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Dish's New Ad-Skipping DVR Making Cable Execs Cry
NBC Exec Calls Natural Tech Evolution an 'Insult' to the Industry
by Karl Bode 04:47PM Tuesday May 22 2012
Dish recently introduced "Hopper," a new HD DVR system that will automatically skip commercials from the biggest networks. Users watching any recorded prime time content from ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC won't even have to press a button to skip the ads -- provided they watch them a day after they air live. Not too surprisingly, broadcast executives are somewhat miffed about the advancement. After criticizing the Nielsen Company for being "ineffectual in the face of technological advances," NBC Broadcasting chairman Ted Harbert recently called Dish's advancement an "insult" to the industry:
"...just because technology gives you the ability to do something, does that mean you should? Not always.

Here’s a good example that popped up late last week. Did you hear about the new Hop initiative from Dish? With their new DVR, you hit a button on the remote and all the commercials in a program just disappear. Gone. You don’t even have to fast forward through them. Please refer to my earlier comments about our ecosystem. This is an insult to our joint investment in programming, and I’m against it.”
Of course you'll note that what consumers want in this equation is nowhere on Harbert's radar, nor is the fact that most users are already skipping the ads for recorded DVR content anyway -- and executives are just kind of pretending that isn't happening. Making ad skipping easier for the consumer is just sort of a natural evolution, and what's insulting is the way technological improvements are stymied to preserve older business models, especially with the prices consumers are paying for cable services.

Update: Meanwhike, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt has also fired up the waaambulance over the new technology. "“I don’t think we want to destroy one of those revenue streams," said Britt, who recently has been criticized for being in the TV business -- but having no idea what the Apple Airplay is.

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