Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton says that ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC shouldn’t have a problem with his company’s just-announced PrimeTime Anytime DVR feature that automatically records the networks’ primetime shows, holds them for a week, and also streams them on-demand to computers, tablets and other mobile devices. But he doesn’t know. “I haven’t personally talked to every single one of them, but I’m sure they’re aware of it,” he says. He adds that Dish shouldn’t have to worry that it’s treading on their right to license TV Everywhere rights, or look-back VOD service to cable operators and online destinations such as Hulu. “This is no different than an opt-in for any DVR,” he says. I’m told that lawyers for the networks are reviewing the Dish service to see whether there’s a problem.
Clayton was in a buoyant mood, though, as he officially disclosed the news that had already leaked about his company’s powerful new DVR product — called Hopper — and Dish’s corporate makeover. In one of several announcements, the company says that it has a deal with HBO that makes Dish the first pay TV provider to offer the channel’s HBO GO on demand service to TV sets — not just mobile devices. People who don’t have broadband connections can have the shows delivered via satellite and stored on their DVRs. Dish also announced a plan to provide 12 megabit per second broadband service via satellite, primarily for underserved rural communities, for about $80 a month. The company beefed up its $10 a month Blockbuster Movie Pass streaming video service — now renamed Blockbuster@Home — with kids shows from Vivendi Entertainment, Cookie Jar, Lionsgate Films and Scholastic Media. And Dish expanded licensing arrangements to offer Spanish-language programming from Univision and music channels from Sirius XM. “The Dish brand will get back to growing in 2012,” Clayton says. “Today is a new dawn for Dish. We are relaunching our company.”