Dish Network won an award at CES for its Dish Hopper device, which allows viewers to automatically skip through the ads. The presentation was to be made by specialist review site CNET, which is ultimately owned by network broadcaster CBS. CBS is currently involved in a bitter disagreement with Dish over its ‘Hopper’ ad-skipping technology and reportedly instructed CNET to remove the Dish product from the awards line-up.
Gary Shapiro, president of CES, said he was disappointed at the decision and hoped CBS would reconsider. “We are extremely disappointed that CBS has interfered with CNET’s Best of CES Awards,” he said. “Due to a pending lawsuit, CNET parent CBS is practicing censorship.”
CBS Interactive bounced back, saying: “The Dish Hopper with Sling was removed from consideration due to active litigation involving our parent company CBS Corp. We will no longer be reviewing products manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such product.”
Dish’s comments are said to be unprintable. Their executives were on their way to the Awards ceremony at Las Vegas, along with their Kangaroo mascot, when they received the bad news. On the record, Dish’s president Joe Clayton said: “We are saddened that CNET’s staff is being denied its editorial independence because of CBS’ heavy-handed tactics. This action has nothing to do with the merits of our new product. Hopper with Sling is all about consumer choice and control over the TV experience. That CBS, which owns CNET.com, would censor that message is insulting to consumers.”