Networks need to develop more creative and targeted ads that viewers don't want to skip, or they risk being left in the digital dust, said the chairman and co-founder of Dish Network, America's No. 3 pay-TV distributor, reports the Wall Street Journal. In a rare interview, Charlie Ergen defended his new "Auto Hop" service that skips ads, which of course broadcasters despise, noting that the pay-TV market is saturated in the United States and online video is growing, putting the television market under more pressure than ever. "Ultimately, broadcasters and advertisers have to change the way they do business or they run the risk of linear TV becoming obsolete," he said.
A former professional gambler, the famously frugal Ergen says the networks' angry reaction to Auto Hop was more emotional than logical, and, as in poker, playing off people's emotions can help you win a bad hand. "I think the conversation is going to go a lot faster because now there is a risk of inaction as opposed to no risk of inaction," he said. While consumers love skipping ads, the networks hate it, and Ergen says because he is in the same "ecosystem" as the networks, it is bad for his business, too. "So we have to figure out how the broadcaster benefits, we benefit, and the consumer continues to feel like he gets a fair deal," he said. (Read more Dish Network stories.)