back to article Dish boss on ad-skipping service: 'I don’t want to kill ads'

Dish reckons the legal action taken against its ad-skipping service only proves it's innovating in the right direction and is ahead of its time. That's according to Charlie Ergen, the Dish supremo who told an AllThingsD conference in California that Dish was like Indiana Jones - always getting itself into impossible scrapes …


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  1. Silverburn
    Thumb Up

    ad skipping technology: Something you want to should about, because it's good tech, and ad avoidance is a good thing. But if everyone used it, Ads wouldn't see a benefit in funding stations/media any more, and the costs would have to go somewhere. So you can't shout about it.

    So i say - officially - down with Ad blockers.

    Unofficially...I'm off to my secret Ad-free lair...

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Paris Hilton


      As has been said many times before: if they were interesting (e.g.: Super Bowl), people wouldn't skip 'em.

      One can only hope that the proliferation of ad-blockers and commercial skipping will result in an increase in the quality of ads.

      //one can hope...

      1. Mike Flugennock

        Re: "an increase in the QUALITY of..."

        One can only hope that the proliferation of ad-blockers and commercial skipping will result in an increase in the quality of ads...

        WTF? An increase in the quality of... SPLURRRTHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...

        You bastard.

    2. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

      You say 'wouldn't see a benefit in funding commercial stations' as if it were a bad thing!

      There is almost always something better to do than watch tv, especially ITV.

  2. Turtle

    The Real Target.

    Although I have no research to prove it, I'd bet that "targeted ads" are generally (but not always) pretty useless in increasing sales, brand awareness, and so forth. "Targeted ads" are *really* targeted at gullible advertisers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Real Target.

      Amen to that.

      My experience of 'targeted' ads so far has been 100% for stuff I have looked at, sorted and is n longger worth talking to me about.

      Why tell me about a shop when I've already bought from there? Why tell me about 'special offers' when they are a) patently not 'special' and b) for stuff I am not interested in, just coincidentally available from the same outlet?

      What the hell is the significance to me, of what my Farcebook friends have been buying?

      I think I can say I have yet to see one targetted ad that is either relevant to me or for something in which I am still interested. The only thing I can glean from any targetted advertising is that the company doing it is probably not one with whom I would like to do business anyway. Who was ever a friend of the neighbourhood nosey parker?

      1. JayBizzle
        Paris Hilton

        Re: The Real Target.

        100% agree with this.

        Bought some new shoes a month ago and I keep seeing adverts for the same shoes. Perhaps if they want to get any value out of it they should look at what Amazon do.."users who bought this also bought...." that might work better.

        1. Suburban Inmate

          Re: The Real Target.

          And same here. I checked out the feedback of a buyer on ebay, and was then subject to a fortnight or so of women's fashion offers.

          For most adverts I have AdBlock and For everything else, I'm "ad blind".

          Gimp: Strangely, ebay didn't seem to offer up deals on BDSM gear that I remember.

        2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

          Re: The Real Target.

 Why should I give a rats arse that someone who has bought a pair of shoes also bought some haemorrhoid cream?

          Maybe they were a (very) tight fit.

  3. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    Dish was like Indiana Jones

    What a bit 80s? hahaha I'm on fire today!

    Joking aside it is a bit 80s really skipping the ads - just like good old Betamax!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dish was like Indiana Jones

      Did you skip them while recording (tough to manually get right every time) or on playback?

      My dad used to record (i don't even remember what it was) and had it down so that he could stop recording, rewind 10 seconds, and start playing 10 seconds before commercial-end, and hit record so that the heads never stopped. For 1985, at home, this was pretty good.

      1. Natalie Gritpants Silver badge

        Re: Dish was like Indiana Jones

        So he had to sit and watch the adverts while recording the program. Probably got good because he had to pay attention.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Dish was like Indiana Jones

        Ah, when my bruvver worked for HTV he let me into a little secret - when a networked programme was running, nobody at the regional studios would be watching it, so there was a series of timecode pulses counting down to the Ad breaks, and then another series ciounting down to the start of the next bit of programme.

        Some awesome electronics later (not my handiwork), and the VCR could be left to its own devices and would happily accept a pause signal while the ads were on.

        Of course I never really worked out why my VCR used to record all the programmes I didn't like while I was out and play them back while I was away on holiday, but that's another story

      3. LinkOfHyrule

        Re: Dish was like Indiana Jones

        I didn't have to worry about ad breaks back in the Betamax days - the only programme I was recording was Thomas The Tank Engine and it didn't have any ad breaks!

  4. AndrueC Silver badge

    but only a fifth of Sky viewing is time-shifted (the rest is live)

    Really? I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

    I've said this before - people just don't understand what a DVR is all about. I haven't watched live TV for many years now. I don't even watch F1 live although that's more out of habit than anything else and because even watching the finish live doesn't guarantee that you'll know the result immediately :)

    1. Jason Bloomberg

      People just don't understand what a DVR is all about

      Sure they do; it's unlikely that time-shifted 20% is from just 20% of users.

      What we have are some people who are not only happy to use time shifting but are also happy to watch as it happens, ads and all. I still find I fit my life around some programmes on at a certain time on a particular day even though I could time-shift them, and do if I can't manage to fit them in. Perhaps it's just habit or I'm subconsciously conditioned but it doesn't feel unnatural. For commercial channels I will often live-shift, start recording and watch a short time later so I can skip the adverts and be in real time when the program ends.

      Just because people aren't doing it the way you do, aren't time shifting everything, doesn't mean they don't understand what it offers. For sports; there's nothing worse than time-shifting and then some bugger telling you the result and how it was before you've seen it, so it's not always an absolute advantage.

    2. ElsieEffsee


      It's very, very rare I watch an advert now, using a DVR makes the pesky things a minor PITA that can be skipped at will.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      There are still a lot of viewers who just put the TV on when they come in from work, and let it play all evening, sometimes never changing channel at all.

      Whether that actually counts as "watching" is another question, of course.

  5. Lee Dowling


    If you advertise reasonably, I really wouldn't care. The problem is sheer greed at expense of the thing I purchased. Long adverts, multiple adverts, adverts smack in the middle of important broadcasts and events, adverts showing over my programs, adverts talking over my program (i.e. any jokes in the end credits are lost), adverts sponsoring the weather (and mentioning it all the time), adverts sponsoring programs (and having splashscreens and even - URGH - product placement in them), having the adverts louder than the program, having the adverts unskippable (on DVD, etc.), having the adverts be annoying / attention grabbing (GoCompare / Cilit Bang, though the Cilit Bang man has learned to tone his voice down a bit now).

    All these things just make me AVOID advertising and get in the way of the thing I *BOUGHT* (whether I pay enough for them NOT to have to do these things is another question entirely, I've still paid money for it, so I'm still a paying customer, and I'm still - therefore - entitled to a decent product). So I feel no sympathy about destroying their business by getting rid of their advertising.

    To me, modern TV advertising is the equivalent of plastering posters over people's cars and private houses for 100 miles around to tell people about your product, whereas it used to be about having relevant adverts in relevant places quite discreetly and covertly (the equivalent of putting up a poster about a local group in the local community posting board). Making me HATE your brand, before I've even bought one of your products, doesn't help you.

    On the Internet, I don't see much advertising apart from that that's done discreetly (looking at this very page now, I see a few "Play Flash" buttons that my browser has disabled by default, and a Jobsite ad which is below the page content, out of the way, discreet, basic and relevant. Do I object to or block Google Ads? No, for the most part they work that same way. Do I object to and block Flash ads, Java ads, popups, popunders, popovers, intermission screens where I have to wait and everything else? Yes. It's unnecessary, and it just puts me off and will stop me coming back to your site. I will also actually INVEST TIME in getting rid of you, which is NOT what you want as an advertiser because it will have a knock-on effect on your brands.

    Advertising is not about drowning out everyone else at the expense of the good name of your brand (you won't, all you'll do is annoy me). It's about a subtle, relevant insertion that builds up subconsciously ("Oh, yes, I've heard of Jobsite, maybe try them?") and might even be useful for me (e.g. ads for offers related to dedicated servers when I'm googling for dedicated servers! So long as they get the hell out of the way when I'm looking for "dedicated counterstrike servers with no queue" or whatever).

    So I feel no shame in blocking things (except I don't, for the most part, and certainly not because of the ads alone but the stupidity of running Flash/Java by default, etc.), avoiding things, and blacklisting brands that have annoyed me. They do a hundred times worse to me every day.

    1. SuperHoopMango

      Re: Advertising

      Annnnnnd breathe!

      Agreed that adverts are a major PITA....especially how they ramp up the sound levels.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Advertising

        ....especially how they ramp up the sound levels.

        Actually they don't as they're not allowed to. What they do do is apply dynamic range compression to the sound in adverts like it's going out of fashion. There are no "loud" bits, no "quiet" bits and the whole shebang comes out at "average" volume.

        When compared to the programme they're stuck in the middle of they seem louder, but that's only because they're more likely to grab your attention with the continuous stream of mid-level sound resulting.

        Whenever I start to think that ads are a PITA, I consider how much subscription telly would cost without them and then STFU a bit sharpish.

        1. SuperHoopMango

          Re: Advertising

          Well explained!

          So it only SEEMS like they're louder...and you are also quite correct on the fact that ads pay for commercial television. However, I struggle to watch much on those channels, and rely on good ole Auntie Beeb. And I pay for that already!

          1. Da Weezil

            Self defeating advertisers.

            Whatever they do is self defeating as ad breaks during live viewing in this house are always muted as a matter of course so the ads get ignored - but generally we "miss" the start of the show so we are time shifted by a few minutes and can skip thru the breaks.

            The more intrusive the ads, the more I resist... Its just the way I am wired - and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Advertising

          > I consider how much subscription telly would cost without them and then STFU a bit sharpish.

          Stupid thing is, over here in Canada, we *do* pay for our cable TV and it isn't cheap, yet we still are subjected to more ads than I ever saw in the UK.

          They really do take the mickey.

          I posted somewhere else that I though that "channel"-based TV would be a memory in 10 years. ALL content delivery will be on demand and there will be no adverts. For some reason, I was downvoted, but I still believe it. The Netflix/Lovefilm model *is* the future.

        3. Spanners Silver badge

          Re: Advertising

          they don't as they're not allowed to

          Where are you? They certainly do on TV around here ("midlands" - southern UK actually).

          I have heard that some people were trying to ban it in the USA. I suspect they will not be allowed to but good luck to them anyway.

          1. Al Jones

            Re: Advertising

            They call it the CALM Act - it was supposed to come into force a couple of months ago.


          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @ Spanners

            You are wrong.

            Morons succumbing to knee-jerk reaction might downvote or think they disagree with TeeCee, but he is correct. If you bothered to read his post he explains it well.

            Think about the inverse. The channel has a maximum sound level of 100%. Do you think they deliberately turn down the main programme to 70%?

            No. They don't. They don't do this in the UK because it is against the law.

            You need to adjust your attitude. Sometimes other people will know better than you.

    2. Anonymous Сoward

      Re: Advertising

      If you advertise reasonably, I really wouldn't care. The problem is sheer greed at expense of the thing I purchased. Long adverts, multiple adverts, adverts smack in the middle of important broadcasts and events, adverts showing over my programs, adverts talking over my program (i.e. any jokes in the end credits are lost), adverts sponsoring the weather (and mentioning it all the time), adverts sponsoring programs (and having splashscreens and even - URGH - product placement in them), having the adverts louder than the program, having the adverts unskippable (on DVD, etc.), having the adverts be annoying / attention grabbing (GoCompare / Cilit Bang, though the Cilit Bang man has learned to tone his voice down a bit now)

      Now come on! You cannot mention Go Compare WITHOUT mentioning that sorry excuse for an ad called Confused Com screeching at me with a butchered version of the YMCA song, Stephen Hawking PLEASE BRING A BLACKHOLE AND SUCK THEM UP PLEASE!!

      Now that would be a bigger Ha ha ha!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I seem to be confused - do we wants ads kipping?

    What use is a sleeping ad, unless it's for a bed

    ***so poor is that pun, that I went anon

  7. sorry, what?

    Skipping ads used to be better

    My massively old PVR, a Pioneer DVR-930 (, had a great feature that I sadly miss on the Virgin V+ and Tivo boxes: timed interval skipping (both forward and backwards*). I always used to skip forward 4 minutes and then tweak as needed. I also remember reading about some Humax devices with specific ad skipping technology. Nothing new here.

    As to watching "live" - I find it so tedious to have to wait through ads I'll pause live TV, go do something else for 15 minutes then start "chase play" watching the programme, skipping the ads as they come. If I want to watch an ad I'll find it on the internet thanks.

    * Yes, I know that both can skip back a few seconds and that the Tivo does have some time skipping features but I've never figured out how to use these to jump ad break sized intervals.

    1. Brangdon

      Re: Skipping ads used to be better

      Tivo has a 30-second skip. To skip 2 minutes of ads, press the button 4 times. It's really not that hard to figure out.

  8. JimmyPage
    Thumb Up

    Could this be an end

    for the business model where the broadcaster gets paid by the advertisers AND the viewers ?

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Could this be an end

      I'm atheist, but that's one thing I'll be praying for. It's already driven me away from cable TV

  9. HamsterNet
    Thumb Down


    If its Free then I don't mine an Advert as I am the product that the company is selling. Fairs fair.

    But if I'm paying then I dam well do not want to be advertised at. What's the point in paying for a product and being the product?

    Guess what I don't have Sky. My TV is all downloaded in one way or anther and only the Wife watches live TV and even she pauses and skips through the junk advertising.

  10. Maverick


    I see so many adverts on here I like to skip those as well - I mean if I have to watch another damned Miranda ad I WILL scream and boot the TV

    now all I need is a solution for radio ads!!


  11. MrWibble

    People skipping the tradition ads (the ones in between programmes), will only lead to more "in programme promotion".. I'm thinking especially about the ruddy huge popups on screen (usually advertising the programme after the one you're watching).

    Worse still, is the Indian way (I think). Watching cricket there, and the screen shrinks to a 1/4 size, and they thrust adverts into your face. Whilst the play is ongoing. And then break for "proper" ads at the end of the over too...

    There must be a better way to fund commercial telly, but buggered if know what it is!

  12. Chris007

    Small waiting time to avoid ad's on Sky

    If a [commercial] program is starting at say on the hour, I'll generally watch the news/sky sports news until their first commercial break then play the program by the time of the next on the hour I've watched it and skipped through all the ad's

    If it's a film or 2 hour program then I'll wait 30 minutes

  13. JeffyPooh

    It's not "The End of The World As We Know It"™

    My PVR is made by EchoStar (Dish). You push the button and it skips ahead about 29 or 30 seconds at a time. So you get to see each and every commercial; for about 800 milliseconds each. Perfect.

    99% of the time the ads are obviously the same old boring underarm deodorant ads, so I keep pressing Fwd. But if I happen to spot (for example) a 4Matic Mercedes driving across a frozen lake, then I'll press the 10s Back button to find the beginning of the ad and I'll watch it; perhaps even twice. Volkswagen ads are also typically worth watching.

    I save time. I'm not bored. I still see the ads for products and services that I might actually be interested in. Win-win-win.

    No downside, unless you're thick.

  14. SuperHoopMango

    Seeing an Ex in an ad!

    Now, on my BT Vision box, I can skip forwards by 30s and miss large chunks of adverts....

    but that STILL doesn't prepare you for the shock of seeing an ex in an advert!

    <<< She looks a bit like him too!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seeing an Ex in an ad!

      "<<< She looks a bit like him too!!!"

      I wouldn't complain - you started dating her in the first place, eh?

      I've always wondered about that, actually - people tearing up their exes like there's no tomorrow. "It's clear to any idiot that she's an ugly, selfish, stupid, heinous bitch! She has NO REDEEMING FEATURES! She's crap in the sack, ugly, and the most bald-facedly hideous hag that you ever saw! She kisses like a bulldog, shits like a trucker, and you can smell her filthy stench a mile away!"

      Then why'd you get together with her, genius? :P

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seeing an Ex in an ad!

      As long as you don't see them on crime-stoppers, or cops...although seeing them on mugshots.TLD can be so satisfyingly amusing.

  15. teebie

    "like Indiana Jones"

    The quality falls rapidly with the addition of monkeys?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "like Indiana Jones"

      Somebody always gets killed by a swarm of something small?

  16. John Lilburne

    How does it go we skip the ads, we torrent down the shows, there is nothing new on TV its all repeats.

  17. Da Weezil

    The ore intrusive the ads - the less TV I will watch. Its their choice!

    I am not a marketing opportunity.

    1. Silverburn
      Thumb Up

      Indeed. Witness a recent "1 hour program" I watched the other day.

      10mins of program, 5 mins of ads. repeat a further 3 times.

      I downloaded it on itunes later in the year, and without the ads the program was only 38 minutes long. So in one hour, 37% of my viewing was ads. In some US stations, this can be even higher.

      Needless to say I download more now, and watch TV a lot less.

  18. Dana W

    Not had a TV signal since 1999. Why? The ads. I go out of my way to avoid buying things that bombard me with unavoidable ads.

    My only interaction with TV since then has been to own a series of TV-B-GONE Pro boxes.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem with commenters' valuable business advice here is this: You, Reg readers, are not the target audience. We're a tiny percentage of the market, and were written off a long time ago.

    "I don't watch any ads" is meaningless as far as this issue goes - the question is not what you do. The question is not whether you don't like anything on TV anyway, or whether you use adblock in Firefox, or whether you don't have a TV. Advertisers don't give half a rat's ass about you, because you're not going to be swayed by their ads even if you see them.

    Advertisers are concerned about the other 95% of the population, who do watch TV, who don't use adblock, and who do for some reason think that the ability to kill 99% of bacteria is a useful benchmark with which to choose kitchen cleaner.

    It's not possible to have a sane discussion about the business decisions involved here if you decide that everyone in the world is just like you, and that therefore the people who make their living doing this are, every single one of them, complete morons who haven't even considered the most basic aspects of their own business. Is it more likely that's the case, or is it more likely that the majority of the population don't behave like the average Reg reader?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sane discussion?

      Oh no, that's next door. It's being-hit-on-the-head lessons in here.

  20. Spoonsinger

    Re:- like Indiana Jones.....

    not a good analogy if you use 'The China Problem', (South Park Season 12, Episode 8), as a reference point.

  21. Anonymous Сoward

    Only a fifth skip ads when being played back from the Sky Planner, really? check the math, something doesn't add up...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My old ReplayTV DVR used to have built-in auto commercial skipping that worked like a dream. It worked so well that all of the major networks sued them into oblivion over it (and their sharing feature).

    How could Dish be surprised they're going sued after what happened with Replay?

  23. rcorrect

    Not sure what the problem is with advertisements. Personally I am grateful for them and the declining quality of TV programming in general. Without the mindless onslaught of advertisements my TV would never have been dropped from a balcony at 3am. It just got to a point where I asked myself if I was really enjoying the experience anymore. The answer was no. Still adapting but Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Dramatica help to avert boredom. Sadly TV sucks. The internet doesn't -- yet.

  24. Zog The Undeniable

    Sky - paying for adverts

    I confess to being surprised when I subscribed to $ky and paid handsomely for the privilege of seeing even more adverts than on ITV. VH1 was unwatchable because they crammed all their adverts into peak hours (with none at late night) to get round the 10 mins per hour limit, meaning it was about 20-30% adverts if you just wanted some music videos.

    Only the movie channels avoided adverts (at least during films) but they cost a shedload, the pricing structure being geared towards making you pay for the full monty rather than just selecting what you want (if you add either movies or sport, having everything costs very little more, and I definitely didn't want sport).

    Eventually I unsubscribed because satellite TV turned out to be a prime example of Sturgeon's Law.

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