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Dish's Clayton Fires Back at Moonves about Auto Hop

9/13/2012 4:04 PM Eastern

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 programming 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. In fact, the industry has strived.”

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, The Blaze 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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