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Summary:

Dish customers won’t be able to automatically skip over the ad breaks of ABC TV shows for much longer: The satellite service operator agreed to disable ad skipping to secure its access to ABC and ESPN.

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Dish has agreed to restrict the ability of its Hopper DVR to automatically skip over ads when Dish customers watch ABC shows, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The agreement comes as part of a larger retransmission deal that will continue to give Dish the ability to carry broadcast and cable networks owned by Disney, including ABC and ESPN.

Consumers will still be able to manually fast-forward through ads recorded by their DVR. However, they won’t be able to access the Hopper’s automatic ad-skipping feature, dubbed Auto Hop, until three days after the show aired on TV.

The three-day rule is due to the fact that broadcasters can monetize advertising until three days after a show aired on television. After that window, ads don’t get counted anymore, making them effectively worthless for broadcasters.

Disney’s victory against the Hopper’s automatic ad skipping marks an interesting turn of events. Fellow broadcaster Fox had sued against the Hopper’s ability to skip over their ads, but lost over multiple instances, with courts finding time and again that the Hopper’s ad skipping functionality didn’t violate copyright law.

But while broadcasters have frequently lost in court against new technologies, they’ve almost always won in direct negotiations about retransmission rights. One should expect that other networks are going to demand similar concessions from Dish once their contract with the operator is up.

  1. Absurd!

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  2. tetracycloide Monday, March 3, 2014

    I wouldn’t exactly call getting a lower rate so dish will turn it off a ‘victory.’ In fact I’d say it solidifies the hopper as legitimate and I for one can’t wait for it to become more prevalent on third party DVRs and tuners.

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  3. Scott Bradley Monday, March 3, 2014

    The positive side is this agreement sets a president for other DVR systems to follow – such as TiVo.

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  4. I can live with this. Honestly this was to be expected. The fact that Dish preserved the ability to skip ads after 3 days is pretty huge honestly. I watch most of my DVR’ed content days or weeks later. Course maybe I’m in the minority. And as others have said this gives TiVo the opportunity to deploy something like this in the future. Not that they will since they’re now completely focused on MSO rather than retail customers, but hey you can dream.

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  5. I agree, the three-day window isn’t much different than the existing one-day window, and as a Dish subscriber I’ll now have access to WatchESPN, WatchABC, and some additional channels. Fair tradeoff from my perspective… I think the subtitle above is very misleading, as it suggests there will be no more ad-skipping.

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  6. Richard Cranium Thursday, March 6, 2014

    TiVo is going to copy DISH’s patentend technology? Kind of ironic, no?

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