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Disney CEO: ‘Great’ TV Programs Can’t Exist Without Ads

22 May, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Bob Iger

The Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger is the latest media executive to weigh in (sort of) on Dish Network’s new Auto Hop commercial-skipping DVR, which allows subscribers to skip ads on primetime network shows.

Speaking May 22 on Fox Business Network, Iger appeared to suggest litigation may be pending when he sidestepped talking directly about the new technology. The CEO said he would leave it to Disney’s legal team to issue an official statement on the Auto Hop.

Dish’s Auto Hop only works on recorded primetime network (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox) shows in high-definition. It does not work on live TV broadcasts.

Speaking generally about whether there exist alternatives to generating revenue without commercials to combat potential revenue loss from an ad-skipping DVR, Iger said media companies today can take programming and put it on new platforms and generate incremental types of revenue.

He said it is critical that TV platforms and content aggregators not only make space for advertisers and sell it appropriately, but that audiences see those ads as well.

“When it comes to advertising, certainly for our television network, ABC, and for our local stations, [TV spots] still represent the bulk of the revenue that they bring in, so supporting a great program like ‘Dancing With the Stars’ can only be done if you’ve got advertising,” Iger said.

Last week executives from NBC Universal and CBS criticized Auto Hop, calling for litigation and characterizing the technology an “insult” to the TV ecosystem.

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