TV Everywhere

Dish Spending Millions on Ads to Market Ad-Skipping DVR

Broadcasters Are Suing Satellite Operator Over Hopper's Auto Hop Feature 2/11/2013 6:26 AM Eastern

Dish Network is memorializing the “death” of television commercials -- ironically, via a new multimillion-dollar marketing campaign for its Hopper DVR with Slingbox features that lets users skip TV ads.

Dish is not disclosing what it is spending on the latest round of the “Boston Guys” ad campaign (who hollered at each other about the “Hawpah” from various points in the house, calling attention to the multiroom DVR features). The operator said the Hopper with Sling is now available to order nationwide.

The latest ads are part of Dish’s “Only the Hopper” campaign, and include a series of television, radio, print and digital advertisements that follow the Boston Guys as they demonstrate how the second-generation Hopper delivers a “complete entertainment experience.” With the embeded Sling features, users can watch live or recorded TV over any Internet connection on different devices.

In one spot, the Boston Guys are gathered at a mock wake to commemorate the death of TV ads. “Commercials are out of our lives,” one of the guys says, followed by on-screen text that reads: “In Memoriam, Commercials, 1941-2012.”

In the first nine months of 2012, Dish spent $245.3 million on TV advertising, according to Kantar Media. That was up 53% from the year-earlier period when the DBS operator spent $160.6 million on TV spots.

Dish introduced the Hopper with Sling at the 2013 International CES, where it was the center of a controversy involving CBS, which is suing the satellite operator over the ad-skipping features.

Editors of tech news site CNET picked the Hopper with Sling as the “Best of CES,” but CNET’s parent company, CBS, overruled the decision because of the broadcaster’s pending litigation with Dish over the Hopper’s Auto Hop capabilities. As a result, the Consumer Electronics Association dropped its contract with CNET for the “Best of CES” awards program and the trade group is seeking a new partner.

The new Hopper DVR with Sling encodes and redirects live or recorded TV programming to Internet-connected iOS and Android tablets and smartphones -- using the Dish Anywhere app -- as well as PCs and Macs. “This campaign takes the Boston family out of the house to show the world that only Hopper with Sling can provide a truly unique entertainment experience,” Dish chief marketing officer and senior vice president James Moorhead said in a statement.

Last month Dish increased the price of its core TV bundles between 7% and 20%, with most packages rising $5 per month, after not changing rates for two years.

The Hopper will remain $10 per month with Joey client set-tops staying at $7 per month. Dish will increase the lease price for older-model ViP DVRs by $1, from $6 to $7 per month; the ViP 922 DVR will remain at $10 per month.

As of Sept. 30, 2012, Dish had 14.042 million satellite TV customers.