Ad-Skipping TV Box Could “Destroy The Broadcast Ecosystem” Say US Networks

A legal row over American TV advertising grew over the weekend after Dish Network unveiled their ad-skipping set-top box ‘Auto Hop’ on Thursday.

The feature which will automatically edit out adverts as it records shows has raised concerns among all the biggest American TV channels who claim that if no one sees the ads, their revenue will dry up and the quality of TV will suffer.

A spokesman for Fox – who are one of the broadcasters getting legal – said the ad hopping feature could end up “destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem”.

On Thursday Fox, NBC and CBS launched legal action against Dish, claiming they have recorded and altered versions of their shows without permission and Dish have replied by counter-suing those three channels.. and ABC just to be sure, in a bid to get a declaratory judgment that Auto Hop doesn’t infringe copyrights.

Dish, the third biggest pay-TV distributor with more than 14 million subscribers, unveiled the app – which comes as part of their latest digital video recorder – a couple of weeks ago.

The ‘Hopper’ is currently limited to just the four major US channels, Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC, but if it gains popularity it could filter down to smaller independent channels, who unlike the big boys, do not get transmission fees and rely solely on local advertising..

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