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Television Entertainment

Broadcast Industry Wades In On Dish Network's Hopper 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the biggest-skip dept.
gollum123 writes "As with past technological threats, network executives are closing ranks against a Dish Network device that undermines the broadcast business model. The disruptive technology at hand is an ad-eraser, embedded in new digital video recorders sold by Charles W. Ergen's Dish Network, one of the nation's top distributors of TV programming. Turn it on, and all the ads recorded on most prime-time network shows are automatically skipped, no channel-flipping or fast-forwarding necessary. Some reviewers have already called the feature, called the Auto Hop, a dream come true for consumers. But for broadcasters and advertisers, it is an attack on an entrenched television business model, and it must be strangled, lest it spread elsewhere."
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Broadcast Industry Wades In On Dish Network's Hopper

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  • by busyqth (2566075) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @06:59PM (#40022795)
    If you skip ads, you stand with the child pornographers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      and you also support feeding baby seals to terrorists

    • Re:Don't do that. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:08PM (#40022857) Journal

      Dish has already had the ability to skip forward in 30-second intervals on their DVR anyway... the only diff is that now you can completely avoid catching a glimpse of an advert. It's part of why I rarely bother with live TV anymore (outside of the local news stations, anyway) - I'll just DVR what I want in advance, and watch that.

      As for the channel owners? Screw 'em. I'm sorry, but I already pay for the service, and paid a bit extra for the channels. Why the hell should I be forced to become a source of further income to them?

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:19PM (#40022955) Homepage Journal

        As for the channel owners? Screw 'em. I'm sorry, but I already pay for the service, and paid a bit extra for the channels. Why the hell should I be forced to become a source of further income to them?

        Because they are the job creators and unless you submit to their advertising you are siding with the islamomarxists who are trying to force you to have health insurance.

        Plus, they're only forcing you to look at their advertisements for your own good, because those very advertisements are the last line of defense against the evil informed consumer.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          As long as you don't mind the cost increase due to the lack of ad revenue, that's all good. I'd pay Hulu if they'd sell me the ad free version, even more than what they are charging. But I won't pay for it with ads, they just literally won't offer me the service I'd pay for.

          • Or perhaps they have judged that people wouldn't pay what it would cost without the ads.

            • Re:Don't do that. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @09:03PM (#40023883) Homepage Journal

              Or perhaps they have judged that people wouldn't pay what it would cost without the ads.

              How would they have "judged" that without offering an ad-free service to see how well it's accepted?

              Or perhaps they just don't give a shit what people want, because their customers are the ad advertisers, not the viewers. The people that watch Hulu are the consumables, not the consumers. Welcome to the "free market" - where you just don't get a choice. Funny how that works.

              • Re:Don't do that. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @09:16PM (#40023981)

                Or perhaps they have judged that people wouldn't pay what it would cost without the ads.

                How would they have "judged" that without offering an ad-free service to see how well it's accepted?

                Or perhaps they just don't give a shit what people want, because their customers are the ad advertisers, not the viewers. The people that watch Hulu are the consumables, not the consumers. Welcome to the "free market" - where you just don't get a choice. Funny how that works.

                If they need to charge a large sum, say $1000/month to make an equivalent amount of money then it's a pretty safe bet it won't be accepted. It should be pretty simple for any business to compare what they make in ad revenue, then estimate if they think they can sell it at a reasonable price or not. Of course once they get past that hurdle, a smaller company like Hulu has to worry about networks not allowing hulu to continue broadcasting if hulu is cutting out ads. DISH probably doesn't have to worry quite so much since the networks stand to loose a lot if they cut dish out of the pie, but smaller companies would be screwed in a hurry.

                • Re:Don't do that. (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by Torg (59213) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:00PM (#40024521)

                  From one of many Hulu's own case studies, 13 million views, 106K total votes
                  http://www.hulu.com/advertising/case-studies/oscars [hulu.com]

                  So if you go strictly by the view rate, 13 million. That extra cost for a $1,000,000 advertisement would be a whole 7 cents. Since most adds are well under $1M it would be even less.

                • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                  If they need to charge a large sum, say $1000/month to make an equivalent amount of money then it's a pretty safe bet it won't be accepted.

                  You have to be kidding. Do you really think that the ads that the average Hulu viewer watches in a month is worth $1000 in profits to their advertisers?

                  Judging from online advertising rates, Hulu could charge maybe $5/mo and make the same money they're making from the advertisers. But the point is, Hulu doesn't want people as their customers, because then they have to

              • Re:Don't do that. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Genda (560240) <mariet@@@got...net> on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:26PM (#40024653) Journal

                The point is that everyone, everywhere, will take every opportunity to squeeze a buck out of every orifice they can legally get a finger in. This is why, you go to a movie for which you paid $15 dollars to see, and they subject you to 20 minutes of commercials. That is why people are driving around with advertisements on their cars. That is why if they ever figure out how to project images on the inside of contact lenses you best be prepared to be seeing commercials on them for at least an hour a day. The corporate machine is hawking its proverbial ass off and it has you square in its sights. How dare you deny them the opportunity to scream at you every waking moment of your life.

                • I agree whole heartedly and raise you this.. it is not only the hocking of goods, it is a psychological assault. Minds are bent towards the materialism of the day and in subliminal ways towards sociological norms they wish to impart on the masses through peer pressure and sheer repetition.

                  I find it no coincidence that every mainstream sheeple has gps in their pocket and are almost all connected to communication behemoths in some govt pocket. Can You Hear Me Now?
                • by isorox (205688) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @02:36AM (#40025413) Homepage Journal

                  The corporate machine is hawking its proverbial ass off and it has you square in its sights. How dare you deny them the opportunity to scream at you every waking moment of your life.

                  Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 21st century?"
                  Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games... and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts, and bananas and written on the sky. But not in dreams, no siree.

                • Re:Don't do that. (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Thursday May 17, 2012 @07:48AM (#40026377) Homepage

                  I wonder if anyone has studied the negative affects of advertising on potential customers? Oral B ads made me discount them completely when choosing an electric toothbrush. I definitely won't be using MoneySupermarket thanks to their campaigns. Citron's "shakin' that ass" advert put me right off the design of the car, which now only reminds me of a fat person's arse.

                  It seems like the "arms race" going on in advertising, particularly TV advertising, is having the opposite effect to the one intended.

            • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

              More likely, they determined that the peoplemthatnare willing to pay are the ones the advertisers actually want. The masses just make the rates look better.

              Wrong solution in my book though.

    • Re:Don't do that. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:27PM (#40023039)

      And Netflix. Sorry, sources of ad free program are already out there. This was why I bailed on cable TV years ago. They charge me, and then still cram it full of ads. Internet sites full of time wasting ads simply get bypassed for sites with content. Pay TV has been on a decline ever since.

      GM tried to follow the eyeballs from TV to online social media. If the ads don't block content, they are ignored. If the ads do block content, the pages are mostly ignored. Take a clue from Yahoo and Google. The viewers leave, followed by the advertisers. Want to kill your site, load it with ads. This is why I expect Facebook to follow Yahoo, Geocities, Myspace, etc, unless they highly restrict advertising damage to the site.

      The biggest mistake is to try to increase revenue by selling more ads at the expence of the users. Lose the users, you lost.

    • A lot of us must be even worse than the suppliers. We edit out their inane messages without ever seeing them after recording whatever program I want with the TV tuner card.
  • by htnmmo (1454573) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:02PM (#40022823) Homepage

    Local broadcasts are free. Well sort of. You can still get over the air local channels most places but maybe 80-90%+ of people receive their local channels through cable tv, satellite, fios, whatever.

    These companies can't just tap into the local airwaves and rebroadcast these channels. They have to pay for it and ever year or so there's a major issue with the contract of some channel holding out for more money.

    The traditional broadcasting model is dead. The new one is get paid by advertisers, get paid again by distributors.

    Though I can imagine dish caving just like tivo did.

    • I don't mind supporting the local channels at all, in spite of living in a rural area well over 50 miles away from all the local stores they advertise for. It's the only time I really don't even mind the adverts. Everything else gets DVR'd and skipped.

      OTOH, I only watch the local newscasts, and maybe live local events if/when they're broadcast.

    • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:16PM (#40022929)

      Local broadcasts are free. Well sort of. You can still get over the air local channels most places but maybe 80-90%+ of people receive their local channels through cable tv, satellite, fios, whatever.

      These companies can't just tap into the local airwaves and rebroadcast these channels. They have to pay for it and ever year or so there's a major issue with the contract of some channel holding out for more money.

      Which just illustrates the extreme level of greed in the TV industry. The old days of free TV supported entirely by commercials is gone. All of the cable and satellite companies must pay many millions of dollars a year to every network if they want to carry their programming. Add it all up and it easily runs into many billions of dollars. The fact is, you could completely eliminate commercials from TV and the networks would still make an enormous amount of money from broadcast fees, syndication, dvd sales, etc.

      Of course, in Hollywood, no amount of money is ever enough.

    • by i.r.id10t (595143)

      Yup. I already pay $$ to descramble the signals... why should I "pay" more by giving them ad views?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:06PM (#40022843)
    Welcome to the future.

    Years before, he had invented a module that, when a television commercial appeared, automatically muted the sound. It wasn't at first a context recognition device. Instead, it simply monitored the amplitude of the carrier wave. TV advertisers had taken to running their ads louder and with less audio clutter than the programs that were their nominal vehicles. News of Hadden's module spread by word of mouth. People reported a sense of relief, the lifting of a great burden, even a feeling of joy at being freed from the advertising barrage for the six to eight hours out of every day that the average American spent in front of the television set. Before there could be any coordinated response from the television advertising industry, Adnix had become wildly popular. It forced advertisers and networks into new choices of carrier wave strategy, each of which Hadden countered with a new invention. Sometimes he invented circuits to defeat strategies that the agencies and the networks had not yet hit upon. He would say that he was saving them the trouble of making inventions, at great cost to their shareholders, which were at any rate doomed to failure. As his sales volume increased, he kept cutting prices. It was a kind of electronic warfare. And he was winning.

    ... He suspected that the takeover was only a pretext, that his real offense had been to attack advertising and video evangelism. Adnix and Preachnix were the essence of capitalist entrepreneurship, he argued repeatedly. The point of capitalism was supposed to be providing people with alternatives.

    "Well, the absence of advertising is an alternative, I told them. There are huge advertising budgets only when there's no difference between the products. If the products really were different, people would buy the one that's better. Advertising teaches people not to trust their judgment. Advertising teaches people to be stupid. A strong country needs smart people. So Adnix is patriotic. The manufacturers can use some of their advertising budgets to improve their products. The consumer will benefit. Magazines and newspapers and direct mail business will boom, and that'll ease the pain in the ad agencies. I don't see what the problem is."

    - Carl Sagan, Contact, 1985.

    Wish you could have been here to see it, Dr. Sagan.

    • by htnmmo (1454573) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:11PM (#40022881) Homepage

      Ironically doing a Google search for "Adnix and Preachnix" and clicking on the first page gets you a page full of ads, a popup and a warning message when you try and browse away. :)

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      What we need is an internet connected box with HDMI. When the ads come on it gets a signal over the network that switches on the HTMI and shows something like a news website or RSS feed, and then off again when the ads finish. Most TVs can auto switch to HDMI when a signal is found. A relatively small number of trusted users could run the whole thing by hitting a button on their remote when the ads come on, with a number of "votes" required to confirm it isn't just an accidental press or a troll.

      A Raspberry

  • This the same DISH that drops channels all the time will they end dropping one of the big 4? over this?

    • Seems like a nice leverage. Who would miss them anyway? Adapt or die...
    • by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:32PM (#40023087)

      This the same DISH that drops channels all the time will they end dropping one of the big 4? over this?

      I have to call you on this. When Dish (or DirecTV or Comcast-it has happen to all of them) "drops a channel" it isn't because they are trying to screw the customer. It is because the channel is trying to raise what it charges Dish for rebroadcast rights. Dish is saying no, trying to keep your rates down. If it ends in a stalemate, then the channel comes down. Everyone blames Dish/DTV/comcast, They know they will loose customers over this but it is the right thing to do. This does happen to dish more then the others, because they more aggressively try to keep rates down.

      As for the locals ("the big 4"), they are supposed to be free tv, but they are trying to charge like they are a cable channel. They are really the most greedy.

  • ads who needs ads. netflix, hulu plus, amazon prime -- all ad free and on ps3 or pc/mac. the later two support linux though netflix is silverlight based, and claims not to work on linux.

  • Either pay or ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benb (100570) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:12PM (#40022893) Homepage Journal

    I'm from Europe, but aren't you paying for receiving Dish?

    From my standpoint: Either pay or ads, but never both.

    The pay-TV in Europe is ad-free (well, at least during the show), pay-TV companies are treating their customers like dirt. Free-TV is rich, has many consumers, but is continuously degrading in quality (both the kind of content, and amount of ads) since 15 years.

    • Depends on the channel. Some are overflowing with adverts, while others are ad-free.

      And some channels [qvc.com] are nothing but continuous advertisement, 24/7/365.

      Welcome to variety. :)

    • Re:Either pay or ads (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:19PM (#40022963)

      From my standpoint: Either pay or ads, but never both.

      Well that was originally the idea. When cable TV first rolled out in the U.S., the non-local channels it carried didn't have commercials. But them some marketing exec noticed that nobody had promised customers that there would be no ads. So they started double-dipping by adding ads.

      • Which I thought was a fine an excellent idea since my $100/month cable bill should be going to something worthwhile. I mean come on, people pay good money to be advertised to in magazines. Why shouldn't they enjoy that privilege with TV?
      • by grumling (94709)

        Not true. While you are right that HBO didn't carry advertising, most out of market stations were just passed through, with ads. Then WTBS went up on the satellite and started charing their advertisers national rates. When Turner started up his other networks he kept the advertising/subscription model. Soon the other superstations (WGN, etc) started charging national rates too. By the time the channel explosion happened in the 1980s everyone expected to run ads.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:23PM (#40023001) Homepage Journal

      I'm from Europe, but aren't you paying for receiving Dish?

      From my standpoint: Either pay or ads, but never both.

      Your unwillingness to "pay both" is exactly why the Eurozone is collapsing into a tyranny of universal health care and subsidized education.

      Here in America, we realize that we're supposed to pay everyone except the government, who we hate as God intended.

      • by Tom (822) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @06:27AM (#40026069) Homepage Journal

        Sorry, buddy, but you missed the train there.

        We've had universal health care... I don't know. At least all my life and most if not all of the lives of my parent generation. Other countries have had it even longer. No collapse anywhere in sight. Heck, many of the social security systems in Europe survived two world wars.

        The reason why some of them are collapsing now has a very different cause: The insurance industry has realized that if those social security systems weren't public, but, say, insurances, they would make billions of profits. I'm not exaggerating. The pension system alone is so massive, every insurance manager would get an instant orgasm just thinking about getting a few percentages of it.

        So they did what big business does these days: Bribe the government to ruin the systems that stood for a hundred years through wars, economic collapse, everything. They couldn't take it away, because that would've lost them, well, pretty much all voters. But they've run it into the ground intentionally, blaming demographic changes and what else. None of which is true, every few years another economist publishes a paper showing that with but minor changes the public system could be adapted quite easily.

        The result is that a) most of us have to take out insurance in addition to the mandatory public pension system and b) we now have something that used to be quite rare in Europe: Old people who are poor despite having worked all their lives.

        As for the education - let's just say that aside from the world-famous elite universities, the american school system is the laughing stock of all the first world. One look at it and we are quite certain that we want to stick with ours, despite all its shortcomings.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          We've had universal health care... I don't know. At least all my life and most if not all of the lives of my parent generation. Other countries have had it even longer. No collapse anywhere in sight. Heck, many of the social security systems in Europe survived two world wars.

          Of course, I agree. I was being sarcastic and not very well.

          I would be very happy if the US learned lessons from Europe. The American health care system and the cost of higher education here (compared to what you actually get for you

          • by volpe (58112)

            I was being sarcastic and not very well.

            No, it was done quite well, and not lost on me or most of the other readers, I imagine. But then, I've been reading your posts long enough to recognize and appreciate your brand of humor.

    • by KingSkippus (799657) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:28PM (#40023053) Homepage Journal

      I'm from Europe...

      I'm from America, where big corporations aren't just free, but actually expected to the point of being obligated to rake in obscene profits. There's no such thing as consumer rights here, it's all about the bottom line. They make you pay to get television, then they make advertisers pay to present it to you. Don't forget having companies pay to place their products subtly (or not-so-subtly, many times) in the shows themselves. Then you have to pay yet again if you ever want to watch it on another device or in another format, and there's a pretty durn good chance that they've sold yet more advertising, such as on Hulu, or in the form of non-skippable ads on DVDs, etc.

      America used to be the land of the free. Now it's the land of the rape-everyone-for-as-much-money-as-you-can.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by foniksonik (573572)

        And yet America's financial meltdown was resolved pretty quickly (not fixed but not getting worse) whereas Europe is going down and there's no resolution in sight because there is this same entitlement mentality.

        • by artor3 (1344997) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @09:33PM (#40024085)

          Europe is struggling because of their austerity policies. Every country to institute them is worse off than it was before. It has nothing to do with an entitlement mentality. It's all down to the absurdity of fighting high unemployment and low consumer confidence by firing people and taking away safety nets.

          The time for spending cuts is when things are good. Unfortunately it is exactly those times that the political will to cut is lowest.

          • by slashrio (2584709)

            Europe is struggling because of their austerity policies.

            Totally wrong.

            Europe is struggling (and failing) because of the puppets in the EC not accepting the fact that it already hàs failed, and because they refuse to let get broke who deserves to get broke (banks who issued loans that they knew could never be repaid).

            And the biggest contribution to the failure of Europe *and* the US is that the governments are so stupid to borrow money from the banks, instead of printing it themselves.

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            > Europe is struggling because of their austerity policies.

            It's like Republicans managed to take over Europe or something.

            The conventional wisdom is to spend your way out of a recession and clean up the mess later rather than trying to pay your way out of debt with money you don't really have.

      • by diamondmagic (877411) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @09:46PM (#40024159) Homepage

        There's nothing wrong with profits, it means you're producing things of value effectively. The alternative is losses which means you're just wasting resources, and that's bad.

        When profits do become bad is when you're using lawsuits to protect yourself against honest competition. Which is practically the whole entertainment distribution industry, software patents, and other legal monopolies.

      • by giorgist (1208992)
        The most bizarre thing that comes from America is clothing, and especially T-Shirts where the logo is oversize to the point that it dominates the whole item. It looks to me like those guys that walk around with billboards on their front and back ... why ?
        • by Plunky (929104) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @02:25AM (#40025375)

          Humans are social creatures, they usually feel more comfortable when not diverging from the social group. This has been demonstrated many times with psychological experiments where people will act against all common sense when others are setting an example to follow (see: Stanley Milgrams New Hampshire experiment, for an extreme example). Those people who wear branding and/or follow fashions slavishly are just belonging because it makes them comfortable to blend in with what everybody else is doing.

          And that is why mass market advertising works too.. they show you pictures of other people doing what they want you to do, and large segments of the population follow suit.. Its not [any longer] about telling you truthfully what the benefits of this product vs that product are so that you can make a reasoned decision about which to use, it is solely about getting the images into your brain so that you prefer to use that product because you have seen other people using it.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Almost all pay channels have ads in the US. Even premium stuff like HBO has ads for their own shows, but at least it's between shows usually. But for every other non-premium channel there are ads interspersed in the show (except PBS but then they've got periodic pledge breaks). Even during the actual show the majority of channels still put their big ugly log on the bottom of the screen or have some obvious blurb for upcoming shows.

      For $50-70 a month you'd think they could get rid of advertisements. I wo

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      Exactly. Here in the UK, the BBC channels are ad-free, iPlayer is ad-free and the rest of the FTA channels have about half as many adverts as the US. Sky TV is pretty ad-heavy, but then it's the same group of companies as Fox.

      Don't want to pay *at all*? Don't get a TV licence (which is a bit selfish, since that pays for the ad-free BBC radio and TV, and is about £12 per month), and don't watch off-air TV or "live" iPlayer.

      Of course bittorrent is *always* ad-free...

  • by spazdor (902907)

    But for broadcasters and advertisers, it is an attack on an entrenched television business model, and it must be strangled, lest it spread elsewhere.

    Or, lest it make digital TV and PVRs finally offer a user experience that approaches being competitive with, say, BitTorrent.
    It's funny that their business model depends upon making their customer happy - but not too happy.

    • by EvilSS (557649)
      They are trying to make their customers happy. Problem is their customers are the advertisers. You are not the customer: you are the product they sell to the advertisers. The shows? Those are just the bait.
      • by spazdor (902907)

        And they even get the "product" to pay them for the privilege of being sold.

        Pretty sweet deal.

      • by bryan1945 (301828)

        I wonder if someone can pin down at what point, say within 1 year, that the products and customers switched sides?

  • Inside View (Score:5, Informative)

    by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:17PM (#40022931)
    I was at last weeks Dish retailer conference when this was announced. Dish is well aware of the controversy they are creating. Every one with a DVR already skips over commercials, this is just making it easier. The Commercials are not removed, someone at Dish actually has to go in and manually ad triggers at the start and stop of every commercial in every show. That takes a bit of time which is part of the reason you can't auto skip (auto hop) commercials until the next day.

    It will be interesting to see what happens next, but as was stated previously, I think the current advertising structure is dying.
  • by cvtan (752695) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:18PM (#40022951)
    Remember when you were supposed to pay for your TV programming in order to avoid having ads at all? Why suffer through those annoying over-the-air commercials when you could pay for cable and ditch the ads. Now you are supposed to pay for TV AND be forced to watch ads!
  • by MacTO (1161105) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:19PM (#40022965)

    There seems to be this mentality that advertising is equally valuable regardless of how much is slammed in the face of consumers. Since more ads mean more money, we've ended up with a situation where consumers are saturated by advertising. Sometimes they tune out mentally, but sometimes they cut it out literally. I'm sorry TV networks, but you created the environment where this happens so it is your fault. Don't blame other people for your problems.

    • by Dishevel (1105119)

      I watch ads a lot!
      On youtube. At least the good ones.
      Maybe if advertisers were not so incredibly stupid with most of their ads more people would watch them.
      Hell when I am boosting past ads on my DirecTV DVR I sometimes have to hit play and the back 5 seconds button a couple of time to watch an ad that looked interesting. Make the ads content.

  • by ebunga (95613) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:20PM (#40022975) Homepage

    Why not create a premium service sans ads that bypasses Dish Network?

    • Why not get the customers to sign a disclaimer that they would never buy from those companies that advertised on those channels, and as such, the blocking or absence of those ads could not count as any great loss of monetary value?

      When you purchase a set of channels, you are not entering into any contract to faithfully sit through every commercial. Some people change the channel, some people get up and wash the dishes, some people don't watch them at all. In essence, the basis for commercials is a liar's co

  • Commercial for you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:22PM (#40022985) Homepage Journal

    Business model tired, worn out?

    Unable or too lazy to come up with new ideas?

    Loaded down with cash from when consumers had to take it your way or hit the highway?

    If this describes you, call 1-800-BUYCONGRESS.

    We'll do ALL we can to screw over you customers and keep your worn-out way of thinking in the public eye.

    Cause everyone else is obviously a pirate or a terrorist!

    BUY A CONGRESSMAN TODAY!

    • by El Torico (732160)
      BRIBERY! Apply directly to the legislature!
      BRIBERY! Apply directly to the legislature!
      BRIBERY! Apply directly to the legislature!
  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:43PM (#40023201)

    Most people who pay for satellite or digital cable don't realize that most of the money that you pay goes straight to the television channels and not the cable/satellite provider. When you pay your $100 cable bill, a couple of dollars goes straight to Disney/ABC/ESPN. I think just for ESPN alone some cable companies are on the hook for five dollars a month per subscriber. So you are paying to watch channels with advertisements.

    On top of the money that goes directly to those channels they also bombard you with advertisements and commercial interruptions. And while for many channels advertisements allows them breaks to reorganize, which can be critical for news and sports programming, there aren't too many reasons other than simply making more money for running commercials during the middle of a sitcom or drama. I don't mind when an NFL or MLB game goes to commercials when the players are running on and off the field. But I stopped watching South Park on its premier night years ago because the commercial breaks were too frequent and killed the momentum of the show. It's one thing when the sport has stopped and then the cut to advertisements. It would be another if they cut to commercials right when a guy delivered a pitch or the ball was snapped. "Stay tuned to see if the Patriots scored after these commercials".

    Unfortunately that is how most shows are. "Will this character die...? Find out after we assault your senses with a dozen commercials". Not to mention that most advertisements are BLASTED AT FULL VOLUME compared to the show that is on at the time. It ruins the flow of the show. This is why I almost only watch sports and HBO.

    HBO figured out decades ago that people would be willing to pay for premium content delivered to them commercial free. With no advertisers to answer to they could put on shows like The Wire, Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Band of Brothers, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. They don't have to worry about advertisers pulling out of shows. They don't have to censor anything because of the FCC either. And they can write dramas and comedy shows that are purely art and not meant to sell products or have commercial breaks written into them. Considering the extreme popularity of Game of Thrones right now it is quite evident that people want to pay a premium for high level programming that is free of advertising and doesn't have to answer to sponsors or the FCC. Also HBO has a policy where product placement is forbidden. When you see a real life product on Sopranos or Treme or whatever it is there for realism and not as an in show paid advertisement.

    Unfortunately most of these other companies haven't figured out that people will pay money to bypass advertisements. This is essentially what people do when they buy a show on DVD or Blu-Ray anyways. People will also pay extra when it improves the quality of programming. Major League Baseball's internet package that allows you to watch all out of market games online is commercial free. Lots of companies are putting their shows up on I-Tunes or the Playstation Network the day after commercial free and you pay for each episode individually.

    • by grumling (94709)

      Today's television advertising consists of several "layers." Typically, the production company gets a few to cover their costs (since unless the show is produced in house, the networks won't pay for most programming, just provide a time slot... Mythbusters-level shows do get money for production, but only after they've proven themselves). The network get the bulk of ad time, since they own the pipe. Then the local cable/satellite company gets a few to help recoup the fees they have to pay the programmer. So

      • I've noticed a growing number of in-show ads that really suck. Bones has had a number of 'car' ads that were blatantly bad. Fringe had the Sprint NFC pay-by-phone a few weeks ago. I can only expect this to grow more. Sure it's not a 4 minute break of random ads but it still is an ad that you simply can not fast forward through.
    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      The NFL is getting out of control. Touchdown, commercial. Kickoff, commercial. Timeout- commercial. Built-in TV timeouts. But what has me really ticked off recently is that when they go to the post-TD commercial, sometimes they don't come back in time to see the kickoff! Even the built-in TV ad breaks can do this; how can you screw up a commercial break when you know exactly how long it is supposed to last? Then the NFL (and college football, too) complains about the length of games. Maybe if you cu

  • that not watching the adverts is stealing Television. I didn't know he actually ran Fox though. At least the nuclear industry will be safer now.
  • by JRock911 (848012) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @08:11PM (#40023489)
    Years ago ReplayTV tried the same thing with the same response from broadcasters. Instead of giving in, Replay took the battle to court and lost and that pretty much bankrupted the company. I dont see how Dish thinks its going to turn out any better for them.
  • I recently got cable TV after 3 years without cable (because it came bundled for "free" with new high speed internet service).

    I watched 2 TV shows, and haven't turned the cable box on since then (4 weeks ago). After the free trial of cable service, I'll be sending the cable box back.

    I've gotten completely spoiled by Netflix streaming and DVD's. Ads are annoying - they are loud, inane, and cause too much interruption in what I'm trying to watch.

    I have 130 channels to choose from, but got tired of wading thro

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      There are some good shows, but I can live without them. My weakness is sports. I could do the internet packages for them, but that adds up, to. Spot on about Netflix- my wife devours entire shows' series, and I have a good 80-some films in my queue. And we just have the $8 streaming only service.

  • I'm sure the media companies are already looking at blipverts as a work around. A few seconds of high intensity seizure inducing advertising. The great snoring masses sucking on the glass teat will not notice. A wiser method to defeat the technology is to develop programming standards that seamlessly transition the program to the commercials. No sudden changes in recording levels, no sudden changes in the video signal and little or no gap between commercials.
    • The great snoring masses sucking on the glass teat

      Wow! You're so counter culture and cool!

      BTW: you look even more highbrow if you spell "cue" correctly.

  • by Dracos (107777) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @09:30PM (#40024063)
    1. Continue taking steps to roll out AutoHop. Let the networks rage.
    2. When the networks begin making serious litigation threats (which they will), offer them a deal: AutoHop or a la carte channels: Dish will cease to offer channel packages.
    3. When the networks choose a la carte (which they will), stipulate that if a la carte is ever abolished, they consent to AutoHop.

    Result: Dish customers get a better deal, and Dish gets more customers.

  • I thought one of the original promises of cable was to deliver ad-free programming. Finally, after after all these years, someone is holding them up to that.
  • OK I am just going to play devil's advocate to keep things interesting.

    Boradcasters have a business model that permits them to make stuff for you. By by passing ads, you're killing that business model. If you want to create stuff without ads, the way PBS does with their model then that's cool and a cool way to put broadcasters out of business or make them at least respond to your better model .

    But that's not what this is, this is. This is more like breaking the contract broadcasters have with you to wat

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > Boradcasters have a business model that permits them to make stuff for you.

      Then don't charge Dish anything. If you really and truely "live off those commercials", then there's really no reason that any commercial cable channel can't be free to retransmit so long as you don't alter the signal.

      For those commercials, my cable bill should be $20. Dish should get to retransmit channels for free and their only cost should be overhead of operating all of the sattellite infastructure.

      Anything else is just doub

      • OK so what I hear you saying is they're charging an unfair price. My attitude towards new CDs. The value isn't there for me, and you won't let me pay less legally.

        I boil this down to a fairness thing. Your price is a ripoff and represents obscene profits for millionaires.

        I feel that way about cable and HBO. My solution is to stay a season or two behind the shows I like to watch and wait until they come out on Netflix. It's not as much fun if other people are watching it. I don't , quite amusingly, hav

  • Hey everyone, it's 2001 again. Just replace "ReplayTV" with "Dish Network"

    http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/replaytv-vs-hollywood/ [blogcritics.org]

    It also just clicked to me after reading this that maybe Google bought SageTV just to kill said feature in the PVR software. Undermines Google's money maker ...

  • I thought the phrase was "weighs in," perhaps deriving from boxing and showing that you are willing and able to partake in a fight, rather than "wades in," which I have never heard and sounds like it has something to do with water.

    Irregardless, I think the title sounds funny, but this sounds like a question of supply and command. I'd wade in a little more, but I need to go de-thaw something for dinner.
  • ... pay for it! The issue is that the TV networks are not the ones benefiting, but Dish is. I can see how they see that as theft. What the TV networks need to do is provide an alternate channel through which the SAME programming is available on the SAME night, ad-free. It will be a premium channel, obviously.

    Now if only I could get paid ad-free versions of Discover Channel, Home & Garden, NetGeo, Smithsonian, etc. I couldn't give a rats arsend about ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC. A sponsor-free pledge-bre

  • by richardtallent (309050) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @01:20AM (#40025181) Homepage

    ReplayTV had a DVR many years ago with this exact feature, and they got their asses sued off by Hollywood for it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReplayTV). The suit was never decided. It even had a feature that did the reverse, playing *only* the commercials (aka "Superbowl Mode").

    But even *that* was based on earlier technology patented back in 1993 (http://www.google.com/patents/US5333091) and used in VHS machines dating about 10 years ago, maybe longer.

    As a DISH subscriber, I'm happy they are finally implementing this, but they ARE going to have a fight on their hands.

    Now, if only someone can invent technology to get rid of those awful graphic overlays advertising other shows/movies. And the ridiculous "OMG IT'S TOTALLY RAINING OR SOMEONE GOT ELECTED DOGCATCHER" crawls from the local news.

  • by Tom (822) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @06:09AM (#40025997) Homepage Journal

    This should be a reminder that the whole advertisement industry is a parasite, not the symbiot it makes itself out to be. It isn't just funny, but also revealing how the statements of spammers are so very similar to those of marketing people. Like the famous "people are very interested in our newsletter". Yeah, right.

    Advertisement is crapping up our public spaces, our public airwaves, everything. Sure, it "pays" for stuff - by turning the consumer into a product to be sold. Would we want to pay for everything instead of getting it free? That's a strawman right there. Because it assumes "all else being equal", which isn't true. Without or with dramatically reduced advertisement, most products would become cheaper. The total amount of money we spend would very likely not change all that much, and since a lot of of advertisement is waste (one saying in marketing is that "we know that half our efforts are completely pointless - but we don't know which half"), it might even go down.

    There are a few legitimate uses for advertisement, but they can easily be replaced by something of a more opt-in nature. For example, I skim (rather than read) a few online magazines mostly because I'm interested in new things being available within their respective topic fields. If you want to know which supermarket has special offers this weekend, we have the technology to alert you to the fact, according to your criteria, without having every supermarket within a days drive littering every reachable mailbox with their crap.

    There are now a few major cities that have banned all outdoor advertisement (billboard, etc. - some even overly large shop signs) and the results are astonishing and the people actually living there are very, very happy about them. Google it up, there are images of cities like you've not seen them for decades. You know, you can see the buildings again and all.

    I'm not very hopeful, but I still think the entire marketing and advertisement industry needs to be cut down to at most 10% its current size. But it won't happen on its own, because all the participants are victims of the system - you can't be the first to stop advertising, because after all, advertisement does work.

    This is where we as a society need to take a stand and say "enough!" and put up some rules. You know, the same way we outlawed murder, robbery and fucking babies because we collectively think these are things we don't want to happen.

  • My parents' VCR (yes, VHS!) had this in the early 1990s. I believe early ReplayTV models also had it. I don't understand why it's not standard in more devices or why it's so controversial (still).

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