Fox Is Hopping Mad About Dish 'On The Go' Feature
February 22, 2013

Fox Is Hopping Mad About Dish Network’s ‘On-The-Go’ Feature

Enid Burns for — Your Universe Online

News Corp's Fox Broadcasting is trying again to go after Dish Network. Fox has filed a court order to block the new "on-the-go" feature offered by Dish Network, that lets viewers watch live and recorded content on PCs, smartphones and tablets.

To block these actions, Fox sought a preliminary injunction on Thursday with the Los Angeles federal court. Bloomberg reports Fox alleges the service breaches its license agreement with Dish and infringes the network's copyrights.

"Paying Dish for a satellite television subscription does not buy anyone the right to receive Fox's live broadcast signal over the internet or to make copies of Fox programs to watch 'on the go,' because Dish does not have the right to offer these services to its subscribers in the first place," it said in the filing Fox submitted.

This is round two for Fox. Last year the network filed a suit to block Dish's AutoHop service, which allows viewers to skip over commercials of recorded television shows. The federal judge declined the action. This new suit is Fox's attempt at an appeal. It is a hope to continue broadcasting Fox programming to Dish subscribers, however not allowing the service to skip commercials, which are Fox's main revenue stream.

Newscorp owns Fox as well as a number of broadcast and cable networks including FX, Fox News Channel and Fox Sports. The largest offense for Fox is the viewers' ability to skip commercials during prime time programming.

Dish Network's "on-the-go," or Dish Anywhere, feature is an app that lets users program their DVR, watch live or recorded TV and watch on-demand programming. The service only allows for the "AutoHop" feature that skips commercials on certain content. The feature is not available for some shows, depending on the agreement that Dish has with the networks.

The new injunction is related to, but still separate from, Fox's earlier suit against Dish Network to block Hopper functionality on Fox programming, according to AllThingsD. Other networks have filed suit against Dish Network in the past year, protesting the AutoHop feature Dish Network offers on its Hopper service. In January, CBS filed an amended lawsuit against Dish Network over its Hopper DVR.

The most recent lawsuit follows Wednesday's earnings release from Dish Networks. The company's fourth-quarter earnings dropped 33 percent, Fox Business reported. The satellite cable provider dealt with subscriber losses during the Q4 period.

The losses may also be due to 2012 being an investment year for Dish Network. CNBC reported before the earnings announcement it expected a disappointing earnings announcement. Dish Network invested in its Hopper service to stop subscriber attrition and earn new subscribers.

Dish Network's Hopper feature may win over some subscribers. However if broadcast and cable channels are successful in their legal actions, or otherwise drop out of Dish service, it will be tough for Dish Network to maintain and grow its subscriber base. While 2012 was an investment year for Dish Networks, the interesting activity will happen in the next few months. Whether Dish can make deals with broadcast and cable channel providers will certainly add drama to prime time.