Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton picked up the gauntlet that Leslie Moonves threw down yesterday when he threatened to pull CBS from the satellite system if it continues to market its ad-zapping Hopper DVR. “They would be well advised to tune into the consumer,” Clayton said at an event introducing an October 2 broadcast debate between former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and commentator Glenn Beck. “Give the customer choice and control. Give the customer a better experience and we all win.” The major broadcast networks are suing Dish, alleging that it violates their copyrights by marketing a DVR feature that automatically jumps past their ads in recorded shows. Dish says that its Auto-Hop feature simply automates what DVR users already do with their remote controls. “Will innovation like the Auto-Hop improve the consumer experience? Of course it will,” Clayton says. “I don’t know how the courts will rule on this. But I know that we’ve won in the court of public opinion.” He urged the networks to investigate technologies that can deliver different ads to different households. “Give them what they want. Not a bunch of trash.” Beck — whose online video programming now runs on Dish — agreed. “The days of commercials as we know them are limited,” he says. “It’s not the 1950s any more.”
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