Dish and Disney Sign a Deal, Kiss Auto Hop Goodbye
Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and ABC-owned Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) have come to an agreement over Dish’s controversial Auto Hop feature that allows viewers to automatically skip all the commercials in some prime-time shows carried by the four major broadcasters, ABC, CBS Corp’s (NYSE:CBS) CBS, Comcast Corp’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC, and 21 Century Fox’s Fox. Although Dish and Disney have long butted heads over the ad-skipping feature, Dish has agreed to halt the use of it for ABC shows as part of a new long-term programming deal the two companies confirmed late Monday. The Wall St. Journal broke the news later that night, reporting that although the curtailing of Auto Hop is a major concession in favor of Disney, now, the deal is still appealing to Dish because Disney granted it online video rights to its flagship TV channels on terms that will allow Dish to launch an Internet-based TV service. That marks the first time Dish has been offered such rights.
The Auto Hop feature that Dish unveiled in 2012 has been a point of contention among major broadcasters since its launch, leading to many legal disputes that only recently got resolved. Broadcasters’ issue with Auto Hop, the feature that requires only one click to skip all the commercials in primetime shows, is that it has the potential to hurt advertising revenue, and now that the TV industry is getting tighter than ever, that’s a setback it really can’t endure. ABC was in the thick of litigation with Dish when the two parties finally came to an agreement, but with it, ABC agreed to drop its litigation against Hopper.