A day after CEO Les Moonves declared that CBS would take its
programming off Dish Network if the satellite company insisted on going forward
its Auto Hop commercial-blanking technology, Dish's president fired back,
saying the customer is always right.
Speaking at an event marking the launch of additional
political advertising on Dish, Joe Clayton said he had something to say to
Moonves and the broadcasters regarding Auto-Hop.
"They would be well advised to tune into the consumer. Give
the customer choice and control. Give the customer a better experience and
everybody wins," Clayton said. "The fast-forward
button didn't kill the television business. Hulu didn't kill the television
business, nor did the VCR kill TV."
Clayton asked, "Will innovation, like the Auto Hop, improve
the user experience? Well of course it will. So will Hulu, Netflix, and new
innovative programming like the current models we've shown you here today, TheBlaze
and Current TV. We at Dish embrace the consumer, embrace change and embrace
technology. We believe that giving customers what he or she wants is always a
formula for success."
When asked about whether Dish was prepared to go without CBS
programming, Clayton said "I think there should be a discussion and I think we
should both put what the consumers want at the top of the priority list, not
try to embrace the past, ignore technology and ignore what the consumer wants."
He asked the crowd at the event how many people in the room
skip commercials, and got a cheer. "Do you want somebody telling you what that
you can't skip commercials in the privacy of your own home? Are you kidding
me," he said. "I don't know how the courts will rule on this, but I know in the
court of public opinion we've already won this one."
On another commercial topic, Clayton endorsed the
addressable advertising Dish has been working on. "You can tailor the
commercial to the family unit that's watching TV," he explained. "Somebody that
wants to buy a Cadillac probably doesn't want to see the Hyundai commercial. Or
if you've got five kids, and I do, I don't like the Viagra commercials coming
up every other minute. Maybe you all do, maybe I will someday when I get a
little older, but let's be smart about how we target the American buying public
and give them what they want, not a bunch of trash. "
Clayton also said he wasn't aware of anything that would
restore AMC Networks channels to Dish.
At the press event, Dish announced that it was making Current
TV and Glenn Beck's TheBlaze available for exclusive free previews. After the
preview, the channels will be available as part of certain programming packages
and also a la carte.
Dish will also be staging a debate between Beck and
Current's Eliot Spitzer before the first presidential debate on Oct. 2.
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