Fox, Dish Settle AutoHop Dispute

Satellite Giant Agrees to Disable Ad-Skipping for 7 Days After First Air
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Dish Network and 21st Century Fox have settled their lawsuit over the satellite giant’s AutoHop ad-skipping feature, agreeing to disable the feature for seven days after a program originally airs.

Fox sued Dish over the AutoHop feature in 2012. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but in a statement Dish said an agreement had been reached.

“Fox Networks Group and Dish Network L.L.C. have reached an agreement resulting in the dismissal of all pending litigation between the two companies, including disputes over Slingbox technology and the AutoHop, PrimeTime Anytime and Transfers features,” Dish said in the statement. “As part of the settlement, Dish’s AutoHop commercial-skipping functionality will not be available for owned and affiliated Fox stations until seven days after a program first airs.”

 The satellite giant declined to comment if the settlement means other networks will get the same treatment.  

The AutoHop has been a key component of past carriage negotiations for Dish. It has agreed to disable the ad-skipping feature after renewing carriage deals with The Walt Disney Co. (which was not part of the 2012 suit) in March 2014 and with CBS in December 2014. Fox renewed its carriage agreement with Dish in January 2015 – and said at the time that the renewal would probably iron out its issue with the Auto Hop. But it still took more than a year to reach a settlement.

With CBS and Fox all reaching deal, that leaves Comcast’s NBC Universal unit as the sole litigant in the original suit without a settlement. NBC Universal declined comment.

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