2010-04-29 / Local & State

Rivals DirecTV, Dish Combine To Sell TV Ads

By Deborah Yao

AP BUSINESS WRITER

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Satellite TV rivals DirecTV Inc. and Dish Network Corp. said Monday that they’re banding together to sell interactive TV advertising nationally. Such ads let people use their remote controls to request information about products.

This comes after DirecTV and Dish dropped lawsuits accusing each other of false advertising. Among other things, Dish had complained about DirecTV’s commercials for its high-definition channels. DirecTV had alleged that Dish misled viewers about price differences in their services.

Now by teaming up, the companies will let advertisers buy commercials as long as 15 minutes on dedicated channels on both satellite TV systems. Interactive applications on the channels will let viewers request brochures and product samples, enter sweepstakes or view photos of products.

DirecTV and Dish already offer dedicated channels that showcase advertisers. But by joining forces, they can offer a wider reach to national advertisers. Combined, Dish and DirecTV reach more than 30 million U.S. households. And the companies can have a single team that would handle everything from creating the ads to generating reports of how responsive viewers have been to the commercials.

Bob Riordan, DirecTV’s senior vice president of ad sales, said national advertisers have requested such a combination for some time.

Cable TV companies have been trying to do something similar for years.

Shares of DirecTV, based in El Segundo, Calif., rose 16 cents to $36.80 in morning trading. Dish, headquartered in Englewood, Colo., rose 39 cents to $22.88.

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