CBS Quarrel With Dish Network ‘Hops’ Over To CNET

Mar 7, 2013 by

CBS has been entwined in legal battles with the Dish Network over its Hopper Sling. The Hopper allows viewers to skip over prime time commercials, which CBS disputes as being illegal. The battle has now spilled over into associated companies, including CNET, started by former-investor Halsey Minor and acquired by CBS in 2008. What started as a disagreement between a network and television provider may turn into a full-blown tech war if things keep moving in this direction.

CNET Shunned for CBS Association

For years CNET has had a strong partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association (CES) and thus has been largely involved in the annual CES International Consumer Electronics Show. The long standing friendship came to a sudden end in late January, however, when CES cut all ties with CNET as a result of the ongoing dispute between CBS and Dish Network having a direct impact on their association.

CNET had recommended Dish Network’s Hopper Sling to receive an award for being an innovative product—a recommendation CES agreed with. Not everyone was so pleased with the nomination however, and parent company CBS put its foot down according to the New York Times. CBS pulled rank and informed CNET that they could not award Dish Network for innovation on a product that CBS believes is illegal.

What’s the Big Deal About the Hopper?

The major networks are up in arms over the Hopper because they feel they are losing money, according to Tech Dirt. This is not entirely off base because advertisers pay money to the networks to air their commercials—this provides the networks with additional revenue. This strategy works because if people want to watch the TV program they will have to sit through the commercials. This means the advertisers will get the opportunity to sell their product for service while the network gets extra cash flow. What technologies like the Hopper are doing, however, is taking out the forced nature of commercials. If viewers have the option, chances are they will skip the commercials. If people aren’t watching commercials, advertisers won’t want to pay for commercials, and thus the networks will lose money.

Will CNET and CES Pair Up Again?

The Halsey Minor-started company, CNET has not said much about the breakup with CES. All that has been stated is that they look forward to covering all the news of CES and their convention, according to the New York Times report. Only once the CBS/Dish dispute is resolved can the conflict of interest that now exists for CNET be dispelled.

Jake Alexander is an avid blogger who loves to discuss technology and law. Follow him @JakeAlexander17 to see what else he has to say.

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