DISH’s Ad-Skipping Feature Leads to Lawsuits


ENGLEWOOD: DISH has filed suit against ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC in federal court seeking a declaration of legality regarding its AutoHop feature, which allows subscribers to automatically skip advertisements.

DISH is asking the court for a declaratory judgement on whether or not the AdHop feature infringes any copyrights that could be claimed by the major networks. Previously, FOX, NBC and CBS separately sued DISH on the grounds that the ad-skipping service violates their copyrights and contractual agreements to retransmit programming. DISH’s monthly subscribers pay a fee that includes significant retransmission fees that DISH pays to the major networks.

"Consumers should be able to fairly choose for themselves what they do and do not want to watch," said David Shull, DISH’s senior VP of programming. "Viewers have been skipping commercials since the advent of the remote control; we are giving them a feature they want and that gives them more control."

"We don’t believe AutoHop will substantially change established consumer behavior, but we do believe it makes the viewing experience better," added Shull.

"We respect the business models that drive our industry, but we also embrace the evolving nature of technology and new ideas," Shull continued. "Advances in the ability to measure and target viewership will give the entire industry—including advertisers—the ability to develop better programming, more effective advertising and deliver an overall better experience to the viewer."