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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 17, 2012

Ad-Skipping Technology Infuriates TV Producers

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

“How does Charles Ergen expect me to produce ‘CSI’ (News - Alert) without commercials?” an exasperated Leslie Moonves, CEO at CBS, asks The New York Times.

Moonves is directing her frustration at Dish Network, whose latest DVR feature, Auto Hop, is an ad-eraser that allows viewers to skip commercials without fast-forward.

Companies that have attempted this in the past have faced severe consequences, but as it now stands, Dish Network has no intentions of backing down.

Dish's DVR hub is called the Hopper, and it has been received by consumers with rave reviews. Many predict Dish is heading in the right direction for the ideal future of TV. Of course, not everybody is as enthusiastic about the latest ad-skipping features, namely ABC, NBC, FOX and advertisers that rely on television as a primary source of revenue.

The move is pretty brazen for Dish Network, a company that once established a sound rapport with TV producers. After acquiescing Blockbuster, Dish also secured ties with major movie studios as well.

“The fact that Dish would be willing to anger some of its most important content partners just goes to show how desperate these times we live in really are,” said James McQuivey of Forrester Research (News - Alert). “If Dish doesn’t play nice, Dish will find it impossible to renew those deals when they’re up.”

As reports indicate, commercial-skipping technology is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around for ten years. But every company that has attempted to incorporate ad-skipping features into their services has failed.

ReplayTV’s efforts resulted in the over demise of the company, after suffering legal fines and bankruptcy.

Dish Network has been closely watched in the past couple of years over the potential spectrum they could receive, pending the approval of the FCC (News - Alert). While the company continues to wait on this decision, they have embarked on revamping their television services by innovating hubs like the Hopper.

As far as meeting customer demands, surely no one would complain over bypassing commercials.

Edited by Braden Becker

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