TV industry uneasy over PVR's ability to skip adverts

Technology we all want, but is it a good thing?

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Big-wigs from the television industry met in New York this week and all the talk was about ad-skipping technology that's making its way into PVRs.

Now, we may all press the fast-forward button through adverts but for the advertiser that's not necessarily a bad thing as technically eyes are still on the prize.

Recently, though, Dish Hopper has added functionality to its recorder range that allows you to ditch the adverts completely and it could well have far-reaching implications for the TV industry, especially if the tech ends up in more popular set-tops.

Speaking about the ability to skip adverts, Ted Harbert, the CEO of NBC Broadcasting, said the feature was completely wrong, explaining to the New York Times: "Just because technology gives you the ability to do something, does that mean you should? Not always."

This view was backed by Leslie Moonves, the CEO of CBS, who said about the chairman of the Dish Network, the company behind Dish Hopper: "How does Charlie Ergen expect me to produce CSI."

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Ad-skipping isn't a new idea as it was tested by TiVo years ago, but the fact it has reared its head again will be worry for TV execs.

The Dish Network announced the ad skipping feature just last week and sprung it on networks in the US, so they've not really had much time to respond.

But it seems this is an issue that may well be argued in the courts, given network's reliance on money from advertising – although it is unclear whether ad skipping does actually violate any copyright laws.

According to Dish Hopper, though, the fact you can record six streams of content through its set-top means that you "can actually get viewers more engaged with content, not less".

This is a bold statement and one which will be viewed carefully when broadcast rights for the company come up for renewal.

Via New York Times