Dish Network CEO Clayton rips broadcasters while accepting award at CEA dinner

WASHINGTON-- Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) CEO Joseph Clayton touted the innovation of the company's Hopper DVR while criticizing the broadcasters that have protested its ad-skipping technology.  Clayton made these comments while accepting an award from the Consumer Electronics Association here Wednesday night.

The man CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro called a "force bigger than life" emphasized that Dish is focused on meeting the needs of a rapidly evolving consumer electronics industry.

"Over the years, I have adopted a radical business strategy that has often been challenged by many incumbent, or should I say entrenched, corporations," said Clayton, who was among the honorees at CEA's Digital Patriots Awards dinner. "Let's give the consumer what he or she wants. This implies embracing change, embracing technology, but most importantly embracing the American consumer. It's also fanatically resisted by some companies," he added.

Clayton went on to say that some broadcasters "mistakenly believe that they can prevail if they just keep the American consumer in the dark. Some even censor their own news organizations and their network actors for recognizing consumer benefits of new technology." His comments appear to have been directed toward CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), which in January ordered its trade publication, CNET, to drop Dish's Hopper DVR from an awards program. At issue was the technology's AutoHop feature, which allows subcribers to automatically remove all commercials from primetime programs that Hopper records from ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

The Dish CEO also addressed his company's proposed merger with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), saying he believes he knows what the American consumer wants when it comes to TV.

"We all want video content that is easy to use, affordable and available anywhere," Clayton said. "These are the same consumer principles that are driving the recently announced proposed merger of Sprint and my company ... By utilizing the latest in wireless technology, LTE, in combination with over 200 MHz of spectrum, this new corporate identity can provide the American consumer exactly what he or she wants: one national in-home and out-of-home integrated bundle of services."

Clayton closed by reminding members of the CEA and other award-winners that "it is the American consumer whom you all represent." Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) won an Innovation Policy Ninja award, while Reps. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) also received Digital Patriot awards.

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