Dish Hopper DVR Ads Tied to NCAA Tourney Won’t Mention Turner’s Live-Streaming Service

Spots feature Aussie thesp Rebel Wilson as voice of satcaster's kangaroo mascot

Dish Network has hopped on the March Madness bandwagon with a new marketing campaign highlighting features of its Hopper digital video recorder to let subs watch the NCAA basketball tournament streaming over the Internet.

The Dish TV ads, however, neglect to note that all 67 live games of the tourney already will be available to its subscribers — and virtually every other U.S. pay-TV customer — across multiple apps and the web through Turner Sports’ NCAA March Madness Live service, whether they have a Hopper or not.

The satcaster’s multimillion-dollar marketing campaign features Australian thesp Rebel Wilson (“Pitch Perfect,” “Bridesmaids”) as the voice of its mascot, Hopper the Kangaroo, who’s secretly watching the live hoops action on a tablet while at her desk job via the Sling-enabled features of the DVR. Initially the Dish TV spot will air on ESPN and Turner’s TNT, TBS and truTV.

But while the spot implies that “only Dish” customers can access the games live over the Internet, the Turner service will allow any authenticated pay-TV subscriber to stream every game, amounting to more than 150 hours of live coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, on the web and via apps for Apple iOS devices, Android devices and Kindle Fire tablets.

Still, Dish sees an opportunity to tout the video-slinging features of the Hopper in conjunction with the annual college basketball frenzy, given the popularity of the event among viewers on non-TV devices. According to Turner Sports, during the 2013 NCAA tournament, users watched a total of 45 million video streams through its first two weekends, up 158% from a year earlier.

Dish is the only company that delivers consumers all their live and recorded TV anywhere,” said James Moorhead, Dish’s chief marketing officer, in announcing the campaign. “It is simply the best mobile video experience in the world, and our new campaign showcases our technology to consumers in an easily relatable way.”

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