Dish CEO Joe Clayton played the populist card at the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday, unveiling upgrades to his company’s ad-skipping AutoHop feature and condemning the broadcasters who oppose it.
Clayton joked that broadcasters make it seem like anyone skipping commercials is breaking a law, when many TV viewers just want to watch their shows without commercial interruption.
"If bypassing commercials is illegal, I guess we're all a nation of outlaws, according to the major broadcast networks,” Clayton said.
Networks sued Dish last year for the AutoHop feature of its DVR, which enables customers to skip advertisements on previously aired primetime shows. The suits are pending.
Dish unveiled the latest version of the Hopper on Monday, which adds features such as Sling to compliment AutoHop. Dish subscribers can stream live and recorded shows across other platforms, both in and outside the home.
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Clayton not only defended AutoHop, but argued that more companies should follow Dish’s lead.
“Quite honestly I'm surprised the rest of the pay-TV industry isn't standing up more for the rights of the consumers," he said.
The combative cable company has also fought with cable networks, such as AMC, over retransmission fees, and Clayton said similar fights were inevitable. He even suggested it could drop channels to try and cut costs for its customers.
“We as an industry are rapidly approaching a tipping point,” Clayton said. “How many customers are willing to pay over $100 a month for video content? I don’t know. But we’ll soon see.”