TV Networks sue Dish Network over ad-skipper

A satellite TV dish on the roof of a house in Long Island, New York.

David Brancaccio: Satellite TV provider Dish Network has a new digital recorder that automatically cuts through commercials.  When we first reported on it, some experts thought it was a lawsuit-waiting-to-happen. Now three broadcasters have gone to court with a copyright lawsuit against Dish.

Marketplace's Scott Tong has more.


Scott Tong: The automatic ad-skipper is called AutoHop, and for those slow on the uptake, Dish Network adds a kangaroo logo. Here’s how it hops: You buy a feature that automatically tapes primetime TV on the big networks. You watch the next day, zinging through commercials while your thumb does nothing. Fox, NBC and CBS are suing to stop it.

It robs eyeballs from ads, but Tony Wible at Janney Capital Markets says not too many viewers currently use the technology.

Tony Wible: It’s not important financially, because it’s relatively small. But if it catches on it could change a lot of the broadcast network model.

Commercial skipping been around awhile, but even today, TV networks get most of their revenue through ads.

One way or another, that’ll change, says Susan Murray at New York University.

Susan Murray: There’s probably going to be a move toward more product placement, and alternate ways to view and incorporate advertising.

By the way, as the networks sued Dish, the satellite provider filed its own suit, arguing AutoHop’s legal.

I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...