It’s a story that’s been widely circulated in the industry.CBS, parent company of veteran web tech website CNET ordered them to nix their plans to honor DISH’s Hopper with Sling whole-home DVR with their “Best of CES” Award during the annual CES Show in Las Vegas.
CBS is tangling with DISH in the courts over the Hopper’s unique “AutoHop” capabilities that allow viewers to automatically skip over commercials while watching recordings of primetime network programming – something many viewers already do the “old fashioned” way by using the fast-forward or skip-ahead buttons.
Now it seems that CBS is not getting the kind of publicity they want as a result of this issue and it seems to be favoring DISH, perhaps even more so than if they had been given the award in the first place.
The whole situation does not reflect terribly well on CNET either since they could be seen simply as a CBS puppet by some. There’s little doubt that any reputation they may have earned for themselves as an independent editorial voice was dealt a pretty significant blow by CBS’s heavy-handed directive.
It appears that the whole issue came to light in the wake of CNET senior writer Greg Sandoval’s resignation from the CNET staff. Sandoval pulled back the curtain on the whole thing with a post on Twitter where he revealed his lack of faith in CBS’s commitment to editorial independence.
Perhaps the execs at CBS and the other big networks are just out of touch with the way people watch TV these days. Viewers have been skipping commercials since the DVR was introduced in the early 1980’s. I’ve been a die-hard commercial-skipper since that time and whether or not I can press a button a few times and skip commercials or have it done automatically is not going to change the fact that I will continue to skip commercials.
Isn’t there some kind of sensible way for advertisers to reach their audience other than relying on commercials? What about inserting products into the television programs themselves? You know, having one of the show’s stars sipping a Coke or something. This is something I’ve heard talked about in the past but have not seen much of so far. It would look quite natural since people do drink Coke and consume other goods in real life so it certainly wouldn’t be damaging to the storyline.
That is the kind of advertising I could live with quite happily. I would not expect commercials to disappear completely and if they are well-done enough and are entertaining and/or informative, I might actually watch them. At the present time I often feel like my intelligence is being insulted by the commercials being aired today. How many “dumb dad” commercials can viewers take?
This whole commercial-skipping thing is going to take a while to sort out. We all know how long it takes court battles like this to be resolved. I just hope the courts do the right thing and stand up for the consumer’s right to consume the products and services we pay for as we see fit.