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Media Companies Up Response To Dish Network's 'Hopper'

05/16/2012 | 06:59pm US/Eastern

-Broadcaster ready to fight new Dish technology

-Fox won't air Dish adds mentioning "Hopper"

-CBS CEO says industry could reach "tipping point" with Dish

(Adds details and background throughout.)

  By William Launder 

NEW YORK (DOW JONES) -- Broadcasters warn they're ready to fight Dish Network Corp's (>> DISH Network Corp.) introduction of new technology that allows viewers to skip advertisements on some of its digital recording devices.

News Corp.'s (NWS, NWSA) Fox Network became the latest television network to join the chorus Wednesday, warning it will no longer air any Dish Network advertisements mentioning Dish's "Auto Hop" technology or its "Hopper" digital video recorder. The feature allows subscribers to completely skip commercials while watching shows on DVRs, rather than just manually fast-forward them. Dish unveiled the feature last week.

News Corp. owns this newswire and The Wall Street Journal.

The move by Fox highlights how broadcasters are responding to new technology that risks undercutting their share of lucrative broadcasting and programming fees. Earlier this year, a group of broadcasters including Fox sued online TV start-up Aereo Inc., alleging the Internet-based TV service infringes copyright law and illegally distributes TV content without paying broadcasters for it.

Several television executives have already attacked the new Dish technology at this week's annual presentations to advertisers.

Earlier Wednesday, CBS Corp. (>> CBS Corporation) Chief Executive Les Moonves warned that broadcasters will "reach a tipping point" with Dish Network because of the hopper technology, which could result in canceling programming for Dish subscribers or renegotiating retransmission fee contracts.

"How does Charlie Ergen expect I produce CSI without advertisements?" Moonves asked in a conversation with reporters Wednesday, referring to Dish Network's Chairman and the popular CBS show.

The chairman of Comcast Corp.'s (CMCSA, CMCSK) NBC Broadcasting took aim at the move by Dish earlier this week.

"Just because technology gives you the ability to do something, does that mean you should? Not always," Ted Harbert said.

His comments were echoed by Paul Lee, President of ABC Entertainment, which is owned by Walt Disney Co. (>> The Walt Disney Company)

-By William Launder, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3412; william.launder@dowjones.com

Stocks mentioned in the article : DISH Network Corp., The Walt Disney Company, CBS Corporation
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