Advertising: a business model (still) under siege

By Brian Stelter
Published: May 16, 2012

… The disruptive technology at hand is an ad eraser, embedded in new digital video recorders sold by Charles W. Ergen’s Dish Network, one of the nation’s top distributors of TV programming. Turn it on, and all the ads recorded on most prime-time network shows are automatically skipped, no channel-flipping or fast-forwarding necessary.

Some reviewers have already called the feature, named Auto Hop, a dream come true for consumers. But for broadcasters and advertisers, it is an attack on an entrenched television business model, and it must be strangled, lest it spread. …

At least one of the network owners, News Corporation [which is the majority owner of the National Geographic Channel], is no longer accepting Dish’s new DVR ads on any of its television properties. It and several other owners are examining whether they can sue Dish, the same way they sued a maker of DVRs a decade ago, according to several people with knowledge of the deliberations, who insisted on anonymity to speak freely about the internal discussions. …

Read the whole thing here.

  • Elias


    Ever since I was a little kid I hated watching commercials. I
    remember sitting and watching Thundercats and every time they go to the best
    part; BOOM, commercial. Oh, it used to just kill me. That was why I got a DVR.
    I understand that if I watch live TV I have to watch commercials, and that’s
    fine. As a husband, father, and full-time employee at a Dish call-center, I
    don’t have much time for live TV anyway. Every single show I watch, besides The
    Daily Show, is recorded by PrimeTime Anytime; now with Auto Hop I can watch the
    shows and choose to have the commercials automatically skipped over. This is
    literally something I used to wish for as a kid, and, something as a parent I’m
    able to give my own children, who hate commercials just as much as I do. Our
    whole family loves it.

    • Elias – You are not alone. And while you may have a slight bias (working at a Dish call center), I have a hunch you’re also ahead of the curve. Time shifting, which used to be unusual, is now pretty standard, I think. In fact, whenever I see promos for shows saying “tune in tonight at 8pm,” I think: You must be kidding. … The only shows I bother to watch live are sporting events (every so often). Which is why Auto Hop might well be a killer app for Dish, and a threat to stations such as the National Geographic Channel, which has virtually nothing that can’t be easily time shifted. 

      Thanks for your comment… and for stopping by. 

      • Alfred Enewman


        I don’t
        understand why CBS, FOX, & NBC execs don’t want us to enjoy commercial-free
        TV. I’m a DISH employee – AutoHop is great because you can easily watch
        commercial-free TV. Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group, is taking a
        stand for consumers by creating a petition that tells CBS, FOX, & NBC media
        to keep their hands out of your living room & DVR. Sign their petition to
        keep control of how you watch TV

        • john cadell

           I can’t speak for those companies- but do you really not understand why they want you to watch the commercials?  Why doesn’t anyone understand someone has to pay for content?  Either subscriptions, advertising or both.  I swear we have one of the most entitled, lazy societies around.  If i buy my own satellite dish, can i get all of DISH’s channels for free – why should i pay for the services you offer?  Can I get a robot that removes ads out of magazines? 

      • John Caldell

         yes, 100% of the world has DVRs and we should ensure that we only focus on those that can afford 1 DVR much less a DVR on every TV.  Could you be more elitist – there’s a whole bright world, not everyone has a DVR, not everyone can skip.  I understand you can’t fight the technology, i’m not saying any of these guys are handling this well, but sorry, Alan – you need ads to help pay for this content.  Solutions are better than simply crying I don’t want to watch commercials.

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