A week or so back, Dish Network announced its automatic commercial erasing Auto Hop technology. I think most of us knew TV networks were not going to appreciate the feature in the least. Many TV networks have come out against Auto Hop suggesting that automatically deleting commercials from DVR recorded programs would upset the current ecosystem that pays for network television shows. What we may not have expected is to see cable companies come out against the feature.
That is exactly what has happened with Glenn Britt, CEO of Time Warner Cable siding with television networks against Auto Hop. Britt feels that Auto Hop could damage the existing ecosystem for programming and distribution that depends on advertising revenues along with subscriber revenue. If you were hoping your cable company would offer a feature similar to Auto Hop, it doesn’t seem that’s likely to happen.
The way the Auto Hop feature works is that it goes in after you record prime-time programs on major networks, deletes the commercials in those program’s later that night and allows the viewer to watch with no commercials at all rather than having to fast forward. According to Britt if this sort of feature becomes common, the reduced revenue has to be made up through higher subscriber fees or reduced TV show production. I still don’t think cable companies and TV networks understand people aren’t watching commercials already thanks to fast forward and recorded shows.