Steve Donohue, publisher of the Donohue Report, spends a lot of time combing through U.S. Patent Office files for hints about what the future of digital media holds.
His latest find? A patent that could allow Dish Network subscribers to earn “credits” for watching ads that they then could exchange to get free access to premium and pay-per-view content.
Engineers Eric Holley and Fred Tuck recently won a patent for the “Credit-based television commercial system” that Donohue speculates that it could be used to augment Sling TV revenues from subscribers. Sling TV currently generates significantly lower ARPU than does Dish’s traditional pay-TV service, a growing problem since the over-the-top play – which reportedly has more than 600,000 subscribers and is projected to reach two million by the end of this year -- is gaining traction as Dish’s pay-TV service is hemorrhaging subscribers.
Here’s a link to an abstract and overview of the patent.
The wave of the future? Perhaps one of many options as publishers and content owners look for new ways to monetize over-the-top services that won’t push viewers away.
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