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New Dish CEO ‘Watching’ Netflix

23 May, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Incoming chief executive Joe Clayton said Netflix should think twice about trying to dominate streaming business.

He doesn’t become CEO of Dish Network LLC until next month, but that didn’t stop Joe Clayton from making known that the satellite TV operator plans to aggressively utilize recent acquisitions Blockbuster, Hughes Communications and DBSD North America to create a new video platform designed to compete against other multichannel video distributors, including Netflix.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Clayton said he envisions changing the Englewood, Colo.-based satellite TV’s video distribution system through an undefined platform that may incorporate Blockbuster’s By Mail subscription service and select video stores, among other properties.

Dish May 19 said it would give new satellite TV subscribers free 90-day memberships to Blockbuster’s online subscription service, which also includes five free in-store rental exchanges per month. Clayton said he wouldn’t rule out additional acquisitions to complement Blockbuster and other properties.

“We put the straight pieces of the puzzle together on the edges, now we're filling in the middle,” Clayton told the AP. “The basic building blocks are in place to add additional ones on top of it for, like I said, a landscaping change in the industry.”

Clayton, a former CEO with Sirius Satellite Radio, May 16 was tapped to replace Dish founder and current CEO Charlie Ergen, effective next month. Ergen remains Dish’s chairman.

Clayton, who remains on the board of Dish parent EchoStar Communications, said Dish plans to challenge Netflix’s trailblazing subscription video-on-demand service, which rapidly is emerging as top Internet activity challenging previously-assumed primetime network TV viewing habits.

“If I were them, I'd be watching what's going on,” he said. “I'd stay tuned. Because no one's going to have a monopoly on this, and I'm sure it's not just our company that's looking at trying to take a small piece of the pie from Netflix.”

Indeed, while at Sirius, Clayton signed shock jock Howard Stern and helped merge the company with rival XM Satellite Radio.


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