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Dish Bows Nationwide Ad Campaign for Hopper DVR

11 Feb, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield believes campaign seeks "the death of the TV commercial'

Dish Network Feb. 11 launched a nationwide TV ad campaign to market its Hopper digital video recorder featuring the controversial Auto Hop ad-skipping technology.

The new, multimillion-dollar campaign features Dish’s fictitious “Boston Guys” as they demonstrate how the second-generation Hopper enables the satellite TV operator’s subscribers to watch live and recorded television content on Internet-connected tablets, smartphones and PCs at no additional charge.

The Hopper system requires a whole-home DVR fee of $10 per month and $7 per month for each Joey.

The free Hopper Transfers app allows viewers to move recorded TV programming to an iPad without an Internet connection. And Primetime Anytime, with AutoHop, which allows users to record up to 500 hours of high-definition (2,000 hours of standard-definition) programming while skipping all the ads.

The latter feature, which helped the Hopper with Sling be named “Best in Show” at last month’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is at the center of ongoing litigation between Dish and broadcasters.

Sling technology is now built into each new-generation Hopper. It works by encoding and redirecting – or place-shifting – a live or recorded TV signal from the Hopper to Internet-connected iOS and Android tablets and smartphones.

While AutoHop continues to generate the most attention, Richard Greenfield, analyst with BTIG Research in New York, noted that the ad spot appears to advocate the elimination of the $60 billion TV advertising industry.

“While we firmly believe nobody is actively engaged watching commercials when they watch [recorded] programming, networks, ad agencies and advertisers continue to maintain that they do,” Greenfield wrote in a Feb. 11 note. “In turn, we believe the networks’ hope for C7 vs. C3 measurement is really missing the larger point that nobody is watching commercials on a time-delayed basis, with an ever larger portion of overall TV programming being watched non-live (via DVR, VOD, or SVOD).”

Greenfield said the the rise of SVOD services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video with broad catalogs of ad-free content is making commercial viewing even less appealing. SVOD service Hulu Plus does run occasional ads.


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