Three television broadcasters have filed suits against Dish Network over Dish’s set-top television that lets viewers skip advertisements in TV shows that it records.
The Fox Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company and the Columbia Broadcasting System sued the TV box maker and argued that it should make certain the viewing of advertisements on TV. The companies are apprehensive that if viewers would choose not to watch advertisements, revenues would rocket downwards.
On the other end, Dish Network has also filed a separate suit, which contends that skipping of advertisements on the box should be permitted.
Dish Network launched the Hopper digital video recorder earlier this year and by the 10th of May, an “auto hop” feature, which lets users skip over advertisements that keep the shows they recorded from going continuously, was added.
The lawsuits that were filed individually by the broadcasting companies assert that the application used to pass over advertisements is illegal since it makes the TV box generate a “fake” copy of the show like camera-ripped versions for movies thereby breaking copyright rules.
Fox asserts that the Box’s showing programmes without the advertisements is the same as re-broadcasting – a copyright restriction in the agreement with the broadcasting company that Dish violates.
According to Fox’s Scott Goggin, the ad-hopping feature could eventually turn out to be “destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.”
A majority of the revenues gained by the large television companies come from those paid for the advertisements.
In retaliation to the networks’ allegations, Dish had a court check the lawsuits and rule that the gadget Hopper DVR is not violating copyright.
Todd Mitchell, a media analyst at Brean Murray, says that the introduction of the ad hoping was a tactic that Dish resorted to in order to be able to air shows from large broadcasting companies for a smaller amount.
“This is about programming costs,” says Mitchell. “Dish is saying, if you want to charge me up to the wazoo, we will disable commercials. But if you charge us less, we can disable the feature.”
Dish Network, which has about 14 million subscribers, is the second largest satellite broadcaster in the United States.