannot sell an advertiser on the benefits of a 30 second spot, then the funding for the shoot is simply not there.

If people want to skip the 30 second commercials, then the 30 second commercials are the problem, not the commercial-skipping technology. To argue the technology is in the wrong is morally the same as arguing that you shouldn't stop watching the TV to go to the bathroom when a commercial comes on. My remote control allows me to change channels away from a commercial. Should it now be illegal to add a timer on the remote which tells you when 30/60/90 seconds is up so you know to switch back?

The real problem here is that the 30 second commercial is considered by the industry to be holy and immutable. The industry needs to grow and develop a new revenue model which circumvents this problem with the 30 second commercial. My hunch is that we'll be seeing fewer commercials and more paid product placement in the future. If the ads are part of the show, there's no skipping it.

RE: dvr + fast forward = it already exists
By semo on 5/25/2012 8:31:19 AM , Rating: 2
Some ads are actually filmed in slow motion and there's also other tricks that ad firms use to work with fast forwarders. I think the problem here is that Dish Network's service skip some ads.

RE: dvr + fast forward = it already exists
By Labotomizer on 5/25/2012 9:38:55 AM , Rating: 3
I was going to say the same thing. Even when I fast forward at 3x I typically know what each commercial was and what product it was for. And I won't lie there are occasions where I'll stop and watch a commercial because of that. Some movie trailers and other things of that nature that catch my interest.

Advertising isn't this terrible thing people like to make it out to be. I don't have time to constantly research every new product that comes out that may be of interest to me. I count on ads to give me enough information that I may want to do more research.

By WalksTheWalk on 5/25/2012 5:12:23 PM , Rating: 2
To me the skip feature should be a moot point by now. When I had a VCR I could stop playing the program, fast forward a bit, skipping the commercials and resume the program. There were also many VCRs that could also place markers where it thought the commercials were so I could skip them during playback.

Check it out:

By Schrag4 on 5/25/2012 11:08:59 AM , Rating: 2
People have been skipping ads since the 1980s. Remember the VCR? It's funny because digital technology actually makes it easier for networks and providers to come together to PREVENT vieweres from skipping ads for the first time in decades.

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