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Broadcast Industry Wades In On Dish Network's Hopper

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the biggest-skip dept.

Television 194

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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194 comments

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lol niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40022781)

Niggers, niggers, niggers, butts butts.

Ads (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40022867)

What I've always wondered is will google pay me to have a sig that says "SMOKE MARLBORO"?

And is that even legal?

Re:Ads (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023067)

EAT HOT GRITS YOU STUPID motherfucker.

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Don't do that. (5, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022795)

If you skip ads, you stand with the child pornographers.

Re:Don't do that. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40022817)

and you also support feeding baby seals to terrorists

Re:Don't do that. (2, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023113)

Seals are around 25% fat [self.com] . A mere 28 grams (that's like a SPOON of it) contains 11% of your recommended daily fat intake.. Feeding them to terrorists might not be such a bad idea. Feed em seal for a month, terrorist dies of a coronary.

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

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022857)

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?

Re:Don't do that. (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022955)

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:Don't do that. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023035)

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.

Re:Don't do that. (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023425)

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

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

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023883)

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. (3, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#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. (5, Interesting)

Torg (59213) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Don't do that. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40024531)

Welcome to the "free market" - where you just don't get a choice. Funny how that works.

You have a choice not to sit and watch tv ass hat

Re:Don't do that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023073)

Comcast had that 30-second skip feature. Then they changed it to five minutes and made it unusable for skipping commercials (great for the softcore on the premium channels though).

Re:Don't do that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023925)

Totally agree... I pay for a DVR, specifically to avoid the bloody adverts.

Re:Don't do that. (4, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Don't do that. (-1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023111)

No, you stand with the pirates as you are a thief.

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023381)

Those who cheat the public out of public domain media are also thieves.

Re:Don't do that. (1)

mtm_king (99722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024073)

Those who cheat the public out of public domain media are also thieves.

When I get mod points I will come back and mod your comment Insightful.

Re:Don't do that. (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023825)

If you stand with the pirates you are a Pastafarian. All hail his Noodley Appendage.

Re:Don't do that. (1)

Phoobarnvaz (1030274) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023445)

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.

Then maybe they shouldn't charge CATV/Sat (2)

htnmmo (1454573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022823)

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.

Re:Then maybe they shouldn't charge CATV/Sat (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022883)

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.

Re:Then maybe they shouldn't charge CATV/Sat (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Then maybe they shouldn't charge CATV/Sat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023023)

The networks would.

Your local television channel?

That's another story. What are they going to do?

Re:Then maybe they shouldn't charge CATV/Sat (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023511)

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

Shades of Adnix and Preachnix (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Shades of Adnix and Preachnix (4, Funny)

htnmmo (1454573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022881)

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. :)

This the same DISH that drops channels all the tim (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022877)

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

Re:This the same DISH that drops channels all the (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023079)

Seems like a nice leverage. Who would miss them anyway? Adapt or die...

Re:This the same DISH that drops channels all the (5, Informative)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:This the same DISH that drops channels all the (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023247)

One of the Big 4?!?!?!?
Which one are they going to drop?
Discovery?!
Food Network?!
History Channel?!
or
Comedy Central?!

That will suck.

fox,cbs,nbc,ABC (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024163)

fox,cbs,nbc,ABC

keeping up with the netflix generation (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022887)

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.

Re:keeping up with the netflix generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40022923)

Hulu is not ad free. Hulu is "here are a some short ads" with the promise of basically being television in the future.

Hulu disappointment (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023007)

True, but I've noticed that over time, the ads have gotten longer and longer. When I started watching Hulu way back when, most ads were only 15 seconds long. Now, it's quite common to get 1:00 ad breaks, and I've had some go as long as 2:00 (and I'm not talking about the ones that sometimes pop up at the beginning of shows that let you watch the rest ad-free, these are in mid-show). Plus, they've started playing around with stuff that requires you to interact with the ad, such as the "Which ad experience would you prefer?" (I don't CARE, it's all just noise to me.) Or the "Which of these movies have you seen in the past seven days?" interstitials.

It's not surprising, since Hulu is owned by the broadcasters. Still, I was hoping that they would keep the ads short and really be revolutionary. When they were, I actually diligently tuned in to all of them because 1) I felt kind of obligated to since they were providing a valuable service, 2) they were MUCH less obtrusive, and 3) with a 15-second ad, you really don't have much time to do anything else. Now, though, I regularly walk away from the computer for a few minutes, then backtrack to where the show picks back up, kind of like how when ads come on "regular" television (which I hardly ever watch), I would get up and get a drink or go to the bathroom.

Oh well, just goes to prove yet again that there is little that is cool that Hollywood can't screw up royally.

Either pay or ads (5, Insightful)

benb (100570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022893)

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.

Re:Either pay or ads (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022961)

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 (3, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Either pay or ads (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023119)

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?

Re:Either pay or ads (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023321)

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.

Re:Either pay or ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40022971)

Must be nice. Here you can have free TV with ads, pay TV with ads, or "premium" TV (HBO, Showtime, etc.) with no ads (but you have to have pay TV with ads to get the pay TV with no ads).

Or you can just buy the stuff outright after they are released on DVD, iTunes, etc.

Re:Either pay or ads (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023249)

Or you can just download it off of a torrent or usenet without any of that crap. That would be wrong though, you're supposed to bend over and grab your ankles for the media companies.

Re:Either pay or ads (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023001)

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.

Re:Either pay or ads (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023053)

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:Either pay or ads (1, Troll)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023633)

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.

Re:Either pay or ads (0)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023695)

God forbid there be a happy medium.

Re:Either pay or ads (3, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Either pay or ads (3)

slashrio (2584709) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024445)

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.

Re:Either pay or ads (4, Insightful)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024159)

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.

Re:Either pay or ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023251)

The flaw in this analysis is the assumption that advertising creates excess revenue not necessary to run the business. Without more, this question cannot be accurately assessed. But, given the huge revenue stream created by advertising, it is likely that without it the associated businesses would fail unless they found another revenue stream - e.g. charging more directly to consumers for the base service.

So the question is not simply "pay or ads" it is "how much do the businesses need and where will that money come from?"

I cannot say what real effect this technology will have, but I prefer obscure technologies that require some configuration and are not perfect such that they fulfill my purpose (skipping ads) while failing to catch on with most people. That way my television is cheap AND ad-free and those unable or unwilling to adopt ad-skipping suffer the consequences.

Re:Either pay or ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023275)

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.

Sky is a pay-tv yet has ads.
Free to air channels (public channels) in general shouldn't have ads because your taxes pay for them yet they do.
The only channel I know of that doesn't have ads is Arte (a franco-german cultural free to air channel).

Re:Either pay or ads (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024149)

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 wonder where the money actually goes? I suspect it's not going to the same entity that the ad revenue goes to. Basic cable is not a place to make a lot of money.

cynic (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022911)

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.

Re:cynic (1)

EvilSS (557649) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023055)

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.

Re:cynic (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023131)

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

Pretty sweet deal.

Re:cynic (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023951)

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

Inside View (4, Informative)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Inside View (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40024153)

And good riddance. I don't mind being advertised to; I'm a supporter of capitalism and I'm a consumer of many different things.

But unless Coke is doing something new and exciting, I don't need to be reminded that they're still here.
Bud Light is sold in every establishment that I've ever been in that has the license to put a beer in my hand.
I know Mc D's is still around, there's more of them around here than there are Starbucks.

I don't watch that much TV anymore, but it feels like most commercials aren't actually advertising to me. They're waaaay too loud, too frequent, and it feels like each show has slots for 20 commercials but only 7 sponsors.

Alas poor broadcast television (1)

Zaelath (2588189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022935)

I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.

Dish alone isn't a huge problem, but between PVRs and this how do you convince advertisers (that pay for the content) to keep advertising?

I know /. tends to think of any media industry legislation as overreaching, and mostly it is, but this trend really does have the potential to kill all "free to air" television. I include ad supported cable channels in that description, since basic cable prices pay for the cable service and not the content.

Re:Alas poor broadcast television (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023287)

You do know that the cable companies pay those channel owners for that content don't you? And they pay through the nose too. And that cost is passed on in the form of a cable bill. Thus the cable subscribers do pay for that content.

Re:Alas poor broadcast television (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023333)

Here are a couple fanciful thoughts.

Thought #1: Stop wasting waste our valuable spectrum. Instead use the already existing communication buses running to nearly every home and feed off of cable/satellite subscription fees.

Thought #2: How about going with the public supported model used in public television where they run pledge drives, feed off of endowments and enjoy tax free status because they're a non-profit. Everyone gets to keep their jobs (well except the advertisers but I'd sooner see burn in hell anyway) and consumers get higher quality television that they actually want to watch.

A secondary benefit of either of these would be that product quality and value would increase because manufacturers would be forced to reallocate part of their marketing brainwash budget into the actual product to differentiate and compete.

Does anyone remember... (3, Insightful)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#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!

They saturated us with advertising ... (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:They saturated us with advertising ... (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023331)

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.

So.... (2)

ebunga (95613) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022975)

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

Re:So.... (2)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023063)

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 contract -> the TV networks, in this case, are selling something (your attention, time, etc.) that they do not own, nor can guarantee. The duplicity of these agreements ranks up there with that of credit default swaps.

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023109)

If they have X viewers, they might be able to figure out the number Y that actually views any given commercial in a statistical sense.

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023221)

You mean like cable television used to be ?
We've all seen how well that has turned out.

Commercial for you (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40022985)

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!

ReplayTV (0)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023013)

Remember the original big DVR war of ReplayTV vs. Tivo? ReplayTV had a commercial skipping feature, and fighting off the lawsuits basically dove them out of business.

Re:ReplayTV (1)

nwf (25607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024573)

Indeed, I loved my Replay TV. Not only the commercial skip, but that nothing was encrypted and you could suck shows right off the DVR onto your Mac or PC without much fuss. Heck, you could even stream TV FROM your Mac or PC to it. My brand new Verizon FiOS DVR is still years behind the Replay in terms of UI and ease of use, not to mention UI responsiveness. Sadly, I had to retire the Replay since it can't record digital TV and the interface with a cable box never seemed to work all that well for me.

Personally, I ONLY watch TV that's recorded, so making it easy to record seems like it would be in the cable company and content networks' benefit. But no, we get tons of DRM. No wonder I only watch like 3 network shows.

ReplayTV (0)

bryanp (160522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023015)

I see a replay of the lawsuit over the ReplayTV 4000 [wikipedia.org] (my first DVR way back when).ready to unfold.

Adnix (0)

InfiniteZero (587028) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023027)

Carl Sagan would be pround.

Re:Adnix (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023435)

Carl Sagan would be pround.

He sure woulnd.

Dish to sell commercials! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023197)

The way I see it soon Dish will be removing the networks commercials and replacing them with commercials that the advertisers paid directly to Dish to have you watch. I am sure they think why can't we get some of the commercial money too...

Advertisements are mostly double dipping (4, Interesting)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Advertisements are mostly double dipping (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023405)

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 out of that 8 minutes or so of ads in a half-hour show, the production company may see 2-3 minutes, the network gets 4-6 and the cable company gets 1-1.5 minutes. Obviously there's room for negotiation and different networks have different deals.

As for quality of programming, I think there's a lot of good stuff out there and it's not all on HBO. I'm certain a lot of it would never get made if the production company could only get financing from the network, or a rich uncle.

Re:Advertisements are mostly double dipping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023905)

They don't have to censor anything because of the FCC either.

None of the cable channels have to. South Park had an episode [wikipedia.org] where they said "shit" and even had a "shit" counter. Watched it on normal cable TV sometime around 2003-2004. The censoring is only to the over-the-air channels. The rest just need to bow to the whim of the advertisers and network execs.

Re:Advertisements are mostly double dipping (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024045)

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 cut out 15 minutes of commercials it wouldn't be such a problem, though CFB isn't quite as bad.
I can read a substantial portion of a book/magazine during all those commercials.

Homer Simpson knows (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023269)

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.

ReplayTV already tried this....... (4, Interesting)

JRock911 (848012) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Ads suck (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023543)

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 through the junk (how many home shopping channels does one need!?) to find something worthwhile to watch. And why isn't there an easy way to say "Show me only subscribed channels" - I hate scrolling through the program guide and finding a show that I want to watch, only being told "Sorry, you're not subscribed to this channel, contact us at 1-800-pay-more to subscribe!".

Netflix has its faults (like a lackluster streaming catalog), but it's $15/month well spent.

I'm not saying the industry should stop showing ads, I'm just saying that if they want me to view their content, they need to find a better way to let me pay for it other than interrupting my shows with ads. I'm not wedded to the TV, I'm perfectly willing to move to other forms of entertainment - if there's nothing on TV to watch, the Internet gives me endless possibilities for time wasting.

Re:Ads suck (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024103)

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.

Hey network assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023645)

Stop insulting me with your annoying, stupid fucking ads and maybe I'll consider watching them.

You have only one choice (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40023663)

Advertising must be destroyed. ...

Advertising, Gimli, son of Gloin, cannot be destroyed by any craft that we here possess.

Advertising was made in the fires of Mount Doom...only there can it be unmade.It must be taken deep into Mordor, and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

Queue the Blipverts (1)

djl4570 (801529) | more than 2 years ago | (#40023943)

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.

Dish: please follow this plan (2)

Dracos (107777) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Dish: please follow this plan (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40024169)

What will actually happen:
Network's won't sue, since Dish can actually fight back. Dish running ads saying "NBC is suing us to force you to watch ads" isn't going to go well for NBC.
Instead, NBC/ABC/CBS/FOX will make Dish pay through the nose next time their retrans contract is negotiated.
Everyone's bill will go up, and Dish looks like the bad guy for making customers pay more for local channels.

Original promise (2)

Koby77 (992785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024071)

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.

I'll be the devil's advocate (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024189)

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 watch their stupid ads in exchange for stuff.

All i am saying is by watching TV there's an implicit - not saying legal- agreement that at least the ads will be presented on that station, whether you get up to pee or channel surf or whatever during their broadcast.

I dunno, you have a lot of leeway to skip ads as it is but enough people sit there and watch them just because they're there to keep the business model able to make stuff. If you strip out the ads, then the business model is screwed and unless another one is created, like paid product placement (they're already doing that of course) then there will be no more stuff, until someone thinks of something better.

I am making something kewl (just totally kewl!) - software - right now. I find it's easy to be revolutionary in a domain if you don't care about economics. The REALLY hard part , the part I've really struggled with is making it so everyone involved on all sides of an n-part exchange can still eat and beyond that remains motivated to continue to make great stuff. I did at least as much reading on what the idea of "value" is, what markets are and how they actually operate in various domains and even what money is than I ever thought I would because just like seeing what has to happen to get your software to work, you start naturally to think about all these things when you think about asking people for money or making it worth their while to pay and for creators to create.

So TV has a business model that it's refined over generations. If it was a matter of buggy whips, then we'd be seeing people say "I don't want' to watch TV anymore". But that's not the dynamic here. It'snot that buggy whips aren't needed, it's that the economic model that supports their production can be gotten around.

If you like what's on TV- and I do like shows like Damages and Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey and Dexter and MadMen .. it's almost like we're in a golden age of TV or something.... I like those shows and those people gotta eat. We all gotta eat. I am not so motivated to get stuff for free if the price is paying only 10 bucks a month for Netflix or not circumventing some dumb ads for the obvious reasons- I want those shows to carry on.

OTOH I buy used CDs instead of new b/c I think the list on new is crazy and the artist gets screwed in that exchange, so there you go. Just thinking aloud now but I guess everyone has some price at which it's ust oo much, then they look to acquire the thing through some other way.

I am the only person I know who pays one legal way or another for virtually everything I have that is the subject of controversy with respect to mass unauthorized downloading. I suppose I have some screenshots of pictures which may be copyrighted in theory but then no one was selling those in the first place and I can view them online at any time.

I am not saying I am better, I am literally just thinking aloud. I think people take things when they want them and feel they need them but can't afford them. There's no point in getting your panties in a bunch over that, it's human nature and not provably a bad thing since they were never going to pay anyways.

I dunno. It's what I said. Why undermine the business model of the creators when it's really no skin off your nose? It's not evena case of whether you were ever going to buy product X, it's that advertiser X believes rightly or wrongly that the ads are worth paying for and that's how stuff get made.

OK don't go all holy warrior on me, this is an attempt to just turn over these ideas with a bunch of strangers who I just know disagree with me. It's an attempt to be academic as in "collegial" and not "moot"

How do they do this? (1)

jbburks (853501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024331)

Does anyone know how they identify the commercials? Do they have software that can identify them in the stream? Or do they pay someone to watch the shows and mark the time code to create an index to download?

Are we doing this shit again? (1)

Splat (9175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024371)

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 ...

It is not such a big deal..... (1)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024383)

With MythTV (Or Mythbuntu if you prefer), you can do exactly the same. It detects commercials (Fom any recording, not just four broadcastrers) and skipps them when you replay. And you can get Mythbuntu for free!

Re:It is not such a big deal..... (1)

nwf (25607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024599)

Except that on my FiOS link, it can't record a single show except a few public access stations.

Wades in? (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024423)

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.
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