A day after CEO Leslie Moonves said CBS will not make programming available to Dish Network unless it drops a DVR service that can automatically skip commercials, the satellite operator’s CEO fought back. Dish CEO Joe Clayton charged CBS with being out of touch, while indicating that Auto Hop won’t be going away.
“Let me say this to Mr. Moonves and the broadcasters,” he said. “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.”
Livid at Dish for offering the service that records their prime-time fare and allows a consumer to swiftly knock out all ads, the Big Four networks have gone to court to thwart Auto Hop. It could be quite a standoff if Auto Hop continues and Moonves and Clayton find themselves at the negotiating table.
Dish would stand to lose CBS programming in huge markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, while CBS would lose reach that could impact ad dollars. Dish serves 14 million homes, although not all are in markets where CBS owns stations that Moonves could block unilaterally.
The folksy Clayton seemed to enjoy jabbing Moonves at an event tabbed the “War of the Words” -- a stunt to promote Glenn Beck’s new show on Dish.
“The fast-forward button didn’t kill the television business, Hulu didn’t kill the television business, nor did the VCR kill TV, in fact the industry has thrived,” Clayton said. “Will innovation like the Auto Hop improve the user experience? Of course it will. So will Hulu, Netflix and new innovative programming like (Beck’s network and liberal-leaning Current TV). We at Dish embrace the consumer, embrace change and embrace technology. We believe that giving the customer what he or she wants is always a formula for success.”
Beck and Current talk show host Eliot Spitzer will hold a debate televised on Dish the night before the first presidential debate.
Dish’s home page has a “Skip Commercials, Jump For Joy!” promo for a special offer for the Hopper DVR with Auto Hop.
“If they want to eliminate our commercials, we will not be in business with them -- it’s pure and simple,” Moonves told investors Wednesday. “We cannot produce an episode of a show for $3.5 million and have the people at Dish say: ‘We can pull out the commercials.’”