Industry Eyes Dish Ad-Skipping Dispute
New litigation between Dish Network and several television networks could have a major impact on the nature of digital video distribution, with courts potentially deciding whether the cable company can lawfully enable users of its DVR service to skip commercial blocks in recordings of the networksâ€™ television broadcasts.
The issues at stake are similar to those that were before the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1984 Betamax case (via The Hill). Although broadcasters CBS, Fox, and NBC argue that Dishâ€™s â€śAuto Hopâ€ť feature undermines their advertising business, Dish contends that its customers have a right to skip commercials, as Dish has already paid the broadcasters hefty retransmission fees for the programming (via paidContent). Meanwhile, others â€” including Consumer Electronics Association chief executive Gary Shapiro (via The Hill) and analyst Richard Greenfield (via BTIG Research) â€” characterize the broadcastersâ€™ position against Dish as their latest attempt to resist technological change.