CBS Wants Dish To Make Their Ad-Skipping Hopper DVR Even Less Useful If They Want Streaming Video Rights

from the just-get-the-hell-out-of-the-way dept

As we recently noted, Dish has announced a new content distribution deal with CBS that’s quite the double-edged sword. On one hand, Dish has agreed to cripple the ad-skipping feature on their Hopper DVR for ABC and Disney content for the first three days after a new episode airs. In exchange for Dish making their service less useful, ABC has agreed to drop their absurd lawsuit claiming that ad-skipping violates copyright. ABC has also agreed to loosen up restrictions on streaming content, allowing Dish to potentially offer an “over the top” Internet video streaming service sometime down the road.

This has, of course, resulted in the usual press hype from reporters who don’t understand how difficult broadcasters make getting these types of services off the ground (just ask Intel, Sony, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and countless startups). Bloomberg, for example, right after telling readers it’s too early to speculate on price for such a service, immediately proceeds to speculate on price for such a service — claiming a new Dish Internet TV service would only cost users between “$20 and $30 a month.”

There’s still a lot of things standing in Dish’s way — assuming Dish is competent enough to craft a decent service in the first place. We can’t read the contract, so we have no idea what restrictions Disney, ABC and ESPN are going to layer on this new licensing agreement to cripple it to the point of uselessness (oh hi Hulu, didn’t see you standing there). Dish also needs to sign on a lot more broadcasters to flesh out a service catalog, something that’s not going to be easy. Quickly proving that point, CBS CEO Les Moonves stated at an investor conference he’s going to expect Dish to cripple Hopper much more severely if Dish expects a similar deal from CBS:

“Mr. Moonves, speaking at a Morgan Stanley investor conference, said the arrangement is “not quite enough for us.” Several broadcasters, including CBS, say increasing numbers of viewers are watching TV shows more than three days after they air, via DVRs or on-demand services. Mr. Moonves has been among the executives pushing for the industry to shift to a model where advertisers pay for seven days of viewing instead of three. He said CBS’s carriage deal with Dish expires this year, and he expects to take a different approach than Disney in the negotiations with Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen. “We are going to want to do some different things,” he said, noting that Disney has different assets and priorities.”

Who knows what kind of demands CBS is going to make, but it’s pretty clear the demands will include making the Hopper DVR even less useful, while saddling any streaming agreement with just enough restrictions to prevent it from actually being disruptive. On one hand it could make sense for Dish to tell CBS to go to hell, as the broadcasters losing in court would set precedent that protects ad skipping from copyright claims. On the other hand, doing that would mean yet another over the top disruptive Internet TV service would die in the cradle thanks to myopic, terrified broadcasters.

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Companies: abc, cbs, dish, disney

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Comments on “CBS Wants Dish To Make Their Ad-Skipping Hopper DVR Even Less Useful If They Want Streaming Video Rights”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Who could have seen that coming?

A company makes a concession, to try and appease those trying to shut them down rather than fighting back, and the sharks immediately swarm in, claiming that it’s not nearly enough, and they need to do ‘more’.

Yeah, I’m sure Dish has got to be completely shocked by this, I mean, it’s not like that sort of thing has ever happened before when dealing with parasites like those. /s

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:


I listen to Internet radio, at least a bunch of jazz and blues stations. I find a couple of basic types:

1. The stream comes with commercials.
2. The stream is a public radio stations that at times begs (err excuse me fund-raise).*
3. The stream is a public stations that also sells ads and begs (I am thinking of one in Toronto).

All of these are free to me. Most if not all of these stations are actual radio stations who just stream their broadcast. Many of them are owned by large corporations, yet they see fit to stream their broadcasts. And the TV stations don’t.

There may be some cost differences, video verses just audio, but there would be provable viewers at the other end of that stream. Much more provable than anything Nielson could come up with.

So why the resistance? Is it just waiting game until they can figure out how to monetize (double dip) the streams?

* I not only give to my local public radio and TV stations, but I have given many hours of my time taking pledges during the begging. It would save me from having to listen to some of the begging if my local TV/radio station did not stream the feed live into the pledge room.

Anonymous Coward says:

The very thing that made the Dish Hopper valuable is now gone. I fail to see why I would ever join this questionable service at a price if it can’t at least do what it is supposed to do. Count me as one who will never be a customer.

So not only has Dish went back on the potential promise but both them and ABC, Disney, and CBS, have lost what ever potential they may have had that appealed to watching through this method.

Surely there is no better method to tee off your potential customers and loose in the process.

9Blu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“ABC, Disney, and CBS, have lost what ever potential they may have had that appealed to watching through this method.”

Yea, they don’t care about anyone who wants to watch their shows commercial free. If you don’t watch the ads, then they don’t get revenue from your viewership. The current rating they use to calculate ad rates is called C3, or commercial three. It’s viewing, with commercials, for three days starting with the live airing. It specifically attempts to measure only those who did not skip the commercials.

There is a big misconception about TV that most people have: They think that THEY, the viewers, are the customers. They aren’t. They’re the product. Advertisers (the customer) pay the networks (the suppliers) for viewers (product). The networks use TV shows (the bait) to attract those viewers (again, the product).

You are to a TV network what a halibut is to a fisherman.

That said, Les is crazy if he thinks he will get advertisers to agree to a Live+7 rating. Considering the fight they had to get them to agree to C3.

aerilus says:

you know this had to come up in a conversation when they were planning the hopper. really its a perfect bargaining chip. if cbs or abc ever go back on their deal all dish has to do is push out a small update and commercial skipping is back on. they get to blame commercials on abc and cbs to pissed off customers. and it comes at after they launched a major ad campaign that probably got market penetration for the hopper about as far as its going to go.

Daemon_ZOGG (profile) says:

"CBS Wants Dish To Make Their Ad-Skipping Hopper DVR Even Less Useful If They Want Streaming Video Rights"

Who the hell cares, when there’s bitorrent. Screw CBS. The networks want to compete? Make the content more platform independent (Windows/LINUX/Apple) when streaming. And don’t kill us with masive amounts of commercials and ads that interfere with and actually prevent viewing the content! If I can’t watch it on your website.. I’m going to bittorrent. Simple as that.


Re: "CBS Wants Dish To Make Their Ad-Skipping Hopper DVR Even Less Useful If They Want Streaming Video Rights"

Most of the services that already exist are already pretty cross platform. Flash may be evil but it does provide a cross-platform application environment. Even Silverlight can run under Linux using WINE.

Amazon’s streaming service is the oddball. It’s Apple and Amazon only for tablets. So my Linux desktop is in a better position than my Android phone.

Of course content providers will offer the crappiest options available that you might not even want to bother with. Cross platform or not. They just don’t get it.


Re: The kind of property where individuals still have rights.

A gun is personal property and it isn’t tied up in all of this copyright nonsense.

Even creative content on physical media avoids most of the quagmires associated with streaming or broadcast. The grey market is alive and well when it comes to “TV as personal property”. I regularly get items shipped from the UK when their US counterparts become too costly due to limited supply.

Running an HTPC makes those region 2 PAL recordings completely trouble free.

ausoleil (profile) says:

What will CBS and the other major networks want next, an inability to fast-forward or jump forward 30 seconds at a time?

It certainly seems that they want it both ways — that we are required to watch advertisements AND pay for the right to do so. Or not at all, and at the rate they are going, I’ll be choosing that. Really, I think I could do without crime procedurals, slanted journalism and half-wit comedies that trade in insulting stereotypes.

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