Dish CEO on Hopper: 'I Don't Want to Kill Ads'

Charlie Ergen - House Hearing - 2001
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"I also don't want to put my head in the sand," said Charlie Ergen at the D: Dive Into Media conference.

Despite its Hopper, a monster DVR that allows for 2,000 hours of stored programming that can be easily watched commercial-free on various devices, Dish CEO Charlie Ergen loves commercials, apparently.

“I don’t want to kill ads,” Ergen said at the D: Dive Into Media conference in Laguna Nigel. "I think advertising is great, and I’m very aware that there’s multiple revenue streams in television ...  but I also don’t want to put my head in the sand."

Ergen spoke late Monday at the conference, and video was posted on Tuesday.

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Broadcasters are suing Dish over the Hopper, and Ergen surmised that their ultimate goal would be to outlaw DVRs entirely if they could get away with such a move.

“If we’re going to take a side, let’s take the side of the consumer,” he said, praising Hulu for allowing customers to choose the category of advertising they are served. “A single mom may not need that testosterone ad that runs time and time again. She may want something about fashion,” he said.

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During an hour-long session, Ergen also gave kudos to Netflix, which competes with Dish’s Blockbuster unit. “We were too late on the Netflix thing. I feel stupid that we didn’t think of it first, but I am a fan,” he said.

He also acknowledged that Dish purchased Blockbuster in order to sell wireless products, but building a network that could compete with the likes of AT&T and Verizon is a slow and difficult process. “Because we got delayed on wireless, it hasn’t worked out exactly as we planned,” said Ergen.