Satellite provider Dish Network recently released their newest DVR set top box and it comes with one feature that has sent shockwaves through the television industry. Aut0-Hop is an ad skipping service included with the Dish Hopper box. TV networks and advertisers, of course, hate this feature and want it gone. They are so upset, in fact, they are suing Dish to remove the feature.
Dish chairman Charlie Ergan says tv needs to change and advertisers must create more meaningful ads. Says Ergan
“Ultimately, broadcasters and advertisers have to change the way they do business or they run the risk of linear TV becoming obsolete. 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.”
I don’t think Ergan is doing this for some kind of altruistic vision of better TV. I think he put the feature in because customers love ad skipping and it gives his box an advantage over others. But he is right about one thing, TV needs to change.
The other obnoxious thing Dish is doing is fighting with AMC over fees AMC is charging Dish for it’s programming. This kind of fight goes on all too often and it’s always the consumers who get screwed in the end. Dish says they will drop AMC completely at the end of June unless a deal cam be made. Breaking Bad on AMC is one of my favorite shows and starts it’s final season in July. I really don’t appreciate being put at the end of the gun barrel in this situation. AMC ran ads on it’s popular Mad Men show telling Dish customers to call Dish and complain. Dish retaliated by moving AMC into no mans land on it’s channel line up. Back and forth we go.
Yes TV needs to change and in more ways than one. We have all the technology we need to make TV much better but the really big block is the lucrative and complex business deals cable companies and networks have. These relationships cannot be easily unwound and completely stop most progress in the industry. The TV folks are painfully aware of what technology did to the music industry, namely destroyed it. They are not looking forward to the same fate and so they have fought back vigorously. But I would argue while the music industry has changed drastically it’s in a better place now to grow into the future. That old model never had a chance against the unstoppable wave of technology and now at least they are on the other side and looking for ways to move forward. It’s the same with TV, they need to get to the other side of the model.