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May 15, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Ted Harbert

Besides unveiling its comedy-rich schedule of new programming for next season, NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert on Tuesday called for some fundamental changes in the way other companies approach the business. In particular, he took a swipe at Echostar and its corporate cousin DISH network for its introduction of a new DVR called The Hopper that enables users to skip commercials automatically — without having to use a remote to fast-forward through them. “Just because technology gives you the ability to do something does that mean you should?” Harbert asked, suggesting that if the technology catches on, it can have massive implications on the entire industry, including DISH. He also indicated that current DVR usage also poses fundamental problems for the industry. Currently, he observed, Nielsen’s ratings are principally based on the number of viewers who watch a show while it’s being broadcast and the number who watch within three days of its live broadcast. Harbert proposed that the ratings be derived not only from the number of people who watch a program over its first three days, but over the first week — and that it include people watching on smartphones, computers, and tablets.