Dish lets subscribers skip the Big Game, watch the commercials

Getty Images

Getty Images

Dish Network has made a name for itself in the cable and satellite industry with technology that lets customers completely skip commercials. For this weekend’s Super Bowl, though, it’s letting them skip the game.

The company has announced a new temporary feature called “Reverse AutoHop” that will let subscribers who record the game skip all of the boring touchdowns and interceptions and focus on the real topic of Monday morning quarterbacks: The ads.

Like the commercial-skipping AutoHop feature, Reverse AutoHop will be available the day after the game airs.

Ad agencies, which (along with the major broadcast networks) have been fiercely critical of the AutoHop feature previously, are bullish on this reversal of the technology.

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“We have several clients running Super Bowl ads this year,and Dish’s creative technology means more people will see those ads,” said Bill Koenigsberg, president, CEO and founder of Horizon Media in a statement. “Making these entertaining ads ‘appointment watching’ after the game puts the brands front and center for an even wider audience.”

NBC, which will air the season ending match-up of the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots says it has sold all of the available commercial spots for the game, with brands paying up to $4.5 million for a 30 second spot. More than 100 million viewers in the United State alone are expected towatch the game.

This year’s game will see a lot of rookie Super Bowl advertisers, including Skittles, Carnival, Loctite, Moxie and

The move by the satellite company is an attempt to counter the growing number of people who watch or re-watch the ads through online services. Many advertisers, in an attempt to help their ads go viral, release them early on YouTube – and NBC has also announced plans to post the ads to a Tumblr page moments after they air on TV.

Dish’s AutoHop technology has been a bone of contention with its content partners since it was introduced three years ago. CBS and Disney have since settle litigation over the technology. Fox is still pursuing the matter in court, though, arguing that by allowing customers to skip ads during shows, the satellite service infringed on the network’s copyrights.

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Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court rejected portions of that argument, though it allowed some claims on whether Dish violated a contract governing distribution of Fox programming to proceed.

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