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Dish AutoHop vs Networks Commercial Skipping Discussion


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#21 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 03:09 PM

Commercial advertisers have delivered "free" television programming to American viewers since the beginnings of tv. The phrase "brought to you by..." or "sponsored by..." has real significance to tv advertisers. They bring "free" tv to your living room, in return, you watch their commercials -- at least, that's the model, the way it's supposed to work...the price we pay for free tv. Subverting the free tv model by skipping commercials is like going sneaking into a movie theater or walking into a retail store, ripping the price tags off the merchandise and walking out with the goods without paying.

Either way, it's stealing.

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#22 OFFLINE   356B

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 03:43 PM

So let me get this straight....you really believe the Networks had no idea this was coming or what Dish was up to?
Thank you and
Best of luck

#23 OFFLINE   bigdog9586

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 03:59 PM

I had a Panasonic VCR a good 15 years ago that had the skip feature. Didn't work EVERYTIME but most of the time.

#24 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 04:11 PM

Auto Hop, however, means it jumps directly across the entire commercial break automatically without user intervention or potential exposure to commercials at all... and all you have to do is enable the feature once and you're done.

AutoHOP is not once and done. The customer makes the choice every time they start playback of an AutoHOP program ... including replays of the same program on the same Hopper/Joey.

It is easy to say yes ... but it is a decision presented every time the show plays.


Illegal or not... I could see it being a bone of contention with networks.

It certainly will be a topic at contract renewal for retransmission.

... but if the USPS allowed an automatic "junk" filter to have the postman trash my junk mail for me before I have a chance to see it, then there would be a problem...

The Direct Marketing Association allows people to opt out of commercials: https://www.dmachoice.org/ At least they give the option.

A better example might be say DBSTalk selling ad space on the Web... people see and click ads and it helps those advertisers so they keep paying DBSTalk for ad placement... Now, there is ad-blocker software out there... but DBSTalk isn't selling or promoting it. Imagine if one hand of DBSTalk was saying "pay us for ad space" while the other hand of DBSTalk was saying "here, use ad blocker to block all the ads on our site"... do you think DBSTalk would be getting a lot of advertisers willing to pay for placement after that?

The trouble is DISH is paying broadcasters for their channels ... local broadcasters are not paying DISH for carriage - local stations are specifically prohibited by law from paying for cable or satellite carriage.

The ad example doesn't work, as site like ours are paid by those advertisers and any attempt to block ads immediately hurts the site. (I am not involved with advertising at this site - but in general, sites with advertising are paid for impressions and or click throughs. If an ad is not displayed there is simply no payment ... if no one clicks on an ad there are no click through payments. The penalty for not showing the ads is built in to the deal.)

If DBSTalk had an integrated content service ... some company that was paid for their presence of the site (which we don't) and then we allowed our users to choose to watch the integrated content with or without that company's commercials that company might get ticked. But there is no such company.

#25 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:08 AM

Much to my surprise, The Hollywood Reporter on Monday published an article How the TV Industry Blew Its Best Chance to Kill Dish's Ad-Skipping Technology. It's worth reading the whole article, but here's some highlights. The ReplayTV suit was never resolved because Sonicblue declared bankruptcy. There was never any substantial judicial determination about the merits of the case. According to the article:

...The biggest question at the time was a service provider's vicarious responsibility for its users. In the Supreme Court's Grokster ruling, it was affirmed that there was responsibility, but then broadcasters sued Cablevision over a remote-storage DVR system, and the 2nd Circuit found that the system was "akin" to the VCR and that Cablevision's system was only acting at the best of its users.

...Michael Elkin, a partner at Winston & Strawn, currently defending Aereo against claims made by broadcasters, believes the Cablevision case "validated the DVR functionality" and also gives another reason why a potential Auto Hop lawsuit is more likely to resemble Cablevision than ReplayTV. "Here, Dish is a licensee of the major television broadcasting companies and intends as I understand to limit the commercial-skipping device to discrete TV programs just on the major networks," he says.

In other words, Dish has a licensing agreement over programming, and the threshold question will be whether the company has breached the agreement.

This article and other articles note that taking on Charlie Ergen in court is not anywhere near the walk in the park the ReplayTV lawsuit represented.

It is true, of course, that at some point they could refuse to renew retransmission agreements with Dish. But it isn't as simple as it sounds.

The network that would most likely be a critical player in a lawsuit, Fox, just signed a retransmission agreement which even gives Dish subscribers early access to on line content. It won't expire for a number of years. So missing from the mix will be Rupert Murdoch, the only true worthy opponent for Charlie.

NBCU has a very big problem since it is 51% owned by and completely controlled by Comcast, one of Dish's biggest competitors. What are they going to argue? Well, yeah, our DVR does allow manual skipping. But this one makes it more convenient than our box to skip limited programming on one of our many channels.

CBS can't afford to lose Dish customers, most of whom don't use Hoppers anyway.

And whether the folks over in the Disney executive suites realize this or not, Dish would seriously consider dumping Disney/ESPN/ABC altogether, allowing them to knock at least $13/mo off the price of all packages. That's the kind of number that gets the favorable attention of subscribers and unfavorable attention of Congress.

It's always interesting to watch Charlie's machinations. The Hopper as a problem represents...
  • a small percentage of Dish customers watching...
  • non-live content...
  • recorded during a few hours out of the day...
  • from just 4 local broadcast network channels among the hundreds of channels available.
And think how long it took to resolve the Tivo case....

But it is a fundamental challenge to the 1958 broadcast network TV channel model, which has outlived its usefulness.

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#26 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 05:00 AM

Either way, it's stealing.


Is it? Then I've been stealing since 1984 when I started time shifting with a VCR. But I don't think it is stealing, any more than it is stealing to ignore the advertisements in the newspaper or magazine. Tell me, do you read them all, word-for-word, every day or month those print editions show up on your doorstep? In my view, television ads are there for me to watch if I want to, not something that I am obligated to watch.

#27 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 05:38 AM

And think how long it took to resolve the Tivo case....

The broadcasters are a little more powerful than Tivo ... or at least they were. Probably a better direct comparison is the broadcaster's suit against DISH in the Distants case.

If one were to use the Tivo case my first question would be "who won?". Other than the lawyers, Tivo ended up with some money, DISH removed Tivo technology once it was deemed infringing (please put it back) and other than DVR performance issues and people who follow the industry, customers didn't notice.

The Distants case led to new federal law ALLOWING what DISH and DirecTV wanted to do ... a victory for satellite broadcasters. DISH's eventual loss came from not following the new federal law and allowing customers to receive distants who were not qualified. Even that has been repaired through additional changes in federal law.

It will be a long drawn out battle ... but I do not expect it to be solved in the courts. I expect it to be solved at the negotiating table when retransmission consent is renewed for each local station. Stations demanding that AutoHOP be disabled on their station as a term of carriage.

Broadcasters have already proven that they don't care about satellite viewers ... and they are willing to sacrifice the viewership during contract disputes. They assume that their viewers want the local channel more than they want satellite - and in some ways that is true. But it needs to be more of a partnership.

Perhaps a local non-skipable ad at the beginning of the program could "pay" for the use of AutoHOP on each channel? "This AutoHOP program is brought to you with limited commercial interruptions by ... local sponsor." Or a national sponsor with the "per impression" money going to the local station.

Something will be worked out.

#28 OFFLINE   356B

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:15 AM

I believe the issue is, is it worth the money and effort to take on a lengthly legal war over a negligible position? Clearly it is not, but that is no guarantee that it won't happen. My wife is affiliated with Media News which owns her local newspaper, there's a saying in the newsroom when a suit is threaten by a pissed off politician or local....go ahead... we have lawyers sitting around waiting for the phone to ring....!
Posturing... Auto Hop is to big to fail....
Thank you and
Best of luck

#29 OFFLINE   Cable Lover

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 05:47 AM

http://www.nytimes.c...ronts.html?_r=1


I think it's the coolest thing yet, but NBC, CBS and the other's disagree.
RIP Insight.

#30 OFFLINE   Cable Lover

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 05:48 AM

So they are closing ranks to try to stop it. At least one of the network owners, News Corporation, 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
RIP Insight.

#31 OFFLINE   TheRatPatrol

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 07:03 AM

I wonder if this will be the beginning of the end of skipping commercials?

I bet the networks will require it be stopped altogether, or will start charging a monthly fee to skip them. Its going to get interesting.

#32 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 07:17 AM

I fully admit I don't have a Hopper, but this is something that potentially affects all of us.

My main thing is that those using the Hopper and skipping the commercials generally were anyway. Same thing with a lot of other Dish and DirecTV customers either by fast forwarding or using a 30 second skip.

If the networks end up putting contrived ads into programming with awkward dialog (like Fox did on Bones), it will drive viewers nuts.

#33 OFFLINE   shuye

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 07:20 AM

They should go to a price model like many of the apps - if the customer wants it free, they get commercials. If they don't want commercials, then they pay a monthly subscription. I'd gladly pay $1 per month per network channel to have no commercials and just fill in the "dead" time with a local news or weather update

#34 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 07:27 AM

They should go to a price model like many of the apps - if the customer wants it free, they get commercials. If they don't want commercials, then they pay a monthly subscription.


That is the problem. We already DO pay a monthly subscription, and STILL get commercials.

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#35 OFFLINE   Cable Lover

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 07:39 AM

If the networks end up putting contrived ads into programming with awkward dialog (like Fox did on Bones), it will drive viewers nuts.



HOUSE has become bad about that as well. This season I've seen many Ford ads worked into the show.
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#36 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:10 AM

I'd gladly pay $1 per month per network channel to have no commercials and just fill in the "dead" time with a local news or weather update


Not me. The networks rake in enough already.
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#37 OFFLINE   TheRatPatrol

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:42 AM

They should go to a price model like many of the apps - if the customer wants it free, they get commercials. If they don't want commercials, then they pay a monthly subscription. I'd gladly pay $1 per month per network channel to have no commercials and just fill in the "dead" time with a local news or weather update

And if the cable networks get in on this as well you'll still pay $1.00 per channel? I don't think so.

#38 OFFLINE   zer0cool

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:54 AM

That you can't use the feature until AFTER the show airs, which means if you are watching, you are watching some kind of recording, be it DVR or Video tape (ugh). Who doesn't skip the commercials on their recorded programming?

Now, granted when using the standard skip buttons, I occasionally see part of an ad that makes me rewind and watch the whole thing, but not very often.

#39 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:55 AM

There is a discussion thread about this subject over in the Hopper Forum area Auto Hop versus broadcast TV lawsuit an early topic at the Upfronts.

Perhaps a moderator could combine them.

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#40 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:40 AM

That is the problem. We already DO pay a monthly subscription, and STILL get commercials.


Exactly.

The locals can produce all the commercials they want. [ no one is fighting that] and by the way, [ for the huge sums of money spent on advertising] has anyone seen at least a "clever" commercial lately? 99.9% of them are incredibly stupid.

Why do we have to be force-fed them? Especially at obnoxiously higher decibel levels? The tv industry is still dragging their feet on that one.

I don't even have a hopper, but I hope Dish doesn't cave.




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