Advertisement-free TV shows | Inquirer Business
Corporate Securities Info

Advertisement-free TV shows

/ 01:59 AM September 14, 2012

How would you like to watch your favorite television programs without any advertisement interruptions?

For people who want to maximize their TV viewing time, a device that can make advertisements disappear from the screen without affecting the quality of the programs would be welcome.


Not so perhaps for those who look to advertisement breaks as a chance to go to the toilet, grab a bite, send text messages, or attend to simple tasks and still be able to catch the rest of the program.

A gadget that allows viewers to enjoy advertisement-free TV shows is now the subject of a court case in the United States that pits major TV networks against the company selling that instrument.


Early this year, Dish Network Corp., a company engaged in direct satellite broadcast service in the US, launched a digital video recorder that has a feature called “AutoHop,” which enables its users to watch TV programs minus the commercials.

The AutoHop can record select prime time features of major TV networks that subscribers can view at their convenience for eight days after they were aired without advertisements.

There were mixed reactions to this gizmo. For TV aficionados, it’s a “dream come true” for TV enjoyment without unwanted interruptions. Some parents have looked at it as means to protect their children from alcohol and fast-food advertising.


Not surprisingly, the TV network executives in the US are unhappy about this facility. They expressed serious concerns about its adverse effects on their principal source of revenue: advertising.

In a bid to prevent AutoHop from gaining public acceptance, CBS Corp., Fox Broadcasting Co., NBC Universal Corp., and ABC Corp. filed suit in a California court against Dish Network to stop its sale.

The TV stations argued that, first, the deletion of the advertisements violates Dish Network’s contract with them on the recording and re-broadcast of their programs; and second, the feature will discourage advertisers from buying air time for the promotion of their products and services.


With lesser advertisement revenue stream, the networks claim they are bound to suffer serious financial losses.

For its part, Dish Network stated that the TV audience had the right to control its viewing experience. Contrary to the plaintiffs’ complaint, the device does not delete the commercials but merely allows its users to “fast forward” the recorded programs without affecting their quality.

A consumer group that weighed in on the issue saw nothing illegal with the device and viewed it as an effective means to encourage more people to watch TV.


The TV audience in our country can relate to the issues involved in the AutoHop case.

For years, Filipino viewers have been made to suffer (and still does) the heavy load of commercials on free TV to the point that some prime time TV programs have been described as “advertisement series interrupted by news reports or drama scenes.”

It is not uncommon in many of today’s TV programs to have 10 to 12 30-second commercials that are aired three or four times, or roughly five to seven minutes each of continuous advertisement, in a one-hour show.

These breaks are in addition to station IDs and promotions of ongoing or future TV programs which take another two to four minutes.

Noticeably, many of the cable channels—which promote themselves as more in substance and less in advertisements—have gone the way too of free TV in their commercial revenue programming.

Of course, more advertisements mean more money for the TV networks to the delight of their stockholders. But it is doubtful if in the process the advertisers are getting their money’s worth from their expensive commercials.

What’s the promotional value of these advertisements when the TV viewers’ attention is focused elsewhere to take advantage of long commercial breaks?

It’s money down the drain if a commercial airs without its target market watching or, even if present, is multitasking while waiting for the lengthy advertisement spiel to finish its course.


No doubt, TV networks cannot survive, much less be able to present good programs, without the advertisements providing the needed financial support. The revenue stream from commercials is their lifeblood.

The problem is, some TV stations have gone overboard in packing their programs with advertisements that are irritably long or repetitive and, as a result, virtually push their viewers into getting off their seats and doing something else to make the most of their idle time.

The TV networks probably think that, since the majority of viewers of free TV do not have the means to pay for cable channels and therefore have no choice but watch their shows, they just have to bear with the heavy advertisement load. After all, beggars cannot be choosers.

The days of this “who cares” attitude are numbered. It will be just be a matter of time, regardless of how the court case earlier mentioned goes, before some enterprising Filipino businessmen are able to get the franchise to market the AutoHop or something similar in the Philippines.

Whoever gets the license to bring in that device in the country can look forward to a ready market. Relief is in sight for advertisement-weary couch potatoes.

(For feedback, please write to [email protected])

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Advertisement, media, Television, TV
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Curated business news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2023 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.