New commercials on TV show off Dish Network’s Hopper service offered to subscribers. Ironically, this commercial shown on other networks, is promoting the skipping of commercials all together. Customers see a short black screen and then the show resumes, rather than having to pick up the remote and manually fast forward through the commercials. The new service from DISH allows customers to automatically skip commercials and has put the company in the spotlight and in the courtroom.
All four major broadcast networks (FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC) have recently sued DISH network claiming the company violated laws on copyrighting. The companies, who rely on advertising money, have taken offense to the service that could threaten advertising revenue in the near future. The increasing switch to watching shows off of a taped DVR device or online has already cut down on the guarantee that advertisers will pay to capture viewers.
Another huge negative for DISH going forward is 2012 being an election year. Several politicians have already blasted the AutoHop service saying it will hurt politicians trying to appear in front of their targeted audience. When politicians shell out hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, they usually get their way. DISH could not have picked a worse year to show off their service, as the potential combination of big television networks and politicians can likely beat DISH in court.
The best part in all of this is DISH’s defense. The cable company claims they are fast forwarding through commercials to prevent viewers from seeing harmful ads for alcohol and other bad influences. Perhaps they are taking a page out of Disney’s book, who recently said they were discontinuing advertisements for junk food during children’s programming.
DISH recently announced it would be discontinuing three channels from AMC Entertainment because of subscription fee disputes. The news comes at a bad time for DISH subscribers who are awaiting the premiere of hit television show Breaking Bad. The show’s fifth season is set to kickoff on July 15th and without a deal in the meantime, DISH subscribers will be left to wonder what has happened to Walt and Jesse on the show. Over fourteen million subscribers will now lose the network that airs Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead. Don’t think they’ll be too happy about that.
The breakup of the channel and cable provider stems from subscription costs. DISH argues that AMC charges too much for its channels that have limited original programming and offer their shows to be downloaded, for a fee, on iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix, the day after they air. The shutoff of AMC also includes Sundance Channel, IFC, and WE TV. Dish will be running its own programming in the channels places in hopes to earn some revenue back from the potential loss of viewers.
Of course through all of this media hoopla, the big losers are cable television subscribers. DISH subscribers could likely miss the premiere of Breaking Bad final season. The AutoHop could lead to higher cable subscription fees for all households if advertisement dollars start to drop. Customers have been used to commercials for some time and with the ability to fast forward taped shows, do we really need a company to do it for us?