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.