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Dish, Broadcasters Go to War Over Ad-Zapper

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to the cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and the combination of CBS, Fox and NBC are setting up a court battle over AutoHop, a new feature for Dish's Hopper HD-DVR that skips commercials captured by PrimeTime Anytime, a service that automatically records the primetime slate of the four major broadcasters. The broadcasters say AutoHop is a copyright violation, claiming Dish doesn't have the authority to tamper with their ads. Dish, meanwhile, is seeking a declaratory ruling that its "user-enabled" AutoHop feature does not infringe copyrights that could be claimed by the networks, holding that the ad-zapping element is in compliance with Dish's retransmission agreements. (See Dish Sticks It to the Broadcasters .)

    As an ironic side note in this case, Dish is whining that CBS, Fox and NBC have rejected ads promoting Dish's Hopper HD-DVR.

  • Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and U.S. Department of Justice that he has "real concerns" about Verizon Wireless 's proposed deal to acquire Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum from four cable operators. He wants conditions placed on the deals, as he's worried that they give the mobile carrier too much market power and could cause Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) to put less energy into promoting and distributing FiOS services, which, of course, compete with cable. Verizon Wireless and its cable partners have already introduced service bundles in several markets, but have so far avoided launching them in FiOS markets. (See Comcast/Verizon Combo Steers Clear of FiOS and Verizon Wireless & Cox Tag-Team on U-verse.)

  • Knology Inc. (Nasdaq: KNOL) shareholders are set to vote on the proposed US$1.5 billion sale to WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) on June 26 in Atlanta, reports Multichannel News. WOW's proposal is $19.75 per share in cash. (See Whoa! WOW Buys Knology for $1.5B .)

  • Pressure groups Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge have come to the defense of Aereo Inc. , which is facing lawsuits from broadcasters over a service that takes in over-the-air TV signals and relays them to subscribers over broadband. The consumer advocates, like Aereo, claim the service does not violate copyright rules because it provides customers with access to their own individual antennas, hence meeting the "public goal of preserving the ability of viewers to watch free-to-air TV." (See Aereo's Service Wins a Reprieve (for Now).)

  • Roku Inc. users are gaining access to more than 50 international programming channels starting at $19.99 per month after the streaming set-top maker struck a deal to offer the DISHWorld service. The deal means Roku customers can subscribe to these programming packages without having to also take Dish Network's satellite TV service.

  • Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) has closed the sale of its stake in Australia-based satellite TV service provider Austar Entertainment Pty. Ltd. to Foxtel for about $1.1 billion.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    steve q
    steve q,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/5/2012 | 5:31:54 PM
    re: Dish, Broadcasters Go to War Over Ad-Zapper

    I  ? is to those customer that are leaving the cable company and moving into verizon Fios what will happen will comcast make a deal with those customer to just make it hader for Fios which is the main source of the new 4g for the Verizon Wireless. Comcast does not let any one move into a area with out a game play and that happen with the NBC deal, And Verizon Wireless will  get what they need to help push the 4g but that will not help in the area of the customer home you need more power and that is only in the form of Fios . With everything needing more data and with the problem of Verizon wireless and the new deal that they did with  Viewdini you'll be able to access content from Comcast Xfinity, which is other way of saying Verizon Wireless is looking into the cable company and not there own. And Comcast is using Comcast give wi-fi a voice which is going agaist verizon in it own voice service that still work off copper and know with Fios so this is the end of Verizon Fios and the start of Verizon Wireless /Comcast.

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