The ongoing war of words, lawsuits and ad bans for Dish Network's ad-skipping Hopper product got a new and deft wrinkle at Sunday’s Daytona 500 when the satellite provider slipped its logo onto the Fox network by sponsoring one of the race’s cars. Because Dish’s latest product -- Hopper, Whole-Home HD DVR -- allows for automated ad-free experiences and remote access to broadcast material, Fox is refusing to air commercials for the technology. The network also filed a lawsuit late last week to block Dish from giving users access to recorded DVR content over their smartphones and tablets.
Since Fox also refuses to air Dish commercials promoting the Hopper product, Dish has come up with a churlish way around Fox’s own ad-hopping move -- product placement. At yesterday’s Daytona 500, broadcast by Fox, Dish sponsored the Leavine Family Racing entry, car number 95, driven by Scott Speed. Unlike the typical NASCAR racer, the Ford Fusion car will carry only one sponsor logo, the Dish Hopper kangaroo. The move also slyly underscores the ad-hopping message of the Hopper product.
According to Reuters, Fox’s latest lawsuit contends that Dish is violating its carriage agreement in retransmitting its TV signals to devices. Hopper owners can get both access to DVR recordings on their smartphone and tablet Dish apps as well as access to the live TV feed on any of their service’s networks. An earlier attempt to get an injunction against the ad-skipping feature failed.
The Hopper now uses “Sling” technology that the parent company EchoStar acquired, which can send any media from a set top box to Web browsers and devices. The addition of this feature in early February embroiled the company in controversy since its introduction in early January at CES. After awarding the Hopper system a best-in-show award, CNET was countermanded by parent company CBS, which is also suing Dish over the platform.