One of the most basic business strategies in hyper-competitive markets is to provide some extra bit of added-value to the common base product. US DBS provider Dish is trying that, with an upgrade to their DVR service that lets viewers skip the ads in recorded TV programs.
For the last few weeks, Dish has offered a service that provides subscribers access to the last eight days of prime-time broadcast network programming. Included in the service is "Autohop" technology, which identifies and skips inserted commercials. Dish hoped to make the service somewhat network/advertiser-friendly, by turning on the Autohop feature at least a day after the initial program airing, allowing the program to be included in ratings measurements.
That may not be enough, however. As Nielsen seeks to include delayed or shifted program viewing, the networks fear that Dish's ad-stripping may hurt ad revenues.
The actual legal strategy, though, is based on evolving standards of "fair use" and copyright. Courts have repeatedly sustained the fair use rights of individuals to time and place shift legally acquired content. The networks, though, are arguing that the recording is not done by the individual, but by Dish; also, it is an action that is commercially beneficial to Dish. As such, they contend that Dish's actions are not covered by traditional fair use standards. It's an argument that has some merit, as well as a precedent - an early competitor to Tivo as a stand-alone DVR offered a similar service, only to lose that copyright challenge.
Source - Broadcasters sue Dish over ad-skipping DVR service, Broadcast Newsroom