Charlie Ergen is the Dish Network Corp Chairman.
Recently, Mr Ergen’s company introduced Auto Hop, a service that allows viewers to skip all commercials during prime time.
Not surprisingly, this has infuriated most of the major broadcast TV networks.
What is surprising though is how few ad agencies have stood up for Mr Ergen. When asked why his company was introducing the service, Mr Ergen said it was to force the networks to develop more meaningful ads.
Time-out. Mr Ergen wants the ad industry—networks and agencies—to develop more meaningful ads and for this he’s being sued by the broadcast networks?
According to Mr Ergen, “Ultimately, broadcasters and advertisers have to change the way they do business or they run the risk of linear TV becoming obsolete. I think the conversation is going to go a lot faster because now there is a risk of inaction as opposed to no risk of inaction.”
A risk of inaction. How can you not like that?
What Mr Ergen may have realized is something that this blog has been talking about for some time now. People aren't skipping advertising. People are skipping interruptions. And those interruptions just happen to be ads.
What Mr. Ergen is doing is eliminating the interruptions people hate.
But wait, you say, those interruptions are what are making him money. No, eyeballs are what are making him money. Eyeballs also make Google money. But Google doesn’t interrupt the viewer’s experience. And they make money through advertising.
Tons of it.
It’s called search. Which is the opposite of the interruptive experience.
We all know that some time soon, TV will have to go from the interruptive experience to the search experience. Up to now, there has been no impetus driving this action forward.
Mr Ergen has provided that impetus, by creating a financial risk of inaction.
For that, he should be cheered.