Broadcast television executives came to New York this week, as they do every year, to talk up their new TV shows in front of advertisers.
This year, they are having to talk about yet another technology trying to tear them down.
The disruptive technology at hand is an ad eraser, embedded in new digital video recorders sold by Charles W. Ergen’sDish Network, one of the nation’s top distributors of TV programming. Turn it on, and all the ads recorded on most prime-time network shows are automatically skipped, no channel-flipping or fast-forwarding necessary.
Some reviewers have already called the feature, named Auto Hop, a dream come true for consumers. But for broadcasters and advertisers, it is an attack on an entrenched television business model, and it must be strangled, lest it spread.
“How does Charlie Ergen expect me to produce ‘CSI’ ” without commercials? asked Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of the CBS Corporation, in response to questions from reporters on Wednesday morning before his annual upfront presentation.
Ted Harbert, the chairman of NBC Broadcasting, struck a similar note at his network’s presentation on Monday, calling the Dish feature an insult to the television industry.
“Just because technology gives you the ability to do something, does that mean you should? Not always,” he said.Page 1 of 6 | Next Page