Another Court Won't Block Dish's AutoHopper; TV Networks Plan To Shoot Selves In Foot In Response

from the and-off-we-go dept

Last year, DISH won a nearly complete victory against Fox and NBC in California over the legality of DISH's AutoHopper feature, which skips over commercials with shows that the DVR offering records. However, there were two separate lawsuits on this issue: that one in California, and another one involving CBS and ABC in New York... and that court has basically ruled the same way, refusing to grant the networks an injunction to block the DISH product. The full ruling is under seal (most likely to redact certain parts) and will be released with redactions sometime soon (next week, I think).

As the link above notes, the court did say that CBS could try to unwind its retransmission agreement with DISH, arguing that DISH misled the company when they were working on that agreement. It also notes that ABC's carriage agreement with DISH expires at the end of this month, and that "negotiations [are] not going well, with a possible blackout happening soon." In other words, the networks are likely about to shoot themselves (and the public) in the foot by pulling their channels from DISH in a petulant act of self-harm, because they're upset that DISH is innovating and offering the public what they want in a manner that the networks won't do.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 18th, 2013 @ 11:17pm

    Cutting off your nose to spite your neighbor

    So the networks are mad at Dish because they offer a device/service that allows people to potentially skip commercials, so they threaten to pull their channels altogether, which will completely eliminate their commercials...

    I get the feeling their lawyers/execs may not have thought that one through completely.

     

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      PRMan, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 9:40am

      Re: Cutting off your nose to spite your neighbor

      "10% of our users are skipping commercials! Let's pull our channels for 2 months during the prime viewing season! That'll show 'em!"

       

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      Bergman (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 11:05pm

      Re: Cutting off your nose to spite your neighbor

      Exactly. Their business model can literally be summed up as number of eyeballs per broadcast advertisement. They aren't in business to sell TV shows, they sell advertising slots.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2013 @ 11:49pm

    I remember using a commercial skipping feature on my VCR back in the 80's. It's called the Fast Forward button.

     

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 1:07am

      Re:

      I remember using a commercial skipping feature on my VCR back in the 80's. It's called the Fast Forward button.
      I remember using a commercial skipping feature back in the 70's. It's called walking out of the room to take a leak or make a cup of tea :-)

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 4:13am

        Re: Re:

        Taking leaks during commercials is against our TOS you are now banned from watching the ABC network!

        Ned A. Cluae Esq.
        ABC Legal Team

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 5:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          which network said it, in the early 2000's, that NOT watching commercials was a violation of their TOS? and they were preparing to take the few who didn't watch commercials to court.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 6:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes, of course ... when you use the bathroom during commercial break you are guilty of theft ... stealing tv. Prepare to be arrested.

             

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            PRMan, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 9:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I believe it was an ABC exec...

             

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            CK20XX, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Was it this guy?

            "Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming... I guess there's a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom."
            Jamie Kellner, Former CEO of Turner Broadcasting

             

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              Sheogorath (profile), Sep 22nd, 2013 @ 6:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis.
              Seems like Dish may have a new market amongst satellite and cable viewers. After all, they've already paid their subscription fees, so they shouldn't have to watch the nine minute long ad breaks!

               

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          Michael, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 8:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It won't be long before your XBox notices you getting up to take a leak and pauses the commercial until you return.

           

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      JBDragon (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      My VCR actually had a Automatic Commercial Skip feature built in. After it finished recording, it would then rewind and go back though marking where the commercials started and ended, so when you went back to play, it would on it's own FF though commercials. It wasn't 100% perfect, but it worked pretty good.

       

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    Anon E. Mous (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 12:17am

    The networks like CBS,NBC,ABC,TBS etc are the reason people don't like commercials and want's a skip feature. How many times have you been watching a show or movie and there are several commercials every 5 minutes?

    It is the reason why companies like DISH'S commercial skip option are appealing to people. Yes some people like commercials but not everyone. We all get that this is how the networks make money is by there commercials and they sell that on how many people they reach.

    But there are just as many that when a commercial comes on will get up and go to the can, or go let the dog out or actually stop and listen to what the wife is saying.

    So how many really watch the commercials? How many of us have seen the commercials so many times we can recite them off by heart.

    Maybe I don't want to learn to drive a 18 wheeler, or listen to the Vince the slap chop guy say "look at my nuts", or want to buy Ron Popiels knife set and get all the other shit that comes with it.

    Maybe I don't want to watch that Pharmaceutical ad that spends the first 15 seconds telling me how great this pill is and spends the next 45 seconds telling me all the shit that's going to occur if it's side effects kick my ass from taking it.

    The networks is concerned about DISH customers missing their commercials, they are more worried about the precedent that might occur if the t.v manufacturers and set top manufacturers start to bring equipment in the likes of what DISH is going to do, but on a different scale to the rest of the consumers who don't care much for commercials.

    Then they have a problem on their hands, this was more of a preemptive strike to keep this from occurring. You can bet your ass that if some manufacturer decides to do this for T.V.'s or a set top box that the Networks will be howling at the moon to get the courts and government to stop it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 3:17am

      Re:

      ...Why do the networks need to learn to drive an 18-wheeler, when they cant' even drive a network properly, which has no wheels?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 6:20am

      Re:

      Not to mention these days a lot of commercials tend to be made to annoy you to get you to remember them and buy the product. And then political ads, they're vomit inducing often if you don't agree with the political party airing it.

      I remember those stupid Ranch dressing commercials they used to air. I will NEVER buy Ranch dressing EVER because of those annoying as hell commercials they aired, even if I find out that their stuff makes every food taste 100 times better.

       

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      fedupviewer, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 6:25am

      Re: commercials

      And no one has mentioned the 2 biggest annoyances ever:
      1. the Geicko lizard from hell and the progressive lady. HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO SEE THEM IN AN HOUR! I recite them in my sleep
      2. the sound phenomenon that started about 10 years ago: we all know it, you're watching a show on normal volume but cant hear a thing so you have to up the volume to about blaster level to hear dialogue. Then, BAM, its commercial time and the sound BLOWS YOU OUT OF YOUR SEAT. I heard the FCC courts actually ruled this practice unfair and told the networks they had to stop it. But they havent (CBS are you listening!!) I put my volume on mute as soon as commercials come on, of course nothing can help actually watching a show and hearing whats being said; my volume only goes up to 40 and dialogue is still subdued. And no I am not elderly or hearing impaired at all; actually my hearing is great.

       

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 12:22am

    Dish should sign up with Aero and make the networks explode.

    Maybe its time to stop pretending that advertising is such a viable income stream. Sending content people don't want to pad the shows out 8 minutes.

    If only there was this system where people could purchase content without advertising and it would allow them to have control over the where and when they can watch... maybe some of them would stop doing it for free.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 1:11am

    If only there was this system where people could purchase content without advertising and it would allow them to have control over the where and when they can watch... maybe some of them would stop doing it for free.
    What??? Offer people a service they want????? That's just crazy-talk, man! No-one would ever pay for that!!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 3:46am

      Re:

      People dont want what they are asking for. The networks knows that there is a huge difference between what they ask for and what they need. Customers needs to be spanked by commercials every 5 minutes to enjoy a show. if only customers realized that...

       

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    any moose cow word, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 2:15am

    If commercial ad revenue is what pays for network TV shows, and the ads are broadcast to cable and satellite viewers, then why do these service providers have to pay a retransmission fee? It sounds like either the networks are double dipping by taking from both the advertisers and the service providers, or the advertisers are getting a free ride by not paying for the non-broadcast viewers. Either way, if the service providers have to directly subsidize the network programing they rebroadcast, the fee should give them the license to drop the commercials.

     

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    Wolfy, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 3:16am

    Ever since the laws regarding truth in advertising were quietly allowed to slip into disregard, the content and quality of commercials on US television has slid into the toilet.

    If they are not insulting your intelligence, they're lying to you to sell you a product that's likely bad for you.

    An unexpected benefit of becoming angry enough to "cut the cable" was total freedom from political ads... which are the worst offenders when it comes to both categories.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 5:03am

    average_joe just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

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    Bengie, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 5:21am

    Off my lawn

    When I was young, I watched commercials because they were short and I may have missed part of the show I was watching.

    Now I skip commercials because I'm watching 2-3 shows at the same time. One commercials kicks in for show A, change channel to show B and commercial is ending, show B's commercials kick in, change to show C, show C's commercials end, change back to show A to see commercials ending.

    Eventually I stopped watching TV.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 5:55am

      Re: Off my lawn

      ADD much?

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 1:46pm

      Re: Off my lawn

      Me too, except for the channel surfing.

      Commercials are what pushed me most of the way to not watching TV anymore. What pushed me the rest of the way was a combination of those commercial graphical overlays during the show and product placement.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 5:53am

    so, as per usual, entertainment industries greed is taking over. rather than trying to compete for a market share, they want to get competition removed totally by the courts.

    i cannot understand why there appears to be not one single court or politician that can see what these industries are up to! how much progress are they going to be allowed to inhibit or get banned before they are stopped? does no one have the foresight to realise how far we have been held back and how much revenue has been lost? any statement about the money earned for the economy by Hollywood etc is complete bullshit and they know it!!

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 12:28pm

      Re:

      i cannot understand why there appears to be not one single court or politician that can see what these industries are up to


      What makes you think that they don't understand this? I think that they totally understand what they're being bribed to do.

       

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    AndyD273 (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 5:59am

    As a dish subscriber, it would be weird to have to find alternate means of watching the programming over the internet for broadcast television channels...

    We just have a normal DVR instead of a Hopper (Hopper rental cost was higher) but the skip forward 30 seconds button works pretty good.

    We were cord cutters for a few years. Worse comes to worst, I still have the antenna, and I know how to use it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 6:19am

      Re:

      And OTA usually results in better resolution.

       

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      art guerrilla (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      1. commercials generally suck, i don't want to watch them if i have a choice (which is why i get pissed off being forced to watch TEEVEE commercials (nevermind the dozen movie trailers) at the movies I PAY YOU A BUNCH OF MONEY TO WATCH... FUCK YOU VERY MUCH mpaa douches...

      2. having said that, the infrequent 5-10 second commercials on hulu are pretty much endurable; i would PREFER to have NO commercials, but theirs are not excessively intrusive...

      3. LOVE that i can watch the daily show/colbert report (etc) the next day in about half the time it would take watching it live...

      4. OTA antenna works great, roku is pretty cool, but cord-cutting lasted only about a month before SWMBO was jonesing for some football not available elsewhere...

      so, -MUCH to my chagrin (at minimum)- we are back in the thrall of Big Media: she ordered a reduced dish package from what we had, and it is on month-to-month so we can cancel when we want, but she simply could not live without suckling from the glass teat...
      *sigh*

      why did i get married again ? ? ?

      art guerrilla
      aka ann archy
      eof

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 6:23am

    If there is a market for such a thing as an "ad blocker", that means that there is demand.

    The networks should stop for 10 seconds and think WHY people would want something that blocks ads in the first place (hint: ads are loud, obnoxious and often not relevant).

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 6:31am

      Re:

      They know why, but they don't care. They just want their money. Period.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 6:57am

      Re:

      "ads are loud, obnoxious and often not relevant"

      Wasn't there a law somewhere that was supposed to stop the crazy ad loudness thing? Seems they just ignore it.

       

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    Michael, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Once again, they networks think "Criminal Interference with a Business Model" is a real thing.

     

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    slick8086, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Honest Question

    How would these networks be hurting themselves by not renewing with Dish? If the networks get revenue from commercials, and Dish isn't showing the commercials already, then how would pulling their content harm the networks?

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 11:39am

    Tech doesn't care

    No matter how much influence a company has and no matter how much an industry tries to fight, tech moves forward.

    It does not care about protecting your business model. We moved to gasoline powered cars, we switched to email, we moved to mobile devices, we share content on the net, we will copy in 3D.

    Adapt or die. Ask the good people at Kodak that thought film would never go away. Think TV won't move to a net based model???? Dream on.

     

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

    Summary

    Anybody else reading this thinking; Gee, follow the money and you'll know why they do what they do.

     

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    JJ Joseph, Sep 19th, 2013 @ 2:16pm

    Commercials

    @John F:"Commercials are what pushed me most of the way to not watching TV anymore."

    It was the stuff IN BETWEEN the commercials that convinced me to disconnect the cable 12 years ago. I haven't missed any of it, and I got my life back!

     

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    BoogerEater, Sep 20th, 2013 @ 11:45am

    So, I was watching TV the other night...

    It was a 1 hour show on Discovery that I recorded on my DVR. After skipping the 57 minutes of commercials, I thought to myself, now what am I going to do for the rest of the hour?

     

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    John85851 (profile), Sep 21st, 2013 @ 1:07pm

    Commercials should be content

    Like it's been said many times on this site, people will watch commercials if they're relevant and contain good content. The best example is the "Greatest Commercials of the Year" show on TBS every year. If people hate commercials, why do they watch a show *about* commercials. The answer is something the networks can't figure out: people watch because those commercials are entertaining.

    Another good example is when I watched "Caprica" on Hulu. (This show was a spin-off of "Battlestar Galactica".) Since it's an NBC/ Universal show, there were commercials for other shows, but then there was a commercial for "Battlestar Galactica" on Blu-Ray. I don't even have a Blu-Ray player, but this commercial almost convinced me to go get one. :)
    Here's a hint for commercial makers: make commercials that are relevant to the show's content, but in a good way. If I'm watching a sci-fi show, show commercials for other sci-fi stuff. But if I'm watching a newshow about an unsolved robbery, don't show me commercials for alarm systems. ;)

    But I think this kind of relevant programming may be too complex for networks and they'd rather run any commercial from any company that gives them money.
    Like another poster pointed out, the networks bombard us with drug ads that spend the first 15 seconds saying how great the drug is and the next 60 seconds talking about the side effects. (Okay, the original poster said 45 seconds, but I could swear it's longer than that.)

    And here's a hint to commercial-makers: if your commercial didn't sell me on the product when I saw the first commercial, beating me over the head with 20 more of the same commercials isn't going to convince me to buy. In fact, it might annoy me and I'll tell my friends how annoying you are.

     

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