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AutoHop, Not Aereo, Offers Consumers Impetus to Cut the TV Cord

January 07, 2015

​Fenwick & West copyright litigation chair Laurence Pulgram was quoted in a Law360 article regarding Dish Network’s Sling TV service emerging as the leading potential game-changer in the way consumers view content online. Sling TV is an inexpensive streaming option that, for the first time, includes highly popular sports networks like ESPN.

According to the article, Dish’s Hopper ad-skipping technology, which has withstood challenges in various courtrooms, was the lever Dish needed to persuade Disney, whose ESPN content Sling TV will be “channeling” to cut the deal.

For a while, it appeared that Aereo, which launched a month before Hopper in early 2012, would have the greatest impact on how TV content was packaged. But its business model, which depended on redistributing television content without paying the multibillion-dollar fees required of cable and satellite companies, was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court this past June.

Dish’s Hopper, on the other hand, has survived legal challenges, being ruled merely a modification of existing DVR technology.

“The wins that had been collected by Dish on AutoHop certainly gave it the leverage to get the networks to the negotiating table” said Pulgram. “Then collectively, they found a far better solution.”

The full article is available through the Law360 website (subscription required).