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Report: Dish Chief Calls DVR Ad-Skipping ‘Necessary’

8 Jun, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

Charlie Ergen, chairman of Dish Network, told The Wall Street Journal that its new ad-skipping DVR technology is “competitively necessary” to keep up with Internet video, which is threatening pay-TV, according to a June 8 report.

Introduced in May, Auto Hop allows Dish’s premium channel subscribers to skip advertising on recorded primetime network programming. Fox, NBC and CBS have filed lawsuits over the technology — with Dish countersuing — and media companies across the board have denounced the new feature.

Ergen told the paper that the broadcast networks have refused to run Dish ads promoting its DVR and their lawsuits and reactions are "more emotional than realistic.”

Explaining that networks need to develop more targeted ads to viewers, he warned that linear TV may become obsolete otherwise.

“I think the conversation is going to go a lot faster because now there is a risk of inaction as opposed to no risk of inaction,” he told the Journal. “If the ad is skipped, the consumer likes it, but it’s not necessarily good for me and it's not necessarily good for the broadcaster because I’m in the same ecosystem as him."

On June 6 Dish said subscribers in six states lost programming on 14 channels operated by Dallas-based Hoak Media, with Hoak seeking a 200% increase in retransmission fees and the shutdown of Dish’s Auto Hop ad-skipping DVR. However, one president of a TV station affected by the dispute said the issue was due to contractual language and not Auto Hop or the increase in retransmission fees sought by Hoak.

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