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Google Patent Proposes $2 Fee To Skip Commercials

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the annoying-isn't-evil? dept.

Google 434

theodp writes "A day after Google debuted its new Google TV website, the USPTO issued U.S. Patent No. 7,806,329 to the search giant for its Targeted Video Advertising invention. Among other things, the patent proposes having viewers take 5-10 minutes to 'fill out a consumer survey and perhaps to provide additional information such as a mailing address survey before starting the program' to avoid having to watch 10 minutes of commercials. 'As another alternative,' the patent continues, 'the broadcaster may offer the users an option to pay $2 (such as through a micro-payment system, such as GBuy) to exchange for skipping all commercials.' More from the patent: 'The system may allow a user to skip all of the promotions that they want to skip, but may also require the user to fully watch at least four promotions before the program will continue. Likewise, the system may require the user to follow activities that generate a certain amount of advertising revenue or advertising points (e.g., that may correspond directly or indirectly to advertising revenues) before the program will continue.'"

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434 comments

Greed (5, Insightful)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794794)

To me, at this point, commercials are greed. We already pay subscription (cable or otherwise), and most movies/TV shows use product placement among other things to supplement the cost. What really gets me is that now movies have 10 minutes of commercials before them. Did I really just pay $10 to watch 10 minutes of commercials before the 15 minutes of movie trailers? It's odd that only a few years ago, the movie/theatre business made a nice profit without having these commercials, yet now they cannot live without them.

I hope in time commercial-less media is the norm.

Re:Greed (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33794902)

I hope in time commercial-less media is the norm.

I guess you haven't seen Demolition Man, have you?

Re:Greed (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795468)

Not in a while, but I did watch "The Glades" earlier this week and noticed that every computer monitor (including laptop lids) has a huge Windows logo. It's a shame that they don't have Linux logos, as they've been caught using a GNOME desktop. [omgubuntu.co.uk]

Re:Greed (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794934)

What really gets me is that now movies have 10 minutes of commercials before them. Did I really just pay $10 to watch 10 minutes of commercials before the 15 minutes of movie trailers?

Go somewhere else then, seriously. Most often it's the small, independent, or even budget theaters that actual treat their patrons nicely. Even in the relatively small town I live in there is at least one budget theater that promises no commercials, less than 10 minutes of previews, and (as they love to point out as often as possible) real butter on the popcorn. And the manager actually knows the regulars, gives out free tickets and popcorn before the start of many movies, apologizes in person if something is wrong, and actually tries to make the whole experience enjoyable. And all for less than half the price of going to one of the big name theaters. Ok, sure, you won't get to see new releases opening weekend, but how often can you really not wait an extra month or two before you see a movie?

Alamo Drafthouse (4, Informative)

shawnmchorse (442605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795022)

Case in point: The Alamo Drafthouse [drafthouse.com] . They play first run movies (as well as cult films and other such), serve food and alcohol, and have actual pre-show video entertainment (not commercials). If a movie isn't playing at the Drafthouse, I generally don't bother going. It's not worth putting up with general obnoxiousness of the large corporate theater chains like Cinemark.

Re:Alamo Drafthouse (2, Informative)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795226)

Case in point: The Alamo Drafthouse [drafthouse.com] . They play first run movies (as well as cult films and other such), serve food and alcohol, and have actual pre-show video entertainment (not commercials). If a movie isn't playing at the Drafthouse, I generally don't bother going. It's not worth putting up with general obnoxiousness of the large corporate theater chains like Cinemark.

Good point. Portland, OR has the McMenamin's establishments that operate in a very similar manner. I reckon that most major cities have something similar. The clientele is more polite (don't insist on texting and annoying every patron behind them) , the menu is far superior, and there's good beer. What's not to like?
Even the small town I lived in a few years ago had a small, locally owned theater that offered an experience that was superior in every way to the multiplex chains that have so fucked up the cinema business. I confess that I still hit the big theaters once or twice a year, for something that I just can't stand to wait for, but that's a tiny fraction of what I used to do. I've sent my message. How 'bout y'all?

Re:Greed (4, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795464)

Not where I live in the UK. Here the small independent cinemas are so squeezed by the big chains that they put on an absurd amount of adverts before the film. After carefully calculating whether or not my friend and I would have time to see a movie before I had to get back for a meeting, I found that there were over half an hour of adverts and trailers before a one and a half-hour film. Needless to say, I wasn't pleased. I'd allowed some leeway but I hadn't expected forty-minutes. And I don't even mind the trailers usually as I like to see them, but this was mainly car ads. I'm unlikely to go there again.

I think at this point, society is seriously messed up. If we have to pay to avoid being monitored and hit with sales pitches, then the world of advertising must be either so desparate or so avaricious, that it's lost all reason. It's tantamount to a protection racket where people pay not to be hassled. And you'd think that if you were an advertiser, your target audience would be the ones that could afford not to see your ads, no?

I don't think it's even the advertising companies that are to blame. Well they are, because they pay for all this, but ultimately they're just driven by the investors with quarterly whips to increase profits higher and higher. It's the market analysts (or whatever they're called these days) who keep offering them this magic ticket whereby the wonderful technique of stripping everyone of the last dregs of their privacy, will connect each seller with an untapped market of people who desparately want their product. They mine every last drop of data they can from us and then try to flog their services to the product manufacturers saying "look - we know who'll buy your goods. Pay ussssss."

Advertising long since stopped being about companies trying to make money off the public. Advertising is now about advertisers trying to make money off the companies.

Re:Greed (3, Insightful)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794938)

do they want me to get things from bit torrent?
I haven't had cable television in over a year. I got tired of all the infomercial crap.
I don't think that I will be paying for a show with comercials.
I think that it will be a cold day in hell that I pay $2 extra for one without.
Just how much do they think that television is worth?
Not gonna do it. no thanks.
now you will have to excuse me, I have some Dexter to watch...

Re:Greed (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794952)

Did you inquire what a movie ticket would cost for a showing without ads or trailers? Probably more than $10.

"It's odd that only a few years ago, the movie/theatre business made a nice profit without having these commercials, yet now they cannot live without them."

Nothing ever changes, never. Costs never go up. Revenue never goes down. There are no alternative to a movie theater and never will be.

Re:Greed (1)

xenapan (1012909) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795126)

Umm, movie theaters here in SoCal cost $12 for standard tickets. And yes. that comes with the commercials and trailers.

Re:Greed (3, Informative)

takowl (905807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795084)

I hope in time commercial-less media is the norm.

In glorious soviet UK, we have four major TV channels [bbc.co.uk] (and minor channels, national and local radio stations) without commercials. This costs £145 per year [tvlicensing.co.uk] ($230, or ~$20 per month). In fact, the radio channels and website can be used for free, you pay if you have a TV (although I wonder if this will change in the future).

Re:Greed (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795278)

In Sweden we have five, but ours suck much more, and cost:
2076 Swedish kronor = 308.87766 U.S. dollars

SVT1 and SVT2 = Old nation-wide channels.
Kunskapskanalen = Science, education, government stuff
Barnkanalen & SVT24 at different times = Shows for children during the days and news the whole time during the late evenings and night.

And then a few (two, TV4 and TV6) free aerial channels with commercials and not part of the obligatory fee.

Same conditions.

But we don't have Top Gear on those channels!

Re:Greed (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795094)

Not entirely, the problem is that there's a cable/satellite provider, then there's the actual channels themselves. The problem is that when you get cable, you're paying the provider for the cable, but they're not passing all the money necessary to provide the content back to the channel.

The ads are what make up the difference. Which is why channels which don't have commercials end up being completely commercial as in HSN, pledge drives as in PBS or subscription based as in HBO.

It's a bit like sports teams that pay everybody involved more and more money even as they jack up all the fees involved. Unfortunately if you don't like it there's really not any good options other than not watching or seething in your seat.

Re:Greed (0, Redundant)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795268)

Either the cable provider should pay for the privilege of letting their customers watch TV shows. They can pay by charging customers.
-or-
The channels can pay the cable provider for the privilege of letting their advertisers have an audience. They can pay by charging advertisers.

It doesn't make any sense for both to happen. The only reason both happens is because one of the parties involved (cable companies) has a monopoly.

Re:Greed (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795382)

There are plenty of commercials on PBS, they just happen to be between programs, rather than interrupting them.

Re:Greed (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795256)

It's odd that only a few years ago, the movie/theatre business made a nice profit without having these commercials, yet now they cannot live without them.

I remember commercials in the movie theaters at least 40 years ago. I would be very surprised if they didn't have them in the 1920s.

I hope in time commercial-less media is the norm.

Don't hold your breath. As long as there is commerce, there will be someone trying to make money through advertising.

Re:Greed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795262)

Wow. You're not too bright are you? The subscription fees you pay do nothing to cover the cost of the actual content. I'm sure if all that was available to watch was YouTube quality TV shows, the subscription fees might cover the bill. But any show with created by more than a dude with a video recorder requires actors, writers, producers, crew, et all to be paid. Where do you think that money comes from?

Yep. Commercials.

Re:Greed (4, Informative)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795456)

The whole commercial thing goes back a long way. Television used to be free, over the air. Consumers were promised that paying for cable would keep the content commercial-free. Then the media companies got greedy, and stuck advertising in there anyway... It's not like we have much of an alternative.

I don't watch shows until around 15 minutes after they come on, so that I can start at the beginning and fast forward through the commercials.

Re:Greed (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795346)

greed runs deep.

take a made-for-tv sitcom. it gets fully paid for (at least it had to in the old days) by BEING on tv that one time. any money over that is gravy. what do they do, now? they release that same content on dvd and charge you again.

when I see people post deals on the various coupons' sites and say 'wow, such and such a tv show is being released on dvd for $x off!' I fail to get excited and, in fact, get angry. the 'gimme generation' fails to see what they are funding and more importantly, what behavior they are funding. buy validating the studios view that they can re-sell an already sold and paid for 'work' you only keep the bad practices of the Old Media Model(tm) alive. not good for us, long term or short term, folks.

if they want the 'paid for by commercials' model, that's one thing; but they constantly insist on ALL the revenue streams. come on, pick ONE, please, but to take more than one is to double or multiply dip and that's just wrong. they want to release the thing on multiple formats and keep charging at every turn? they stop with the commercials then, since you will get your revenue stream via media sales and rentals.

yes, its all about greed. proof that capitalism, when totally left to its own, does not work nor does it scale for very long. the few at the top win and everyone else pretty much loses.

Re:Greed (1)

PowersOfTen (1915034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795426)

If there is ever a time that affordable, commercial-free video entertainment does not exist, I'll literally just be reading books.

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33794800)

w00t

Well, there goes my "Fast Forward" button (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794810)

The fast forward button on my DVR was one of the last bits of freedom I had, to skip some guy screaming at me about some car/cereal/appliance that I just *HAVE* to buy. I guess Google TV will forgo "Fast Forward" for a "Pay Us Money Not To Have To Watch These Annoying Commercials" button. Ain't technological progress grand?

Re:Well, there goes my "Fast Forward" button (4, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794966)

My freedom is in the form of pirated TV shows and movies, if you won't let me pay for and download them (I'm in Sweden and the choices for US TV shows are pretty much nill) legally then I'll just get them for free without commercials. I'm not waiting several months just for the privilege of commercials and subtitles made by some college student who doesn't understand what he or she is translating...

Latest Google Patent (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795184)

For a device that gently applies pressure to the users throat, and increases it the more he holds down FF.

Re:Well, there goes my "Fast Forward" button (1)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795462)

Oh, they'll still have a fast forward button, but you have to enter your credit card number every time you want to use it.

Absolutely Evil. (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794818)

That about sums it up. Who have they been hiring lately?

I can only hope they're trying to patent this so no one else can do it, then they just sit on it never using it.

Re:Absolutely Evil. (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794960)

That about sums it up. Who have they been hiring lately?

I can only hope they're trying to patent this so no one else can do it, then they just sit on it never using it.

Yeah, no kidding. Fill out a survey before I can watch TV? Pay them for the privilege to not watch commercials? Generate a certain amount of ad revenue?

My PVR already allows me to do this for free. I can guarantee that as soon as my TV watching will enforce that I watch commercials or pay to skip them, I will simply cancel my TV subscription and stop watching it altogether. I will occasionally rewind to see a commercial which catches my eye, but I'm not generally interested in being advertised to.

Google is in the middle of the worst possible scenario of monetization of my viewing time. None of these "features" would do anything other than drive me away. I don't give a tinkers damn about their advertising revenue, and if they make advertising more intrusive than it already is, I will deny them any more. Give me what I want without making the experience suck more, and maybe.

Everything described in this patent removes value from TV, and makes cost of watching TV (both monetary and time) not worth it.

Tell you what, pay me to watch commercials instead of forcing me to watch them or paying to skip them -- I refuse to be obligated by your advertising contracts. Until then, your business model is between you and your advertiser. My TV watching is between me and my remote, and ends at the point where I say to hell with it, and turn off the TV.

Re:Absolutely Evil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795188)

Google's funded by advertising. How could they not be evil!

What was that google motto again? (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794832)

Because this doesn't sound evil at all.

It's just a patent... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795452)

They haven't actually done this yet. Save your sarcasm for if/when they do.

My answer to Google's proposal (1)

Kevitt (640555) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794848)

NO

Re:My answer to Google's proposal (1)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795446)

YES

Here's my $2, never show me a commercial again.

Before everyone gets crazy... (3, Insightful)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794864)

Remember...

We can still go grab a beer and fix a sandwich up during commercials. Don't freak out. Just do something else.

Re:Before everyone gets crazy... (4, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794926)

Right.... until they start adding commercials to books as electronic readers start becoming more mainstream. You won't be able to turn the page until you sit through this 15 second commercial that the publisher figures might interest you based on the content of the book.

Well Sure, If That Covers the Costs (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795090)

Right.... until they start adding commercials to books as electronic readers start becoming more mainstream. You won't be able to turn the page until you sit through this 15 second commercial that the publisher figures might interest you based on the content of the book.

And if your choice is watching that with not having to pay for the book versus shelling out the usual $20 for the book ... I might actually opt for that.

Re:Well Sure, If That Covers the Costs (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795124)

If the book were, in fact, free, sure... but I highly doubt that they will be... well, except maybe some of the fiction that could never make it to hardback.

Re:Well Sure, If That Covers the Costs (3, Insightful)

wed128 (722152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795160)

i worry you'll sit through commercials AFTER paying for the book, just like cable.

Re:Before everyone gets crazy... (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794948)

Remember...

We can still go grab a beer and fix a sandwich up during commercials. Don't freak out. Just do something else.

Not really - from the summary it sounds like it actually requires some interaction from the user. Can't answer a question about the product it just showed you an ad for? That's okay, I'm sure they'll be happy to show it to you again so you can pass the required quiz before watching your show.

Re:Before everyone gets crazy... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795048)

Wow... so they want to turn commercials into something resembling a pop quiz from high school?

Unless every commercial is specifically tailored to each and every individual so that the person viewing it has enough interest in the product that they would be *guaranteed* to pay attention to it, that has about as much chance of succeeding as promoting that people stop having sex so that the population doesn't keep growing.

The mute button works great. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795402)

Give it a try. You won't believe the difference it makes.

Better idea (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794878)

Google is the "king" of targeted ads...so why not do the same thing with Google TV? If I'm watching an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, I obviously will not give a shit about life insurance...but a video game? Sure. I'll sit through an advertisement for that. Unless it's one of those lame Gamestop machinima commercials...

This seems like a strange direction for Google to take...what with their algorithms used for serving up ads online, one would think they would utilize something similar for their TV service...I despise advertisements, but I'll tolerate them if it's relevant to what I'm watching.

Re:Better idea (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795034)

Remember, if they have to advertise on TV, it probably sucks.

Re:Better idea (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795162)

Because even their "targetted" ads aren't 100% reliable... in fact, not even close. I perhaps am perhaps at most interested in maybe 1% of the ads that google currently throws at me.... which means that they'd just have to have at least a hundred times as many ads to compensate, which would bore the hell out of me and I would just not use the service at all.

Re:Better idea (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795192)

This seems like a strange direction for Google to take

They get paid for displayed ads and want to be paid when ads are not displayed.

OMG (2, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794880)

If there was ever a situation that deserved writing scripts that control a video player, this is it.

Script #1: Fill in the customer survery with bogus-but-valid-looking info.

Script #2: During commercials, cut off the video player's access to the screen and audio output, and instead have the computer present either silence or some alternative form of entertainment (music, etc.)

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33794886)

How can one honestly file for a patent for this without punishment?

The amount of prior-art is absurd; obviousness is obvious.

W-T-F

Re:Really? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795200)

Prior art? I've never had that option on TV, to pay to skip commercials or choose not to pay and sit through the commercials. Additionally, the only places I've ever had that choice at all were online, and the closest to that was Hulu with the one big commercial at the start or several smaller ones later.

It's also not really that obvious, it's obvious that somebody should provide it, I doubt very much that it's obvious as to how one goes about offering it.

$2 (1)

ResistanceIsIrritati (808817) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794892)

I'd pay $2 to skip all commercials, forever.

Re:$2 (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795104)

Too bad it's a $2 "per program" leeching, and not a $2 charge when you first sign-up.

Re:$2 (2, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795140)

How much is a pay-per-episode of a TV show on iTunes? Isn't it like $1.99? You get to skip all of the commercials, right? Isn't that the equivalent of $2/episode? This isn't that outrageous.

Re:$2 (1)

sp332 (781207) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795388)

One hour of TV programming is 40 minutes of content and 20 minutes of ads. If Google charges $2/10 minutes of ads, its actually twice the price per episode.

$2 ?? (1)

robpoe (578975) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794896)

I'm not going to pay ANYTHING to skip the commercials. I use my DVR to record programs, then watch them "later" (at least 30 minutes later) so that I can fast forward past the commercials.

Being *forced* to sit through advertising (I'm looking at the websites that MAKE you watch a video before you see content -- especially Discovery.com -- where you get a 1-2 minute clip then a 30 second commercial) makes me not want the product being advertised. They actually cause me to NOT buy or use the service..

Re:$2 ?? (1)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795424)

>>I use my DVR to record programs, then watch them "later" (at least 30 minutes later)

Actually, if there's 22 minutes of commercials per hour, you only have to wait 11 minutes before starting your 30-minute program to ensure you can skip all the commercials. Actually, seeing as some of those 11 minutes of commercials will come right at the end of the 30-minute segment, you could start a bit earlier.

If I can start watching Caprica 38 minutes sooner (1-hour show), then I'll do it! :)

Just an Example Amount (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794906)

From reading the paragraph in context, it seems like Google was just showing an example of how a broadcaster or content provider could become indifferent to how their broadcasting revenue is generated. The patent gives three examples for making up $1-$2 of advertising revenue on a one hour program for each viewer. It could be done through commercials as traditionally is done, by survey or even at a direct charge to the viewer. I think it's important to note that the $2 figure doesn't seem to be set in stone, it's more an example of how a broadcaster who demands $2 in advertising revenue per viewer could recoup or mitigate those costs.

The real question is: how is this any different than someone forking over a couple bucks to watch the latest Futurama episode on iTunes?

You can call it "skipping commercials" or you can call it "selling the right to view content once" or whatever the hell you want. But it all comes down to you reimbursing the broadcasters for their content--which has traditionally been done through advertising. I'm surprised this is invoking so much ire from the Slashdot crowd.

Re:Just an Example Amount (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795072)

I think it's important to note that the $2 figure doesn't seem to be set in stone, it's more an example of how a broadcaster who demands $2 in advertising revenue per viewer could recoup or mitigate those costs.

It is also important to note that nobody has ever had a guarantee that their advertising would reach people or be watched. It represents a potential audience, but has never been a guarantee -- it certainly doesn't confer an obligation to me.

The day that commercials become an obligation is the day I will stop watching TV. Right now, I can skip 'em on my PVR. If I was contractually obligated to watch because Google had sold that to a third party, then I would expect compensation, or a reduction in my costs -- and I can guarantee that won't happen since every greedy bastard along that chain is going to "insist" that I watch his commercial. What next, I'm required to actually buy the product?

I'm already paying for my TV subscription. Anybody who thinks they're going to get a guaranteed ad impression from me is sorely mistaken.

Google should tread very carefully here.

Re:Just an Example Amount (1)

mynion (866618) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795180)

ire?

Google advertised their own motto. They seem to forget it. Ironic.
The people who don't pirate tv get punished - intrusive adverts, or dvds with a mountain of junk it may or may not let you skip past.
Don't get me started on region encoding nonsense.

I just want to be able to legally buy a tv show without adverts+drm that breaks or reliance on my net connection being up. Why is that so difficult? Just buy it and have it delivered or downloaded so I can use as I want.
Why am I in the stupid situation where I buy dvds(I like to support the makers maybe I shouldn't) + have to download the same content to watch it how I want. It is insane.

So yes ire.

The sad state we are in (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794912)

I think it's pretty telling that a company that is considered to employ such brilliance and be on the technological forefront in the end exists simply to peddle adverts. Surely there are better uses of the resources.

Re:The sad state we are in (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795074)

I think it's pretty telling that a company that is considered to employ such brilliance and be on the technological forefront in the end exists simply to peddle adverts. Surely there are better uses of the resources.

Is peddling adverts not their entire business plan?

Re:The sad state we are in (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795238)

It's not it's entire business plan, they do make some money from google checkout and their android market. I'm guessing those are only a small fraction of their total revenue though.

Nothing is free (1, Troll)

t1oracle (1908404) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794918)

Silly people. How many of you would go to work if your boss decided that paying you was unnecessary and that you should learn to be less "greedy." We live in capitalistic society, if you want something you have to pay for it. The rest of you communists can go to Cuba.

Re:Nothing is free (2, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795092)

But we already pay for cable/satellite TV... commercials on public airwaves I understand.

Re:Nothing is free (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795280)

But we already pay for cable/satellite TV...

You pay for the benefits of wired access over OTA access (including access to channels that aren't available OTA.) You don't, except for PPV content and premium channels that you purchase, pay for the content you watch. That you pay for with the commercials, just like OTA broadcast.

Re:Nothing is free (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795392)

If you think you could make Cable TV operate profitably without commercials, you should be presenting your business plan to the board of directors, not posting on slashdot.

Re:Nothing is free (1)

doesnothingwell (945891) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795312)

How much is it? I'll gladly pay for all my media viewing to never watch a commercial again.

Re:Nothing is free (0, Offtopic)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795330)

Citation necessary, we don't live in a capitalist society. The government regularly intervenes on behalf of business interests against the voters. Resulting in massive bubbles and a working class that can't afford to work. What's worse is that even as the working classes suffer more than at anytime in decades, the rich continue to get welfare from the government and whine about how they're not getting enough hand outs.

Adam Smith would be rolling in his grave if he heard you assert that this has any resemblance to what he envisioned as capitalism.

Why, on Earth, is anyone complaining? (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794924)

To sum up the article: Google wants to let users avoid commercials for $2.00. In case you folks haven't noticed, your average "hour long" prime time TV show is about 45-50 minutes, the rest is nothing but commercials. We are already forced to watch commercials, this just gives people the option to skip them at a fee. In otherwords, things aren't changing, we're just being given the option to opt-out for two bucks.

Re:Why, on Earth, is anyone complaining? (2, Insightful)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794998)

Cable was invented to be commercial free. That was why people originally paid the premium for all those commercial free channels.

Then came the premium cable channels like HBO, Showtime, etc. For the most part those are commercial free, but if you watch Showtimes "Big Brother" they have commercials through-out that. I can only imagine this will get worse and worse and eventually these premium commercial free channels are littered with them. It's bad enough we get to watch a bunch of movie stars in Entourage drink a brand of beer no one in their right mind would ever think about drinking unless they're 50 and sitting in their underwear watching infomercials all night long.

Re:Why, on Earth, is anyone complaining? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795060)

To sum up the article: Google wants to let users avoid commercials for $2.00. In case you folks haven't noticed, your average "hour long" prime time TV show is about 45-50 minutes, the rest is nothing but commercials. We are already forced to watch commercials, this just gives people the option to skip them at a fee. In otherwords, things aren't changing, we're just being given the option to opt-out for two bucks.

More specifically, the Google patent proposes a mechanism by which content providers (who need revenue) could be more flexible with consumers about how those consumers receive content while meeting the provider's revenue requirements.

Used well this is good for consumers (those who prefer paying, or one of the other options the provider gives, to sitting through ads have that option), good for content providers (the ability to be flexible to consumer preferences means they can reach more consumers, and, reduces the revenue per consumer point at which they break even -- which, in a competitive market, is another benefit for the consumer, since it reduces the price).

What is there not to like here?

Re:Why, on Earth, is anyone complaining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795100)

In case you folks haven't noticed, your average "hour long" prime time TV show is about 45-50 minutes

Actually it is only 42-43 minutes.

Re:Why, on Earth, is anyone complaining? (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795228)

In case you folks haven't noticed, your average "hour long" prime time TV show is about 45-50 minutes, the rest is nothing but commercials.

Try 42 minutes. It's been that way for quite a while now.

Remember back a few years ago when Spike had "Trek Uncut"? It was "uncut" in that Spike was only putting in the amount of ads that was common in the 90s (10 minutes or so?). That means that pretty much EVERY rerun from that era and before that you see on every channel has actual CONTENT cut out to make room for more commercials. Lovely, eh?

Patent? (3, Insightful)

joeyblades (785896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794942)

I'm not sure why a strategy is considered an invention... moreover, a strategy that has been used for a while by FOX.

Re:Patent? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33794990)

This. There is no invention here, simply an idea. How on Earth did this get granted a patent?

Is $2 too much? (4, Informative)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794944)

I looked at current advertising costs [tvb.org] to see whether $2/episode is justified. Right now advertisers pay about 3.3 cents to put an ad in the face of a 25-54 year-old adult during a prime-time show. In an hour-long show, there are about sixteen minutes of non-program material, though some of that is promotions for other shows and local advertising. Let's say that ten minutes of every prime-time hour includes national advertising. That means advertisers are willing pay about thirty cents per show; two dollars seems like gouging in comparison.

Re:Is $2 too much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795024)

Not to mention that a commercial-free version is probably available on itunes for only $1

Re:Is $2 too much? (1)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795052)

The upper bound is double your estimate, because a lot of commercials are 30 seconds in length. So it'd be somewhere between 33 and 66 cents. Also, seeing as some commercials in streaming services such as Hulu are 15 seconds in length, the lower bound might go even lower. So yeah, the $2 payment is disproportional to the advertising cost.

Re:Is $2 too much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795178)

"That means advertisers are willing pay about thirty cents per show; two dollars seems like gouging in comparison."

Well, that's because it is. There's this thing called "profit", ya see, and they'd rather get lots of profit instead of hardly any profit. Realistically I'd be willing to pay about $0.25 to skip commercials for the next, hour of viewing time. Not per "show", but per hour of viewing. Per show would be horribly broken because there are several things I watch that are less than 10 minutes long but still have a 30-60 second commercial AND a popover ad I have to close.

But truth be told I'll just continue to do what I currently do, mute it and switch tabs.

Re:Is $2 too much? (1)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795376)

$2 is too much because it's $2 for every show. Even $2 per day will suck $730 out of your pocket. I don't pay that much for cable TV.

Add up all the shows you watch in your household, and you could easily spend several thousand dollars a year to get rid of commercials. Ridiculous! Just get up and go to the bathroom, grab a sandwich or drink, of mute the TV and talk to a live person during commercials.

See the world's largest pump project being build. http://www.faribanksmorseispumped.com/ [faribanksm...pumped.com]

Sounds good to me (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794970)

I'd gladly pay a couple of bucks to watch TV without commercials. I could use a variety of technological solutions to remove the commercials, but I'd rather pay a small sum, avoid the commercials, and still financially support the programs I enjoy.

This sounds a lot... (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794976)

... like Google is actually bending to the whim of the content providers, rather than forcing this on users themselves. After all, YouTube is free, and has ads at the bottom of the video (which you can click to remove), as well as the occasional 10 second ad before the main event. I don't believe this is *Google* being "evil"!

After all, wasn't it the music industry that forced Apple in to adopting DRM..? (or is that just what Apple would have us believe?)

An ideal would be:

  • This broadcast is free! But you'll have to watch a few ads before the main item begins, and have to view unskippable ads every now and again during it.

OR

  • Thanks for paying $2 for watching. You'll see no ads whatsoever.

That way, people who aren't too bothered about the ads can watch for free, and those that want to see it uninterrupted need just shell out $2 (or whatever the going rate is).

Of course, if you're a well known satellite broadcaster in the UK, you'd insist that viewers do both...

Not Enough Options (1)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33794992)

Where's the provision to throw a virgin into a volcano as a sacrifice for commercial free television?

This is great! (1)

Oasiz (1017554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795004)

The more ads the better, I love advertisements !
I especially love those forced flash-video ads that contain products that they don't even sell in this country.

This is really getting close to the typical dystopic visions of a future where they forcefeed ads in to your brains.
Not even money will let you escape them.
Soon you will need a camera in front of your set that makes sure that you are actually sitting in front of it and watching the ads.

Will not likely take long for the other companies to adopt something similiar like this.

Who gets that money? (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795026)

Advertisers pay money to put ads on shows. Google charges $2 to skip the ads...are they pocketing the money or giving it to advertisers as compensation?

I'll do them one better - pay me to watch the ads. (2, Interesting)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795042)

How about Google shares their ad revenue with me if I agree to watch the commercials?

I've been told many times that the show is not the product - the viewers are the product. Fine, if I allow Google to show me the ads using MY bandwidth, why not give me a cut of the ad revenue?

-ted

Dear Google: ( +1, Helpful ) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795050)

Go To Hell [youtube.com] .

Yours In Greenland,
Kilgore Trout

You can't patent a business process (1)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795078)

A business process, like pure math, and like pure software is not patentable in many jurisdictions. What is being described here is a BUSINESS PROCESS, and lacks key patentability criteria under current patent law.

Whoever came up with this patent doesn't understand IP.

It probably won't get approved.

It certainly won't get approved world-wide.

Re:You can't patent a business process (1)

hygieia (560369) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795174)

It has been approved by the USPTO, clearly. The only way to make it go away, is if someone takes Google to court to have the patent invalidated.

Re:You can't patent a business process (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795366)

It's not a business process that they got a patent for, it's the technological means for one method of implementing such a business practice. The same practice, accomplished by means other than what the patent describes, would be non-infringing.

Re:You can't patent a business process (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795438)

The Supreme Court was unwilling to categorically exclude business methods from patent eligibility in Bilski v. Kappos. Each such method has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the claims are directed to an abstract idea or a patent-eligible method.

controlling (1)

locksmith9 (1915740) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795106)

They are just looking for more control.

playing both sides of the fence (0)

cadience (770683) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795144)

Watch the commercial - the sponsor pays.
Skip the commercial - you pay.

What happened to "Do no evil"? (1)

cruff (171569) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795148)

This sounds like having to sit through a sales pitch at a vacation resort to get free lodging for a night. Thank goodness for the 30 second skip on my TiVO.

my patent is for 1.95 (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795254)

i win

Nice try (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795258)

No, no, and hell no. I'll keep using the Usenet channel. Thanks anyway, google.

I have a few better ideas, Google: (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795264)

  1. Adblock plus
  2. NoScript
  3. Completely fake "survey" information
  4. If all the above fail, how about I just leave the room for 10 minutes, or minimize that window/switch to another tab and mute the sound for 10 minutes?
  5. One word: Torrent
  6. Can't find a torrent of it? I probably don't need to be watching it then.

In short: Screw you Google, and everyone else who keeps "monitizing" the living fuck out of everything. When I watched the movie Idiocracy, I only laughed for the first couple minutes. Then I got a stone-cold feeling in my gut because I realized that this is where the world really is heading!

Awesomely scary. (1)

Sait-kun (922599) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795272)

It does exactly what everyone (ie the greater majority) has wanted for a long time. I don't know of a single person who - if they had the option - wouldn't skip commercials. So why is so scary?

Won't work... sorry. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795288)

What will happen is that a lot of people will naturally pay the $2 up front to avoid seeing the commercials. The advertisers will notice that hardly anybody is seeing their commercials and so will not be willing to pay as much to subsidize the programs that people who aren't paying for commercial free programming are watching, so the cost of programming goes up. Ultimately, the $2 fee will end up being absorbed right into the standard cost of the service, under the guise of "saving you money" and everybody will still end up watching commercials.

Isn't that sort of what happened with cable TV?

I hate commercials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795314)

And the more intrusive they make the advertising, the more my growing anger will make me dislike their products.

Oh, and make me sit through several ads and then give me a pop quiz before I can watch the show? I'll throw the Google TV box out the window. Problem solved.

irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795344)

isn't it a little ironic that it's the wealthy people (who have money to buy advertised products) also happen to be the ones in the best position to pay to skip the ads?

I never buy anything on commercials (1)

bouldin (828821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33795418)

Seriously, I can't remember any time in the past several years I saw a commercial for a car/cookie/cereal/mouthwash/etc and planned to buy the item.

Content of commercials just has not ever figured in to how I shop. When I go to a store, I know what I want, I find the best deal, I get the hell out of there.

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