Dish attacks DirecTV in new ad campaign

Satellite TV providers Dish Network Corp. and DirecTV Inc. usually unleash attack advertisements against their cable TV competitors.

But as Dish lost subscribers while DirecTV gained, Dish has increasingly been targeting DirecTV.

At Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, Dish unveiled a 30- second TV commercial attacking DirecTV’s list of celebrity endorsers, such as Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Kim Basinger.

“Maybe that’s why on average DirecTV customers spend over $175 a year more than Dish Network customers,” said the ad, which was created in-house at Dish.

“Someone’s got to pay for it,” said Ira Bahr, Dish’s chief marketing officer.

Bahr, an advertising industry veteran, spearheaded a campaign to go against DirecTV just four months after joining Dish in February 2009. This week’s ad is one of the most aggressive yet.

So far, he said, the campaign is working. Dish lost 94,000 net subscribers in the first quarter of 2009 and added 26,000 net customers in the second quarter, its first increase in five quarters. By the third quarter, it has gained 241,000.

Bahr said the commercial will run nationally through February and beyond if it continues to bring in subscribers.

DirecTV didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Former Yahoo exec takes over startup

It took three years, but former Yahoo executive Dan Rosensweig believes he has found another great Internet gig.

Rosensweig’s career shifted in a new direction this week when he took over as CEO of Chegg.com, a Silicon Valley startup that says it has rented about 2.4 million textbooks to cash-strapped college students since its 2007 inception.

It’s Rosensweig’s first job running an Internet company since he stepped down as Yahoo’s chief operating officer at the end of 2006. His departure turned out to be a prelude to years of upheaval that included Microsoft Corp.’s $47.5 billion takeover bid for the company and a shareholder revolt that ushered out two CEOs, Terry Semel and co-founder Jerry Yang.

Rosensweig says he couldn’t pass up a chance to shake up the $10 billion textbook market. And he won’t have to worry about raising money either because privately held Chegg just got $57 million in venture capital a couple months ago.

Verizon to launch 2nd phone using Android

Verizon Wireless has a second handset from Motorola Inc. that uses Google Inc.’s Android software: The Devour.

Much like the Motorola Droid, which debuted to much fanfare in November, the Devour has a touch screen that slides away to reveal a keyboard. The screen is slightly smaller, however. Verizon said Wednesday the phone would be on sale in March, but did not say what it would cost.

The Devour also features Motoblur, a software package from Motorola that displays e-mails and content from such sites as Twitter and Facebook on one screen. Motorola’s Cliq, which launched through T-Mobile USA last year, also used Motoblur, but the Droid did not.

Verizon Wireless has positioned Android phones as its main alternative to the iPhone, available in the U.S. exclusively through AT&T Inc.

Motorola, for its part, sees Android-powered smart phones as the way out of a deep multiyear sales slump. It has said it plans to launch about 20 models this year, of which the Devour would be the first.

Verizon also sells a smaller, keyboard-less Android phone made by HTC Corp., the Droid Eris.

Associated Press