The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that sided with ad-skipping and against television networks on Wednesday. CBS, NBC and Fox brought a suit in May of last year against Dish’s Auto-Hop feature that skips ads on recorded shows. The court upheld a previous ruling (in November) that rejected a preliminary injunction against the device, saying that the networks owned the content being broadcasted, not the advertisements.
The ruling is not a final win for Dish. The case will move to trial — and its outcome will likely have effects on the mobile advertising industry, which is already butting heads with ad-blockers of its own. Google announced in March that it is no longer allowing ad-blocking apps in its Play Store. Previously, it had used less direct methods, such as only allowing manual proxies of the ad-blocking app for Android Adblock Plus. At Facebook’s Q2 earnings yesterday, mobile advertising removed doubts investors had about how the company could generate profits. It reported $1.84 billion in revenue, $656 million from mobile advertising (30% of the total).
Currently, “stores” (Google Play and iTunes) for applications are considered domains of the operating software provider; they have control over what they can approve to be distributed there. But as mobile usage becomes more common, will the mobile companies be required to allow other avenues for apps, including add-blockers? If so, the cash cow the online media industry was betting on could be disrupted. Expect similar court battles in the mobile realm.