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Dish AutoHop vs Networks Commercial Skipping Discussion


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#221 OFFLINE   Shades228

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 05:19 PM

Playback or skip that passes the beginning of a commercial break makes a giant hop to the end of the break. There is no stutter or slip ... just a jump.

I keep finding myself reaching for the remote to skip the commercials myself and thinking "OH, this thing skips for me". I still skip the bad parts of the programming (I don't care about "auditions that popped" - especially ones I have not seen yet).

I disagree. The complaint is focused on the end result ... no commercials on network TV during prime time if you wait until the next day. And DISH is advertising commercial free primetime as part of their Hopper ad series (on stations airing the spots).

Perhaps if there was a HOP button that users had to press during each break to "skip all" the industry would like it better. But the industry has been pushing for DISH and others to make commercials unskipable on their DVRs. DISH decided to go the other way.


I understand the end result is what they're caring about but the how is giving them the legal basis for the case.
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#222 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:08 PM

So you've seen the code and you're stating that it reaches a time in the file and then presses the skip button a pre determined amount, because all commercial length breaks are the same (they're not), and then it just resumes like normal?

The argument is going to be about HOW the end result happens not what is the end result.


I said, "in effect." That is, the argument that what Dish is doing is somehow something the end user could not do is silly. All that Dish's technology does is automate the process and make it more accurate - no skipping back necessary. And no, I never said that it is doing something predetermined - this is based on timestamps that Dish sends to the Hopper to allow it to hop.

I don't think any network cares how it happens. I think it is the end result (nobody seeing commercials) that they care about.

#223 OFFLINE   356B

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:13 PM

I don't think the media is going to be sympathetic to Dish, and why should they? Auto Hop is a threat, all media is keenly aware of the shrinking revenue stream. Auto hop is fouling another piece of the revenue that is already threatened by many but profoundly by streaming and ultimately the internet.
Even though the percentages Auto Hop affects seem small now, in reality the Networks know that if this is not stopped right here right now all TV programing could be at the whim of a PTAT, a Auto Hop or the next best manipulation to come along. Advertising is the fuel that runs the machine, if that dries up, even in a small area a new source must be found to maintain the status quo.
I suspect the Networks knew this was coming, but the Advertisers probably didn't. The advertisers have been putting the screws to the networks since this hit the street. If I was running the ad department at Apple, my line would be, get this fixed now or adjust my advertising rate considerably.
This could be a game changer, Dish has the populous now and knows it, but if subscription fees rise and or the fear of legal entanglement escalates, who knows.
This is akin to the insert ads in Newspapers, most people throw them away with out looking, but the advertiser knows they are there and readers at the very least handles them....the beauty of Auto Hop is, the ads go away with a click.
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#224 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:25 PM

I said, "in effect." That is, the argument that what Dish is doing is somehow something the end user could not do is silly. All that Dish's technology does is automate the process and make it more accurate - no skipping back necessary. And no, I never said that it is doing something predetermined - this is based on timestamps that Dish sends to the Hopper to allow it to hop.

I don't think any network cares how it happens. I think it is the end result (nobody seeing commercials) that they care about.


Agree.

Will this require that staff at Dish will have to hand code flags for commercials in some (or all) programs, or do such flags already exist by custom or fiat?
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#225 OFFLINE   Darcaine

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:36 PM

Okay, so ABC Family could run all the new ABC programs. USA could run all the new NBC programs. FX could run all the new Fox programs. I'm don't know what network would run all the CBS programs, but they could create one if they wanted. They don't. And their first-run series are usually pretty awful compared to broadcast television. They don't have to share their ad time with local channels. So why don't they run the good stuff and fill their broadcast networks with the crap? Why are most major sporting events still on broadcast television? What you seem to be saying is that the only reason these shows don't get the ratings is because they aren't timed for the different time zones (which means those Mountain Time Zone viewers are skewing the results, since they all re-air their programs 3 hours later, which means the same time zone coverage for ET, CT and PT.)

And while cable has had a few notable exceptions when it comes to a highly-rated show now and then, no station comes close to delivering the numbers 7 nights a week for three hours a night (two for Fox.) And it isn't because the networks couldn't run those programs on their pay channels - it is because they choose not to. And the reason is a simple and obvious one: money. Broadcast television is the king for money. It has the most potential viewers of any distribution system. By a lot.

If AMC was offering original programming 7 nights a week for 2-3 hours a night, I don't think there'd be any question about their being worth $0.70/subscriber. But they don't deliver that kind of value. How much satellite space do DirecTV and Dish devote to local channels? They don't have to carry them. They choose to because they know that most customers would choose cable over satellite because they have those precious few local channels. The rest of the lineup doesn't compare to those 5-6 channels.

Broadcast television is king.


True, but it's been leveling out for years. Cable is rising and Broadcast TV audiences are dropping.

Nowadays a show that gets 5 - 7 million viewers most nights of the week on broadcast TV, still has a shot of staying on the air. No way would a show like Fringe live for 5 seasons, with an average viewer rating of 3 - 4 million viewers on a major broadcast channel, 10 years ago.

Cable, and IPTV have also forced the Broadcast Networks to be more patient with shows, no more dropping a show after 3 episodes because it doesn't premiere to huge ratings.

So yeah, Broadcast is still king for now, but the days of it having a captive audience are over.

#226 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 08:09 AM

...All that Dish's technology does is automate the process and make it more accurate - no skipping back necessary...


Will this require that staff at Dish will have to hand code flags for commercials in some (or all) programs, or do such flags already exist by custom or fiat?


There are flags in the direct network feeds that allow the automatic substitution of local ads for certain network spots, but how they determine the start or end of the commercial break is not really the issue. The point is that Dish is adding some data to the DVR's information to allow truly accurate editing out of commercials.

it seems to me that a lot of the discussion is still missing a point made here earlier that in the business of broadcast entertainment (and this includes OTA and cable) the viewer is NOT the customer, that role belongs to the advertiser.

The entertainment content is simply bait, designed to attract the largest number of the most desirable viewers so we can be sold by the broadcaster to the advertiser. The viewer is no more the customer of the networks than cows are customers of a rancher.

Without commercials being seen by viewers the networks have nothing to sell. If this technology survives the legal challenges (which I'd give it slightly better than 50/50 odds of so doing) it will ultimately mean the end of broadcast television as we know it. There will be a vast reduction in the number of channels and those channels that remain will be subscription only (think HBO).

Is that a "better" model than we have now? Maybe, but it sure is different.

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#227 OFFLINE   TBoneit

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 09:08 AM

I suspect that the hopper is using the signals the networks send. The cure is don't send them. Use an alternative method that would require dish to recreate them manually for every show.
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#228 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 09:33 AM

I suspect that the hopper is using the signals the networks send. The cure is don't send them. Use an alternative method that would require dish to recreate them manually for every show.


Titan says Dish is already adding something. It would not surprise me if they're already doing it manually. Possibly one reason to not make it available until a day later.
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#229 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:40 PM

How many times must it be said?!? Dish does not erase the commercials. In effect, Dish presses the 30-second skip button at the right moment the proper number of times to skip over ads instantly, nothing more. And the viewer must choose to skip them each time they watch a program, so the feature is not automatic. Granted, it is one button press rather than many, but nothing is being altered outside of the user's control.


Let me state in a different way... If you don't have to actively make the unit skip the commercials, then dish is erasing them from your viewing stream. And pressing one button at the beginning of a show is not making you actively skip commercials as they appear.

#230 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:49 PM

Would not be surprised if dish had their lawsuit ready to go before they even announced this feature public ally. I also wouldn't be surprised if Charlie was trying to win this first with only the locals being affected, and then if they win in Charlie's eyes, they will launch this for all channels.

Frankly, I think this is going to cost dish big time in the end, one way or the other. I see this ending somewhere between massive fee hikes to keep channels at best, or loss of so may channels they go out of business. And that's if they win their lawsuits, which I don't see happening.

#231 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 02:16 PM

it seems to me that a lot of the discussion is still missing a point made here earlier that in the business of broadcast entertainment (and this includes OTA and cable) the viewer is NOT the customer, that role belongs to the advertiser.

The entertainment content is simply bait, designed to attract the largest number of the most desirable viewers so we can be sold by the broadcaster to the advertiser. The viewer is no more the customer of the networks than cows are customers of a rancher.

Yes but....

According to prime time ratings over two-thirds of the viewers are just deer stealing the feed from the rancher and should be shot. As a percentage of live+same day viewers, the cows - those in the 18-49 demo - are getting through breaks in the fence in droves.

Without commercials being seen by viewers the networks have nothing to sell. If this technology survives the legal challenges (which I'd give it slightly better than 50/50 odds of so doing) it will ultimately mean the end of broadcast television as we know it. There will be a vast reduction in the number of channels and those channels that remain will be subscription only (think HBO).

Is that a "better" model than we have now? Maybe, but it sure is different.

As part of the deer population rather than the herd of cows, it's fine with me because of retransmission fees.

Let's backup a bit here.

My perspective on Auto Hop is that when and if I get it, I'll be finally be trading the free federally-licensed advertising-supported network-affiliated broadcast channels I was entitled to watch for free in 1958 to subscription-based advertising-free channels I'm already not allowed to watch for free.

The 1958 broadcast TV economic model was built around a 3-hour (4 hours on Sunday) prime-time (8-11 pm) schedule totaling 22 hours a week primarily based upon three networks - ABC, CBS, and NBC. This economic model was to be solely financed by selling advertising. There were an estimated 43,950,000 TV households. Just 30 years later, when there were an estimated 90,400,000 TV households, Fox started to be a serious competitor, but even today only offers its affiliates 15-hours of prime time programming, having "cherry-picked" the two highest rated hours 8-10 pm.

HBO created the premium subscription based model in the 1970's. It and all its direct competition are still subscription based.

Then there are the cable channels. In 2002 the cable channel USA brought us "Monk". In 2005 TNT brought us "The Closer". In less than 10 years a few advertising+subscription-based cable channels have become successful scripted-and-reality content competitors and a sources.

In the past decade, the broadcast affiliate channels, losing all those "cows" while retaining us "deer", decided to use their federally protected status to become advertising+subscription-based (see various retransmission dispute threads). Watching this, the networks decided to use their affiliates to become advertising+subscription-based like their cable channels, not like HBO.

The problem here is that many of us deer including Charlie Ergen still remember and we're irked. The affiliates' got their federally protected status by agreeing to broadcast free to anyone within their viewing area who could afford a TV antenna. CATV started as simply a "group antenna" and, as far as I'm concerned, over the years the cable and satellite systems developed as simply a substitute for an antenna that I can hire. About 90% of Americans have decided to hire these substitutes for antennas.

Taking advantage of that, the affiliates got Congress and the FCC to bless exclusive DMA's which in my DMA's case covers hundreds of square miles of area in which the residents could never receive a TV signal from the stations involved using an antenna. Now, using that federal protection, the affiliate stations and their networks got Congress and the FCC to let them charge 90% of Americans for the right to watch TV. I can't decide to watch only cable and premium channels without paying for local broadcast channels.

This Dish v Networks is interesting because Dish's Auto Hop affects four local channels in the various DMA's across the nation. No national cable channels are affected.

Hence my attitude is that when and if I get Auto Hop, I'll be finally be trading the free federally-licensed advertising-supported network-affiliated broadcast channels I was entitled to watch for free in 1958 to subscription-based advertising-free channels I'm already not allowed to watch for free.

Sure, Congress can tell me I have to use my finger to push a button hundreds of times a week to skip commercials. But since I don't count towards advertising revenue because of age discrimination that would be illegal in any other federal law context ... why?????

Edited by phrelin, 26 May 2012 - 02:22 PM.

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#232 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 02:49 PM

I don't know why some people fail to get an important point.

People think because "I pay for TV" that you are paying for all the costs... but you aren't.

I hear people say "I pay my medical bills, I have insurance"... and it is a clear failure to understand that because you are paying all that you are asked to pay doesn't mean you are paying all of the costs!

If you have medical insurance, then the Insurance is paying your actual medical bills... which cost a lot more... you are merely paying what you are asked to pay in terms of premium, co-pay, and deductibles... but the total cost of your medical bills are paid from the pool of money collected from ALL the other people who have that same insurance.

That's how insurance works! And I see way too many people who don't get that.

So... that is relevant here, because?

Because it's the same argument when someone says "I pay Dish for my TV so I shouldn't see commercials"...

You aren't paying for the whole cost of the content. You are paying part of the cost... you are definitely paying Dish their chunk that they want as a profitable company... and then the part that goes to the network is a small part of their total costs.

The network keeps the cost to you lower by selling ads!

Think of magazines... You might have paid $5.95 for a printed magazine with ads... That $5.95 barely pays the costs of printing the magazine and distributing it... it doesn't pay the staff, the writers, the photographers, etc... The advertising pays those bills!

In order for you to get that magazine every week... they need far more than the $5.95 per issue to make that happen... but they can bring it to you for $5.95 because they are selling ads!

Your TV costs as little as it does because of the networks selling ads. Anything that undermines their ability to sell those ads ultimately means either:

1. More cost to the consumer in raising the rates of the channel to the viewer.

OR

2. Loss of the channel and content because it can't sustain.

And people think their favorite shows get canceled now... just wait until commercials go away and there are only a small number of channels that can survive... then you'll see how you don't even get your favorite shows in the first place because there is no room for them on the few remaining channels.

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#233 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 03:41 PM

I don't know why some people fail to get an important point.

People think because "I pay for TV" that you are paying for all the costs... but you aren't.

Let me restate my basic point.
  • From the beginning, we subscribers paid differing amounts for cable channel packages for Disney, NBCU, Time Warner, etc. cable TV channels with advertising, as a "buy-in" to multiple channel cable TV: we never thought I was paying all the costs.
  • From the beginning, we subscribers paid a premium for HBO (and other premiums) for TV content without advertising; we understood we were paying all the costs.
  • From the beginning until recently, without payment we viewers watched federally-licensed-to-use-the-public's-airwaves broadcast TV stations; the deal was they got a license, they sold advertising, and we watched for free.
Without our consent or approval or even serious public debate, for 90% of us the corporations involved in #3 above converted to a pay TV cable channel model (#1 above) - subscription-plus-advertising - by leveraging those federal license we gave them.

Auto Hop simply says "Hey, you want to be subscription-based while having a federal license, that's ok but you don't get the advertising revenue that was part of our original agreement."

The critical question is "where in the 21st Century home entertainment business do local broadcast channels fit?" My answer begins with "without any national affiliation."

That then could lead to the second question "where in the 21st Century home entertainment business do the huge media companies that have federally licensed and protected affiliates and O&O channels fit?" My answer begins with "(a) on cable TV, (B) maybe the internet - that's their choice, and © perhaps through free-to-everyone advertising-supported government-licensed-and-protected broadcast TV. If you don't want to take the no-subscriber-fee '©' choice and your affiliates fold, we'll sell to others the license for the frequencies."

Home entertainment content will continue to get produced.

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#234 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 04:37 PM

Without our consent or approval or even serious public debate, for 90% of us the corporations involved in #3 above converted to a pay TV cable channel model (#1 above) - subscription-plus-advertising - by leveraging those federal license we gave them.


Not sure where you are going with this... but the OTA broadcast model is still the same and is still available for free OTA for anyone that can get it whether cable or satellite ever existed.

You can put up an antenna and get OTA for free just like always... Also just like always, there were some people in areas where it was hard to receive OTA even with a high/big antenna. Nothing has changed in that regard, has it?

In the old pre-cable days... IF you were outside of the range of OTA you were completely out of luck.

In the cable/satellite world you can get those OTA stations for a nominal retransmission fee via cable/satellite if you are outside range of antenna OR choose not to put up your own antenna for those free broadcasts.

You and I both know that LiLs is a big part of Dish and DirecTV business. How often did we hear "does Dish/DirecTV have my locals" until most markets were covered? How often do we now hear that same question but asking about HD versions?

People want their local channels... and are willing to pay a nominal retransmission fee to get them. That seems fair to me.

The forum has lit up every time a LiL is up for carriage negotiations and might be dropped and people threaten to leave if they can't get their LiL... that seems to say they are important to people.

Home entertainment content will continue to get produced.


Only if there is funding for it. Take away commercials and the only source of revenue is subscription fees... so take away commercials and expect those subscription fees to rise sharply. It isn't rocket science.

IF you want to pay $15-$20 for ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX like you do for HBO and other non-commercially funded channels... then you are on the right track.

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#235 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 05:35 PM

Only if there is funding for it. Take away commercials and the only source of revenue is subscription fees... so take away commercials and expect those subscription fees to rise sharply. It isn't rocket science.

IF you want to pay $15-$20 for ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX like you do for HBO and other non-commercially funded channels... then you are on the right track.

I already pay $15-$20 for the Disney/ESPN/ABC block of channels including ABC but have to put up with ads. I think I'm paying somewhat less for the NBCU block and the Fox block, but it's tough to get an honest answer. I guess I pay about $15 to CBS because I pay $13 for Showtime, the latter being ad free.

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#236 OFFLINE   Mike Bertelson

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 05:57 PM

I wonder where those of us who can't get locals OTA fit into any of the "models". I think auto-skipping commercials is bad for the consumer regardless of what we consider the viewing habits/models are.

IMHO, we'll pay more for service. It's bad for the consumer.

My 2¢ FWIW.

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#237 OFFLINE   puckwithahalo

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 06:10 PM

In the cable/satellite world you can get those OTA stations for a nominal retransmission fee via cable/satellite if you are outside range of antenna OR choose not to put up your own antenna for those free broadcasts.


I'd be interested to see how much money the networks make in retransmission fees vs how much they'd lose from advertising revenue because of people skipping the commercials. I think for a long time they've been sort of double-dipping, getting paid for retransmission and getting additional add revenue for the added viewers retransmission gives them. I don't feel so bad about the traditional cable tv channels like USA doing this as they don't get all the benefits the broadcast networks do from the government, which they get because they are supposed to be free to the consumer.
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#238 OFFLINE   tampa8

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 06:11 PM

Maybe some posters here don't quite get what Dish has accomplished? The most important thing is how they are doing it. It has nothing, I will repeat, nothing to do with the commercials themselves. Dish is looking at the CC info, and it can be determined from that when the program starts and starts. What happens in-between is skipped, not erased. If it was erased you wouldn't be able to go back and watch the commercials if you wanted to, and you can do that. The Networks are particularly mad I bet because changing the coding for CC would be near impossible without changing everyone's equipment they already have.

Further, if after the show stops, instead of a commercial the network does a news update, something CBS used to do, that would be skipped also as I understand it. So it can be said it is not directed at just commercials. To those that think this is not going to be legal, then you are saying pushing a button once to tell the system for that program to skip the space in between, is illegal, but pushing twice or three times to tell the system the same thing is ok?

Perhaps the Networks can find something else to argue on, but I don't think it will be that this is any different in a material way than what happens now or how Dish is doing it.

Finally read this:
http://arstechnica.c...wont-hear-case/

Read the wording, sure seems to me Dish used this when they decided how to implement it. Also shows the Networks do not always win.

Edited by tampa8, 26 May 2012 - 06:25 PM.


#239 OFFLINE   356B

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 07:18 PM

How about one of those unscientific Polls?
Do you like Auto hop or not....yes or no, no commentary.
If the Networks are monitoring pubic opinion at all a poll would be very simple for them....:rolleyes:
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#240 OFFLINE   Shades228

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 07:30 PM

How about one of those unscientific Polls?
Do you like Auto hop or not....yes or no, no commentary.
If the Networks are monitoring pubic opinion at all a poll would be very simple for them....:rolleyes:



Because it would be a worthless poll for data. Most people would vote no because they don't have a Hopper. I also wonder why you think public opinion would matter. Commercials are unpopular which hasn't changed since they were invented you might as well ask if they like rate hikes as well.
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