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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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RE: dvr + fast forward = it already exists
By tastyratz on 5/25/2012 8:33:39 AM , Rating: 0
Correct, only shows advertisers have paid a premium for.
Yes they are going to fast forward them anyways, and I for one would love the feature, but I can understand the plight of a network - shocking I know. Advertisers are a revenue stream, and without them they either charge more or jump ship - so unfortunately we can see this either increasing our sat/cable bill, decreasing our channel lineup, or seeing more push to internet type broadcasts where fast forwarding is not allowed.

I would at the very least support a "stop" marker being broadcast so that any time someone is fast forwarding and it hits that point, it stops. This prevents people who OVER fast forward, then skip BACK too far or just play on missing part of the programming. This seems like a fair compromise that is less likely to jeopardize content availability.


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
quote:
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.

quote:
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
quote:
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.


"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il











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