The Consumer Electronics Association, the trade organization of U.S. consumer tech companies, on Thursday afternoon announced it would be dropping CBS and its subsidiary tech blog CNET as official partners in the "Best of CES" awards for the International Consumer Electronics Show, following an ethics controversy surrounding the 2013 "Best of CES" awards.
The controversy ensued after CNET staffers voted the "Hopper with Sling," a DVR product made by satellite TV company DISH, to win the title of "Best of Show," the highest honor in the award series.
Prior to making the announcement of the vote public, CBS executives privately told their CNET employees to cancel that award and disqualify the "Hopper with Sling," product from consideration, due to ongoing litigation between CBS and DISH over that very product (it skips commercials, which CBS argues is a violation of copyright, among other things). CNET followed the instructions but kept them mostly out of the public eye, but rival tech blog The Verge learned of the events and publicized them, prompting CNET's editors to explain what happened and at least one CNET reporter to resign in protest.
Now the Consumer Electronics Association is re-awarding the "Best In Show" title to DISH's Hopper with Sling. The CEA, which had an official business partnership with CBS and CNET for the awards, is also ending that agreement and looking for a new official partner. Per CEA's news release on Thursday:
“The CNET editorial team identified the Hopper Sling as the most innovative product of the show, and we couldn't agree more,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, events and conferences for CEA. “The Hopper with Sling and the Razer Edge both represent the best of the exciting, innovative technology introduced at the 2013 CES. We are pleased to recognize both products as Best of Show.”...
“CES has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with CNET and the Best of CES awards,” stated Chupka. “However, we are concerned the new review policy will have a negative impact on our brand should we continue the awards relationship as currently constructed. We look forward to receiving new ideas to recognize the ‘best of the best’ products introduced at the International CES.”
CNET has published its own blog post on the matter.