Ads make the TV world go round — so if no one’s watching them, can there still be network TV? CBS, Fox and NBC would say no, which is why they’re fighting Dish Network’s new ad-skipping software, called AutoHop. It allows viewers to completely black out ads on programs saved to their DVRs. Those three networks were scheduled to head to court today in New York City.
The three networks sued, saying the power to skip ads violates copyright laws and could mess with the whole financial model the TV industry runs on. AutoHop launched in May and can only be used for shows on broadcast networks and not cable channels, so it’s no wonder the networks feel a bit put out.
Arguments will be heard today over where the case should be held in New York or Los Angeles.
Dish says it thinks AutoHop is just fine and dandy.
“I think it was settled 28 years ago in the Betamax case,” Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen told Congress last week, referring to the landmark 1984 case that established that consumers did not violate copyright laws by recording shows at home for their own enjoyment.
But the almost $68 billion in ad dollars the TV industry rakes in each year is important to keeping costs down on making all those TV shows, say the networks.
“I can’t produce premium shows like ‘CSI’without advertising,” CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said.
If consumers aren’t watching commercials, an alternative would be to ask them to pay for the TV time they’re watching. That sounds like something no one whatsoever would be down with.
CBS, NBC and Fox head to court over Dish ad-skipping feature [Los Angeles Times]