June 1, 2012

DishTV versus the Old Guard

Dish Network unveiled a new DVR technology, called Auto Hop, on its Hopper DVR, that records programs and automatically strips the commercials out of them.  They also have a feature called Primetime Anytime that records the major networks primetime programming (all of them), strips the commercials and makes them available for 8 days from the initial air date.  That really sent the networks into a tizzy...

Dish is being sued by Fox, NBC, and CBS for this offering.  Unbeknownst to me, these networks also take issue with the sort of remote control that I have in my house - one with a button that skips forward in 30 second increments.  But that is old news, apparently.

IMHO, Dish is doing what a successful business must do to remain competitive - they are developing new ideas and innovative programs that appeal to their customers - meaning the home consumer customer.

The language of the lawsuit is what really torqued me.  The networks would have you believe that the law is broken each time a home consumer skips the commercials during a recorded show.   

Sports broadcasts aside, ninety percent of the television watched in our house is recorded or FiOS On Demand offerings.  Interestingly, some of our most frequently watched shows from the On Demand library don't include the commercial content. 

I admit to being one of those people who will record a show just to skip commercials.  I will start watching the recording 10-15 minutes after the show has started, and, after skipping commercials, finish the show at the same time as the broadcast.  Sue me.

On the rare occasion that the TV is just on, and my family is watching something, commercial breaks mean channel surfing, bathroom breaks, snack runs - or making fun of the stupid commercials.  Boom's favorite is the Cialis commercial that shows the couple in separate old-fashioned bath tubs.  Not much action in separate tubs, as she points out.  Lately the commercials are all political junk, which isn't helpful to anyone.

This isn't the 1950's - we are savvy consumers that aren't easily taken in just because something is advertised on television.  Perhaps the networks need to look at their business model.  Don't boohoo to me that advertising is the only way to finance your (crappy) programming.  We see the product placement.  We see the licensed products in the stores.  We know that actors are paid entirely too much money. 

Stop trying to suppress innovation and features that consumers want in the name of preserving an ancient business model.


connan said...

I totally agree that the Hopper does not kill advertising, but it gives customers like me a choice. I use the Hopper Auto Hop feature every chance I get. I hate fast forwarding too far past my programming, so this function is really convenient. I work for Dish and I can tell you that the Hopper is now being offered free to those customers who sign up with Dish.

Erik Russell said...

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 TVhttp://bit.ly/KFdn1Q