It is interesting to see Dish Network’s Hopper DVR, which possesses the controversial ad-skipping Auto Hop feature, emerge as a sticking point in the retrans stalemate between Dish and Hoak Media.
The carriage clash saw 14 Hoak stations go dark for Dish subscribers yesterday.
Whether detente would’ve been reached without the Auto Hop, which resulted in lawsuits filed by CBS, Fox and NBC late last month, is hard to determine.
Dish defended its product at length in its statement about the Hoak flap.
“Hoak doesn’t respect customer control. They are telling customers they must watch commercials,” said Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming for Dish. “Commercial skipping has been around since the advent of the remote control and we think Hoak has taken an incredibly hostile stance toward their viewers.”
Added Shull: “We believe customers have the right to record and watch purchased TV content at their convenience, and fast-forward over commercials. Why Hoak executives feel they can stop viewers from something they’ve been doing for years is a mystery.”
When I spoke with him this morning, Hoak President/CEO Eric Van den Branden said “a number of terms remain outstanding,” but would not comment specifically about the Dish DVR.
As much as it is despised by the content owners, surely many viewers like the product.
One reader, Connie Bulloch, commented on our site that not every Dish subscriber even has the thing.
She writes (all caps hers):
“JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE DISH DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE THE DVR. SO WHY IS EVERYBODY BEING CUT OFF?”