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Dish Network Risks Biting the Hands That Feed Them



Dish Network is giving customers what they want — commercial free TV. The next sound you hear is that of network execs screaming.

The device that is causing all the ruckus is Dish’s Hopper, a DVR that allows you to automatically hop past all the commercials on a network TV show. You know, kind of like you already do with show’s you’ve recorded, only the Hopper does the work for you.

Understandably, the networks are furious. Commercials pay for the shows they produce. If networks don’t produce shows, then Dish Network wouldn’t have any content and they’d go out of business.

On the other hand, if Dish doesn’t keep their customers happy, they’ll go back to cable and again, Dish will go out of business.

Either way, they’re biting the hands that feed them. The question is, who has more clout, the consumer or the networks?

Dish is putting their money (literally) on the consumer. They know the networks will grumble, but in the end, it’s not like they’re going to stop making TV shows, though they could pull them off the Dish Network. The New York Times says that the networks are also offering Dish a taste of their own medicine by refusing to air Dish commercials. The Hopper ad is one of the most annoying commercials I’ve seen in a long time, so I’m behind the networks on that move.

The reality is, people skip commercials and when they don’t skip them, they walk out of the room to get a snack or use the facilities. Instead of fighting the Hopper, networks need to find new ways to engage the consumer. Instead of forcing an increasing number of commercials on viewers, networks should be rewarding them for their attention. Second screen apps are perfect for upping engagement. The Celebrity Apprentice app delivers the most points on questions asked during the commercials. If you want to win the game, you have to stay and watch.

What do you think? Is Dish making the right move by putting the customer in front of the client? Or is this going to come back to bite them someplace other than the hand?