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PVRs and Advertisers' Worries

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the boston-strangler dept.

Television 519

Jurisenpai writes "Today's NYT has an article on the conflicts between PVRs and advertisers, mentioning the recent Sonicblue case, as well as Tivo and ReplayTV."

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MOD ME DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Cubeman (530448) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572434)

First post!

Re:MOD ME DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572457)

Verrrrrry 1337.

Ruh Row (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572495)

Somebody got thier penis chopped off

"Spank me like I'm a FUCKING animal!" -JKatZ

no (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572515)

Since you are AC scum, the FP rightfully belongs to the CLIT.

Too bad you didn't log in. Thanks for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts for you. Tell them what they've won, Bob.

They've won slashdot, the home edition, where you can make your own shitty geek news and troll it. They've also won the Revlon Super Styler Curling Iron. Revlon: We make curling irons!

Thanks again for playing, AC fuckwad. See you next time on!

Re:no (0)

L1nUx h4x0r (574828) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572736)

Those are some lovely parting gifts. Trolls are so giving, and the CLIT is so very lovable!

TP (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572466)

I like slashdot.

I don't have a job, or I'd buy a PVR. Guess I'd need a television, too.

pvr are shite (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572467)

they are running kde3 !

Excellent point near the end. (5, Insightful)

swngnmonk (210826) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572469)

"We've trained people that you can buy things at 3 in the morning in the nude on the Internet and make a call to anyone from anywhere on a cellphone, and the idea that CBS is going to determine when I watch `CSI' flies in the face of that trend," said Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research. "TV networks are going to have to figure out how to make money from a TV viewer that is not nailed to the chair waiting for the commercial to end."

Amen to that!

Re:Excellent point near the end. (2, Funny)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572550)

i think that "they" would prefer to nail you to your chair, clockwork orange style, instead of coming up with a new revenue model.

i mean, if you dont watch the commercials, then the terrorists have won.

(the only thing i Like about The War Against Terrorism, is the acronym)

Re:Excellent point near the end. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572594)

i mean, if you dont watch the commercials, then the terrorists have won.

No, if your office gets blown up and collapses on your head, or someone lights dynamite in your supermarket and kills you, that means the terrorists have won.

This just means that some coporations are interested in making money.


Re:Excellent point near the end. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572614)

apparently, i need to slap you upside the head with a smiley to indicate sarcasm.

Re:Excellent point near the end. (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572624)

If we don't stop using that idiotic catchphrase, the terrorists have won.

Re:Excellent point near the end. (2)

grytpype (53367) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572748)

Will the Senator from Disney please call his office!

If they're so worried about Tivo (5, Funny)

Black Aardvark House (541204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572484)

Then they should have been bothered for years by such commercial-killers like the toilet or refrigerator. People have been using those for years to skip commercials.

Personally, I channel-surf when commercials are run during a favorite show.

Re:If they're so worried about Tivo (1)

tdemark (512406) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572555)

Yeah, but a point they make in the article is that channel surfing during commericials is a "zero-sum" proposition:

The channel you were watching loses you as a viewer, but another channel will gain you, and thus you "advertisibility potential" (my phrase).

I don't know if I agree with this theory, but the networks seem to be OK with it.

- Tony

Channel Hopping not zero sum (2)

maroberts (15852) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572665)

Channel hopping is not zero sum - often the hopper will browse around the channels for the duration of the adverts to hop back to the original channel, having seen no adverts.

Re:Channel Hopping not zero sum (1)

oever (233119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572749)

Well, here in the Netherlands, the advertisent blocks are very well synchronized. So here the zero sum model works.

Re:If they're so worried about Tivo (1)

sugrshack (519761) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572700)


of course there's always been public television for avoiding commercials. oh wait... most people aren't interested in intelligent programming anyway.

my approach? turn the damn thing off and go do something else. you only get so much free time in a day anyway.

Re:If they're so worried about Tivo (2)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572775)

I've always used a VCR to record shows and then watch later, skiping commercials.

I think the TIVO shows how poorly the VCR makers made their user interfaces. The only other thing that DVRs really have on a VCR are the program guide and the ability to record while watching, as well as pause motion while still recording.

Ode to Slashdot v1.0.3 (-1)

ReluctantBadger (550830) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572486)

Zealot, pig headed and bloody minded,
Sterotypical Slashdot user;
The worse thing is the editors,
One's an habitual child abuser! News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters.
We hear it all the time;
You'll be moderated into oblivion,
Unless you toe the party line. Government corruption, RIAA lies,
Oh! A big tax on MP3!
I've got 40 gigs of music,
And none owing to piracy. Flame and SHOUT and type *sigh*
It makes themselves look gay;
On any proper message board,
They'd just be cleared away! First year of a uni ed,
They think they know it all;
Installed RedHat from a CD,
And blitzed the '98 install. But soon they'll notice problems,
When MS Word will work no more;
The answer to their worries is
Q247804 Jesus Christ this site is lame,
Predictable Microsoft bashing;
But no-one mentions the 2.4 tree,
When bug caused filesystem crashing. Security holes debated all the time,
You'd think they'd get it right;
But Linux servers are just as bad,
Warnings published out of sight. Linux this and Linux that,
Open Source Mandrake Red Hat;
"I wanna hack my microwave!",
Piss off you stupid twat. To sum it up with a simple phrase,
(the zealots have started crying);
Linux was just a fad and phase,
Thank god Slashdot is dying.

Any panic or hyperbole will be unwarranted (1, Insightful)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572488)

This message will doubtlessly spawn messages accusing the industry of lack of ability to change with advances in technology, and so forth along with the usual crapola about "it's our airwaves, dammit", but let's not lose sight of the big picture: any lawsuit about breaking implict contracts is necessarily a stalling tactic. It may win on some minor points, but it mostly just gives the broadcasters time to secure settlements with PVR companies and come up with alternate technologies and models.

Don't panic. The sun may come up tomorrow.

Difference between banner ads and TV ads (5, Insightful)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572500)

The advertising world is rapidly approaching the point when they are going to have to realize that TV ads are not >>nearly as effective as they thought they were. The reason people think (or rather know) that banner ads are ineffective is because you can measure it. There's no such technology for TV ads but between people getting up to pee, fast forwarding their VCR's or just tuning out in general -- I submit that they are grossly ineffective (especially for the price paid). An entire industry (Neilson, Ad agencies, the networks) has sprung up to propagate this lie, but that doesn't make it anymore true.

Re:Difference between banner ads and TV ads (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572609)

I've wondered for years how companies justify all the television advertisement. I remember hearing Pottery Barn paid a million dollars to have "Friends" use Potter Barn furniture for _an_ episode.

It seems PBS is the only truly sustainable TV business model: people pay if they like the show. There must come a point when Pepsi realizes it's not worth $10 million to have Britney sing about pepsi on a beach.

Re:Difference between banner ads and TV ads (1)

ek_adam (442283) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572626)

And slashdotters may have to realize that TV ads are more effective than they believe. Marketing departments do check sales before and after ads are shown.

Re:Difference between banner ads and TV ads (2)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572654)

Yeah, but it's not a closed system. Sales go up (and down) for lots of different reasons. How do you know what caused it? # of clicks on your website after you run the ad?

Re:Difference between banner ads and TV ads (2)

Mondrames (242558) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572715)

Market research is performed through various means- usually telephone interviews.

Some campaigns are very thorough in terms of research. For example, they will determine average customer awareness of "brand x" prior to the advertising campaing, measure awareness of "brand x" during the campaign, and again sometime after.

They also will call their target audience and ask about general advertisements related to their products to determine their worth -"Did this gummy bear commerical make eating gummy bears look fun timmy?"

Re:Difference between banner ads and TV ads (3, Interesting)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572780)

Upscale clothing stores coordinate shipments of clothing with when celebrities wear them.

Tiger Woods has a staff the schedules when and where he will wear a particular shirt, pants or shoes. These items arrive in stores a day or two before he appears on TV wearing them. A few weeks after that they are shipped off to bargain basement stores like Marsalls or TJ Max.

TV ads are effective.

Re:Difference between banner ads and TV ads (2, Interesting)

GnomeKing (564248) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572676)

Yeah, there are differences between banner ads and TV ads - the target audience

the majority of banner ads are seen by people who are among the more intelligent
and the more intelligent you are, the less succeptible to ads you are

TV ads are aimed at a much larger group of people and probably have a significantly better take up ratio
Also, they are often targetted at the people who are likely to watch the program (like advertising date lines during the late night repeat of buffy to catch those 20 year old single men)

Perhaps TV ads arent as effective as some people think, they certainly do do a lot

Re:Difference between banner ads and TV ads (2)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572724)

the majority of banner ads are seen by people who are among the more intelligent
and the more intelligent you are, the less succeptible to ads you are

I don't know if it's intelligence -- some people just seem to be more susceptible, I think it's just an ability to filter clutter. Coma patients probably don't respond much either! But I agree, Miss Cleo ads only seem to work on a certain segment of the population.

My point is that it's not that scientific -- they just throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Infomercials and datelines are shown in the middle of the night because it's cheaper to advertise then. I imagine for alot of things, they just put on a bunch of ads during primetime and hope for the best.

Advertising is full of lots of lame "rules of thumb" like "Old people are set in their ways so they don't buy things" or "People in Europe don't buy things during summer". Advertising is about as much science as economics is -- the dismal science.

Re:Difference between banner ads and TV ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572757)

I agree. While Joe Sixpack (to whom I am superior) might like watching his Budweiser ads, I feel that television advertising has absolutely no effect on me. This is probably because advertisers cater to the common American Joe, not to superior Slashdot readers such as yours truly.

Frankly, I'm disgusted with the way typical Americans eat, sleep, think, breathe, and consume.

Ugggh (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572501)

The New York Times is a pain in the ass... registration sucks!

simsons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572506)

Thus Quoth Nelson

Well... (3, Interesting)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572507)

With commercial skippers and channel surfers being thieves and all that, violating their contracts with the networks....

Gee, and I thought that paying for cable in the first place was meant to eliminate the need for commercial spots.

Re:Well... (2)

dj28 (212815) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572721)

Wrong. Paying the cable company is paying for the lines to your house and the infrastructure of the network. You aren't, and never were, charged for CBS or any of the other channels. Nor was the cable fee ever meant to replace commercials. The bill you pay to the cable company is just to get the service to your house (unless you purchase HBO or something).

Re:Well... (3, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572776)

Gee, and I thought that paying for cable in the first place was meant to eliminate the need for commercial spots.

Not really, it's a suppliment. The rest of the money comes from ... you guessed it ... adverts. If they really did scrap all adverts, then your monthly fee would skyrocket to the point that it would be horrendiously expensive and no-one would be prepared to pay for it.

Again, I point out that it only works in the UK because:

  1. The BBC don't get into bidding wars for popular programmes - they just pick up the stuff years later when the cost is down
  2. The BBC do a lot of home-grown stuff which, whilst still being expensive, is cheaper than buying it from other companies
  3. The BBC then sell these programmes to others to recoup costs (Tellytubbies is one popular example)
  4. Everyone who owns a TV in Britain is forced to purchase a licence by law. Thats a lot of people and a lot of money.

Makes me wonder ... (4, Insightful)

WinkyN (263806) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572508)

is it possible for there to be any kind of media without advertising?

I received my latest National Geographic magazine yesterday, and immediately went for the map included with that issue. It's a beautiful map of Mt. Everest and the various expeditions that have ascended that peak.

I flipped it over and saw a bloody ad for Ford taking up the entire poster. Instead of providing additional information about humanity's accomplishments in relation to the mountain, we get to hear about Ford's support of mountain climbing. I'm less than pleased with this.

Advertising is becoming so pervasive you can't do anything without seeing an ad. Watching a movie? Look for the product placement. Driving a car? Look for the billboards to roll by every quarter mile. I can't answer my phone any more because literally 90 percent of calls to my home are telemarketers.

When will it stop? When will we (consumers) be able to find something to do without being bombarded with advertising?

National Geo has had... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572567)

They've had advertising on the inside covers and back cover for approximately 40+ years.

Did you just wake up after a long sleep, Mr. Van Winkle?

Re:National Geo has had... (1)

WinkyN (263806) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572603)

Please notice I specifically said the map, and not the inside of the magazine. I have been aware the magazine contains ads and has been for several years. But this is a first for the back of the map.

Re:Makes me wonder ... (3, Insightful)

Flower (31351) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572633)

Just regarding the mag issue and skipping the rest.

That's ok. I'm sure they can make an ad free version of National Geographic for you at ~$50US an issue. And no, I'm not kidding about that price one bit. I work in the IT department for a newspaper and without ads the cost of a daily newspaper would go from 75 cents to nearly 20 dollars iirc. Ads really do make that big of a difference in the profit of a publication. Ford probably paid a premium for that spot.

As for myself, when I was in your position I used to love having the ads in those places. I could then remove the map/article/whatever and not damage any additional content within the publication. Personally, I don't know what you are bitching about. You got the map for a song. Not all advertising is bad.

Re:Makes me wonder ... (2)

dirk (87083) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572644)

Consumers will be able to find something to do without being bombarded by ads when they pay for everything. The reason free TV is free is because the costs are paid with advertising. The reason many web sites are (or were) free was because the costs were paid by advertising. You can watch TV without ads, it will just cost you $10 per channel to get HBO or Cinemax. You want web sites without ads, find one that is members only and join it, most of them are ad free. Everything costs money. That cost has to be paid by something. If it isn't ads, it will probably be by you.

Re:Makes me wonder about something else (1)

zaren (204877) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572686)

I wonder how much audio advertising a fetus is subjected to before it's born...

Personally, I'm still waiting for advertising on toilet paper and paper towels in public restrooms.

Can't afford Apple's nifty hardware? How about a raffle ticket? []

Re:Makes me wonder about something else (1)

GnomeKing (564248) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572698)

Damn you

my plan to build up sales for the new fluffy(tm) toilet paper by putting slogans on gas station loo rolls like "bet ya wish this loo paper was fluffy(tm)" has now been suggested to the whole of slashdot!

I bet someone else gets there first now

Re:Makes me wonder about something else (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572782)

In Japan, many fast food establishments don't provide napkins. Instead, you can get napkins handed to you for free by people on the street. The napkins are free, because they contain advertising.

Not quite what you were saying, but they're getting closer. Hell, one time I was on a flight and my peanut bag contained an advertisement for a clothing company.

Welcome to the BBC (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572735)

is it possible for there to be any kind of media without advertising?

Yes - it's the BBC. For those who might not know, there are no adverts on the BBC. We pay a 'license fee' (euphamism for a tax levy). This fee then goes towards paying for the BBC. In addition, the BBC also has some merchandising and sells off programmes to foreign stations.

But then you know that. It always raises a giggle from me when I'm in the US and I see PBS saying "it's only with your donations that we're able to bring you quality programming like the Teletubbies". Really? Leaving aside whether you believe Teletubbies to be quality (I do, for it's target audience), I could have sworn that the real reason it exists is because of my UK taxes going towards it...

So there's your answer. Directly funded TV is possible, and does exist. Just not in the US as far as I'm aware.


Re:Welcome to the BBC (2)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572768)

PBS used to be taxpayer/government funded. Sometime in the last 5 years or so, the gov't stopped most of it's support or public TV. Public TV in the US is largely in the process of dying. Without gov't handouts, it's impossible to scrounge up enough money from begging to support a television station. PBS has got more and more ads every single day.

Ads are important... (2)

El Camino SS (264212) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572754)

After all, ads simply cheapen the model for the end viewer.

Television won't go away, but at the end of the day, commercials just make it cheaper, but charging $.25 for each show would make the networks rich as hell. So either way, commercials will be here, and so will pay TV.

There just needs to be a way to pay for your TV and have no commercials, but that won't happen either, because ads are so pervasive.

Even if you pay for a magazine or television with almost complete exclusivity for commercials, then they will still attempt to slip a few in, BECAUSE THE TEMPTATION IS THERE TO TURN A FEW EXTRA BUCKS because now it is more of a tempting target. Cosmo or something similar? You pay $5 an issue and it is ALL ADVERTISING.

Strangely, I have noticed mostly men complaining about the commercials, although that is defenitely not a hard and fast rule. It just appears that women like to kind of shop in their heads when they are watching... after all, not to stereotype, but most women that aren't totally into compiling or racing cars seem to like shopping.

The best thing to do is tape or Tivo it out, but if that doesn't work, then learn to totally ignore it. I work in TV, and the advertising force is the same size as the production force. I guess no one should be surprised by this.

Most likely solution (5, Interesting)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572512)

Commercials integrated into the shows. Basically, the commercials will be the shows. (as if they wern't already).

Re:Most likely solution (2, Insightful)

motardo (74082) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572556)

I'm seeing more and more prominent product placement on the main networks nowadays. It's like how there are products that are off in the background, but aren't too blurry to read when they're doing a close-up of the actors face.

Re:Most likely solution (2)

CrazyBrett (233858) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572707)

Ah, you may be right about this... remember "The Truman Show"? The show was never interrupted, per se, but there was very commercial-esque product placement and endorsement built in. It does seem to be the logical next step... if you can't get people to sit through the commercials, you can trick them into watching them as part of the show.

worries are just whining for now. (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572518)

Right now the only ones that are whining are the CEO's and the other clueless wastes of space that like to make noise and get media attention.

at the sales front, advertising sales are down, why? BECAUSE THE ECONOMY SUCKS. and the CEO's who will be the first to be fired for sales dropping by the board are trying to point the focus of blame elsewhere. it's a simple Cover your Ass move, blame something out of your control.

In reality, companies buying advertising is still buying advertising, they aren't saying, "I dont want to buy TV spots as PVR owners will just skip them, I'll advertise in the newspaper instead" and they wont say it. It does not affect them, they do not lose money no matter what lies they try and create. (Make them show proof of 1 client that stopped advertising with them because of PVR's ... they cant)

basically, everyone needs to call these whiners on the carpet, make them prove it or shut up.

and the bottom line is they cant prove it because the impact is not real.

Do they think we sit enthralled by a commercial? (2, Insightful)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572520)

Do advertisters honestly believe that we sit enthralled by their crapulous offerings? Commercials are the point in a television show where I have the chance to take a leak or grab some cookies.

Hehhehe.. Record a commercial? I don't even do that now. that's what the "Pause" button is for.

Re:Do they think we sit enthralled by a commercial (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572675)

you are a moron : you can just watch tv while eating and you pretend to be smart.

Make ads work with PVR (4, Interesting)

josquint (193951) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572521)

either make them REALLY eye catching so i notice them when i fastforward over them(which works, cuz if i DO see an ad worth watching i slow down and take a look, and am still able to skip over the feminine itching ads)

or make them in slow-mo :) that way you'd see them in normal time FFing over them... sux to be a normal TV veiwer hehe :)

Move Advertising Back Into Shows (0, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572527)

Granted, this could be a bit dicey for feminine products.

John: "How's my angel-baby?"

Marsha: "Not feeling so fresh, John."

Somebody gains? (5, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572528)

I really don't understand the logic of this:

There is an important distinction, Mr. Sternberg said, between "zipping and zapping": "When people switch channels, they are going from something to something else. There are losses for one channel, but gains for another. With fast-forwarding there are only losses."

If you're surfing on ads, you're going to something else that's not ads. Where's the gain?

Re:Somebody gains? (0)

hplasm (576983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572612)

I gain. There is less Ad-strain on my brain.

Re:Somebody gains? (2, Interesting)

e40 (448424) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572642)

But in the process of surfing through 50 channels, you will glimpse ads for many companies. This subliminal "you saw a little bit of it" is worth something to do the advertisers. (I didn't say it was effective, just that this is what they want.)

Re:Somebody gains? (2)

Artifex (18308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572737)

If you're surfing on ads, you're going to something else that's not ads. Where's the gain?

Because usually you end up going through several intermediate stations, with at least a second or two of ads, and those add up? Maybe this is why "digital cable" was invented - to force viewers to slow down to 5 seconds between channels =)

If you want to read the article: (3, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572535)

without having to register then click here [] .

One day, maybe slashdot authors will link to the partner version and implement google style caching too :o)

Article Appears on the Front Page of Print NYT (5, Interesting)

dave_aiello (9791) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572540)

Slashdot readers may be interested to know that this article appears on the front page of most print editions of the New York Times. The Times has run many articles about Personal Video Recorders (like TiVo and ReplayTV) in the past, including a big article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. But, this is the first time anything about the technology has appeared on Page A1, at least AFAIK.

PVRs are here to stay (5, Interesting)

lindsayt (210755) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572546)

At the risk of making a 640K-style prediction, PVRs are here to stay and the networks are going to have to get over it.

1)There is no contract, explicit or implicit, between the transmitter and the receiver of radio waves. This is clearly laid out on the basis of CB, AM, FM, and TV laws for years. Though satellite and cable do in fact have an explicit contract between the people on opposite ends of the beam or wire, this is *NOT* between the original transmitters and the final receivers. This is an important point of FCC rulings.

2)The satellite and cable companies all stand behind PVRs as value-added features they can give their users. This puts the whole discussion into a legal battle between behemoth companies, not a napster-like fight between david and goliath.

3)Many of the companies who could lose from PVRs also could gain: Sony of course owns CBS, and while they lose money on ad revenue, the gain from the sale of PVRs. Same with Philips.

4)No matter how hard they try, reason generally does win out, and it's hard to imagine people ever being convinced that not watching ads is stealing - in which case refrigerators and toilets have been stealing for years.

Re:PVRs are here to stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572742)

Sony doesn't own CBS - that's Viacom.

The bottom line... (4, Informative)

Copperhead (187748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572547)

is that industries hate to change. The 30 second spot that has worked so well for almost half a century doesn't work anymore, but instead of adapting methods of advertizing, the industry works to ban the technology so they don't need to adapt.

My guess is that if advertizers embraced the new technology, and started moving towards placing the advertizements in the shows (product placement, etc.), the technology could be a great boon to advertizing. But just wait... instead they'll lobby the Federal government.

I love the Heinlein quote... "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. "

NYTimes Account info (3, Informative)

josquint (193951) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572548)

In case you're not the 'free registering' type.
Use this account info:

Username: slashdottroll
Password: slashdottroll

should work, i just set it up...

NYT sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572553)

it requires free registration

Re:NYT sucks (0)

L1nUx h4x0r (574828) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572765)

I know. What kind of crap is that?!
I want to pay to register. They should charge $4.95/month. That way it's fairly cheap, but something so I feel as though I'm getting content worth reading.

They know about these problems, and do nothing (1)

viking099 (70446) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572554)

The television industry has known about DVR's for years, of course.
The music industry knew people were recording their music, and did nothing.
The advertising industry knew people were recording shows, and skipping ads when they recorded.
Both of them did nothing to stop it when they first knew about it, because the technology wasn't there to make it a threat. So they ignored the 20 pound weiner dog, and it became a 100 pount rottweiler. I just know they're going to try to punish everyone by either looking for legislation against the PVR industry.
Heaven forbid they recognise a potential threat and move against it (more effective in-show advertising, better targetted ads, etc), rather than wait until it becomes an almost unstoppable consumer movement that threatens their entire profit plan.

Re:They know about these problems, and do nothing (1)

corian (34925) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572628)

The music industry knew people were recording their music, and did nothing.

The music industry knew people were recording their music, and got extra "recording taxes" attached to the price of black media/tapes/etc.

The problem TV faces (3, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572557)

It's not so much with the first runs, such as Buffy on WB, it's with the syndication. Placement spots, where you see Buffy drinking Coke instead of Pepsi, could be sold to replace the advertising spots. Some movies already do that.

But how to make money off of syndication? When a show is in reruns the local station, or cable network, makes money by selling advertising. But if the ads are embedded in the show, how will the station make any money? Remembering that, without money they don't show the show. Will the backgrounds of the shots have to be digitally altered to sell new advertising? Or the foreground? Will we see Willow using a Mac on the first run, and a Dell in the rerun?

Re:The problem TV faces (2)

Reziac (43301) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572730)

Or what if no one wants to buy the vacated embedded advertising (to alter it per the above post) or if it's so entrenched (frex, a can of Coke in *every* scene) that it would be absurdly cost-ineffective to digitally alter it, not to mention the cost to redistribute it?

The upshot is that a show that doesn't attract enough conventional ad dollars then goes into the scrapheap, never to be syndicated again.

Pop-Under TV commercials? (1)

madirish2600 (149913) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572558)

It is interesting to watch the knee jerk response that these recorders have caused in the advertising industry. The first impulse was to simply lobby to make them illegal. Now it seems advertisers are finally realizing that digital technology is going to let people personalize thier content. Just as the web has made advertisers struggle with placement, traditional TV commercials are probably long overdue for an overhaul. I just hope advertisers and TV execs don't make viewers suffer with some sort of pop-under ad equivelant on television. Who knows what the next wave will be, making you watch 2 minutes of commercials to get access to a TV feed? Personally I think television is a waste, there usually isn't much worth watching, and what is worth watching is usually available on DVD at some point. I have to admit though, if I could watch a 30 minute program without the 15+ minutes of commercials I might find it a more valuable investment of my time.

For the NYT login-impaired (text of article) (1, Informative)

erpbridge (64037) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572563)

From NYT: (Text of article)

Digital successors to the VCR that eliminate the frustration of recording television programs have crossed a popularity threshold, raising alarm among advertisers and TV executives who see the devices as a threat to the economics of commercial television.

Digital video recorders, or DVR's, make it so easy to program and play back shows -- they do away with videotapes by storing 30 hours or more on a hard disk -- that their owners often choose to watch what is on the machine rather than what is on TV. Ignoring the networks' painstakingly planned schedules, they watch prime-time programs late at night and late-night programs before dinner, often oblivious to the channel on which it originally appeared.


They also see fewer than half the commercials they used to, compressing hourlong shows into 40 minutes as they fast-forward through the advertisements that the television industry has long depended on to pay for its programming and profits.

One in five people who own a DVR like TiVo or ReplayTV say they never watch any commercials, according to a recent survey from Memphis-based NextResearch.

Numbers like that have provoked gloomy pronouncements from industry executives. Some even come close to accusing habitual ad skippers of theft.

"The free television that we've all enjoyed for so many years is based on us watching these commercials," said Jamie C. Kellner, chief executive of Turner Broadcasting. "There's no Santa Claus. If you don't watch the commercials, someone's going to have to pay for television and it's going to be you."

But such admonishments appear unlikely to sway DVR owners. By recording the shows they know they want to see, many say they have escaped the scourge of channel-surfing and the empty sense of wasted time so often associated with watching TV. Although sales of DVR's are still small compared with those of other home entertainment devices like DVD players, analysts say the remarkable enthusiasm they inspire makes their broad adoption only a matter of time.

"I can do e-mail and I can go on the Internet but I've never been able to program the VCR," said Kay Friedman, 66, of Morton Grove, Ill., a TiVo owner who takes special delight in waiting until 9:20 to watch "The Practice" on Sundays so she can skip through the commercials even as it records. "I'm hooked."

Dismissed until recently as too expensive and complex for the average consumer to set up, DVR's are now a fixture in more than a million United States households -- about 1 percent of the total -- a number expected to grow to 50 million over the next five years, according to Forrester Research. Fueling the growth are cable and satellite companies, who plan to build DVR features into their set-top boxes, greatly simplifying the set-up process. Cox Communications, Time Warner and Charter Communications have already announced plans to make these services available to consumers later this year.

TiVo, which markets its own DVR and licenses its service to others, costs $300 to $400, plus a $12.95 monthly fee. Sonicblue's ReplayTV 4000 costs $699 for 40 hours up to $1,999 for 320 hours of storage; the company said it expected sales to increase when it introduces a lower-priced machine later this year.

The television industry has known about DVR's for years, of course. But as the popularity of the digital technology begins to undermine many of the basic assumptions that have governed the television business for decades, broadcasters, cable programmers and advertisers are scrambling both to resist and to adapt to people who can rearrange schedules and skip commercials at the press of a button.

"You start losing marginal dollars when people who you thought you were buying are not viewing," said Daniel Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers. "This is not just a theoretical problem that might be happening somewhere down the line. This is happening now."

Some advertisers are re-evaluating their buying strategies and demanding new ways of measuring audiences. Steve Sternberg, director of audience analysis for the advertising firm Magna Global USA, circulated a memo recently that asked, "If an advertiser buys `NYPD Blue' on Tuesday night, and 10 percent of its audience watches it on Friday after midnight, should that audience be given equal value as the `live' prime- time audience?"

There is an important distinction, Mr. Sternberg said, between "zipping and zapping": "When people switch channels, they are going from something to something else. There are losses for one channel, but gains for another. With fast-forwarding there are only losses."

Others are trying to turn the technology to their advantage. Coca-Cola has paid for advertising that appears on the screen of a ReplayTV user when a viewer pauses a program for more than a few minutes. Last week, Best Buy announced that it would embed electronic tags visible only to TiVo users in 30-second commercials featuring the singer Sheryl Crow it is running on MTV. Viewers can click on an icon to see 12 additional minutes of the Best Buy "advertainment," while TiVo records the continuing MTV programming so they can watch it later.

"We need to start to understand how we're going to have to reach our consumers with this new technology," said Mollie Weston, a product manager for Best Buy's image advertising. "It is going to force us to put advertisements out there that people are actually going to choose to watch."

Indeed, advertisers take heart in data from TiVo that showed its viewers fast-forwarding through this year's Super Bowl and using the instant replay function for the Britney Spears Pepsi commercial more than any other segment besides the winning field goal.

Because DVR's are connected by a phone or high-speed Internet line from a viewer's home to a central server to get program schedules, some advertisers envision downloading commercials aimed at individual people based on information from databases compiled through other sources. Members of Purina pet clubs might get pet food commercials, for instance, while the owner of a BMW lease that is about to expire might get an advertisement on the automaker's new convertible.

"There's a lot of things that are going to start to change," said Ira Sussman, director of research for Initiative Media North America, an advertising buyer whose clients include Maybelline and Home Depot. "We're going to have to start thinking more about the importance of product placement within programs, placing more relevant, highly targeted messages. But we see it as a glass half full."

His research reflected a less rosy picture for the television networks, however. "We've found people recording programs and watching them on their own time are often not realizing what network they're coming from anymore," Mr. Sussman said. "That's a real brand equity that might be lost on the networks' part, if you're trying to put something next to `Friends' but no one's watching `Friends' live."

Much of the television industry's response to the new technology so far has focused on a lawsuit that seeks to ban the sale of the newest version of ReplayTV, which allows its customers to set it up to skip commercials on playback automatically, without even requiring them to fast-forward. The machine also allows its owners to send shows to each other over the Internet.

A group of media companies including Viacom Inc., the NBC television network, the Walt Disney Company, AOL Time Warner Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox has asked a federal court in Los Angeles to stop Sonicblue from selling the device, saying it contributes to copyright infringement. To win, they need to prove that the machine is fundamentally different from the VCR, whose distribution was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1984 after a similar challenge by the entertainment industry.

Lawyers for the companies now argue that the court's endorsement of consumers' right to "time shift" television programming in the 1984 case was based on the assumption that copyright holders would not suffer significant financial damage as a result. Over the protests of privacy advocates, they are demanding detailed information about which shows ReplayTV owners record and which commercials they skip.

Sonicblue's chief executive, Ken Potashner, concedes that on average ReplayTV users skip more than half the commercials. But he says it is up to the networks and advertisers to come up with creative ways to persuade viewers to watch. The ReplayTV machine records all the commercials, and users must choose to set it to skip them automatically on playback. They can always reset it if they choose.

"What are they going to attack next, the mute button?" Mr. Potashner said. "We've provided an efficiency improvement for a consumer who is compelled to skip a commercial. What they should do is work with us."

A victory in the companies' case against Sonicblue will not stave off the fundamental shift in culture undermining their business, industry analysts say. Consumers have embraced digital technology that allows them the greatest flexibility in the way they shop, communicate and consume all kinds of media -- and it is not likely to be different in TV.

"We've trained people that you can buy things at 3 in the morning in the nude on the Internet and make a call to anyone from anywhere on a cellphone, and the idea that CBS is going to determine when I watch `CSI' flies in the face of that trend," said Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research. "TV networks are going to have to figure out how to make money from a TV viewer that is not nailed to the chair waiting for the commercial to end."

If it is good enough, even dedicated DVR owners can still be tempted to watch live television, complete with its inconvenient interludes. Chad Little, a ReplayTV owner who started a Web site called, where viewers can trade with each other, regularly records about 10 shows, including "Junkyard Wars," and "Everybody Loves Raymond." Sometimes he makes an exception:

"Buffy," Mr. Little said, referring to the vampire slayer. "There's times I'll watch it straight through with commercials and everything."

Its obiviously a failed business model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572564)

If we were to take the RIAA stance on internet radio and why they cant make money in the new (and thrown out) payment scheme, and apply it to television advertizers, we would have to conclude that their jam down your throat approach, business model is a failure. New technology (which is fair use and patented [for whatever that is worth these days] renders their model useless. Like the riaa they are scared to death because they are 'old school' and dont know how to change with the times. I suppose they will try to ram thru a crappy bit of lawy saying its illegal to watch tv and bypass the adverts.

NPR model (3, Interesting)

dolphinuser (211295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572566)

Perhaps the answer is for brodcasters to switch to a "sponsor" model, like NPR and PBS do.

Note that this is the model that CNBC [] is using with "Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser", and it seems to be working very well for them.


He has a point (3, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572574)

"The free television that we've all enjoyed for so many years is based on us watching these commercials," said Jamie C. Kellner, chief executive of Turner Broadcasting. "There's no Santa Claus. If you don't watch the commercials, someone's going to have to pay for television and it's going to be you."

He does have a point. A large amount of the funding of programmes comes from adverts. If advertisers don't use it any more because they're not seeing a return on costs then they won't bother.

Here in the UK we pay a shade over 100 pounds ($150) a year to have a couple of advert free TV channels and a number of advert free radio stations. Yes, they still push out rubbish, but our rubbish is still of a higher quality than elsewhere in the world.

It is worth noting though that it only works because everyone is forced to pay this by law if they own a TV set.

Re:He has a point (2)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572637)

Yes he does have a point, but only regarding over-the-air broadcast stations. Cable TV in its initial development/deployment had zero advertiser support. The fee for cable service was meant to support the station. Frankly I'm surprised the whole 'show producer'-'broadcaster'-'advertiser'-'veiwer' system didn't collapsed years ago.

Re:He has a point (2)

bricriu (184334) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572656)

Oooh, paying for TV. My god... that would be like... well, like cable is now. I pay for TBS (Turner Broadcasting Station... hi Ted!), and I pay for HBO, etc etc etc. HBO is some of the best programming out there, and they don't have commercials.

This is the heart of the problem (3, Interesting)

Black Aardvark House (541204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572579)

They also see fewer than half the commercials they used to, compressing hourlong shows into 40 minutes

That's right. One-third of network television's airtime is dedicated to advertising. And they're wondering why people are getting fed-up with commercials. It seems to be a rising trend [] as well.

I used to tape the Tick on Fox back when it was first run. The earlier seasons had approximately one more minute of programming than later seasons.

Stop bombarding us already!

They're so silly (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572585)

We've had commercial skip on our analog vcr's for almost half a decade now, but they don't worry about them? Plus now that commercials are done with full stereo soundtracks and studios are removing their analog equipment for commercial scheduling most of the clues that these schemes use are going away anyways. Why is this really such a big concern for the advertisers. Now for the studios I understand as PVR's make the idea of prime time obsolete, but for my money I would think that not tying a popular program to a particular timeslot would make it even more popular eg I haven't watched dark angel since they moved it to Fridays because I always go out with my wife to dance clubs and the like on Fridays.

If we won't watch ads..... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572597)

Then the people who put out TV shows will have to resort to product placements within shows to make sure that we are all brainwashed into buying products. Then nothing can stop their evil plans!

Simple Answer (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572610)

There's lots of ways to fix this:

* Ads that are *INTERESTING*. I watch those on my TiVo. I skip the boring ones.
* A *VARIETY* of ads. Even I get bored watching the same ad the upteenth time in half an hour. Penalties for those who show the exact same ad twice in one commercial break.
* Pay-Per-Show. Let people buy shows without ads. Problem solved. If I want to watch x with ads, then make it so I have to watch the ads. If I don't want to watch it with ads, I'll buy it.

TiVo, ReplayTV, etc are not the problem. It's the archaic business model. If you require ads to be seen in this technological age, and lots of people have the technology to skip it, well, it's time to rethink the way you do business. Make people pay for shows is one solution. The shows I watch tend to get cancelled all the time (the only TV show I watch that I can count on running it's full length is Enterprise). Other than news, and the occasional movie, I only watch *5* (yes 5) hours of TV programming regularly. If I could pay for the shows that were cancelled, I could set my TiVo up to record them at any inane hour of the day (3:30 AM? why not?). Especially since it'll be commercial free.

Of course, the entire TV industry would be turned upside down now that ratings don't really matter - just making money from the show.

- Especially bitter because of the number of shows he watched has been cancelled or will be cancelled. Heck, the way the TV stations and studios are going, I might not even need a TiVo or TV anymore - there would be *NOTHING* interesting on for me to watch.

1 in 5 DVR users skip? (1)

The Magic Yak (559288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572621)

If I read the article correctly, out of 1 million users (not that many compared to the total number of television users) only 1 in 5 skips through commercials? I use winDVR and almost never use the time shift feature, I'm just plain lazy, or I usually get up and do something else while commercials are showing. I use my DVR just like a VCR, I like the fact I don't need VHS tapes to record shows and the quality of the recording stays intact over time. The point the advertisers seem to be making is that everyone skips through commercials. According to the numbers, this seems hardly the case. I do skip through commercials when I watch a show I recorded when I was out, but I would do this on a VCR recording also (which the Supreme Court has already upheld as legal). I feel that if 4 out of 5 users are not skipping through the commercials, I don't see it as a growing problem for advertisers.

Tivo's answer: Semi-intrusive ads (3, Informative)

no_such_user (196771) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572630)

As mentioned in the article, Tivo has "teamed" with Best Buy to bring up a Sheryl Crow video when a Best Buy ad triggers it.

To bring this video to the box of (just about) every tivo user, Tivo buys time on Discovery Channel around 4:00am. They broadcast the video in the clear and have Tivo record it, but hide it from the list of recorded programs. The trigger to display the icon indicating extra available material is broadcast on a not often used (and masked by the Tivo) secondary closed captioning stream. Tivo intercepts this and acts accordingly.

Unfortunately, Tivo also adds an extra icon and menu item on the main menu, advertising the availability of (and giving you a direct link to) the videos. This isn't the first time this has happened -- Tivo "teamed" with BMW a few months back to do a similar promotion. There is a big debate [] going on in the Tivo Community Forums [] on if this is acceptable to Tivo users (who are already paying $13/mo for the service).

God forbid things should change.. (5, Insightful)

ari{Dal} (68669) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572632)

Digital successors to the VCR that eliminate the frustration of recording television programs have crossed a popularity threshold, raising alarm among advertisers and TV executives who see the devices as a threat to the economics of commercial television.

the times they are a changin boys. get used to it. brick and mortar stores learned to augment their sales online, now it's time for you to get with the times and learn how to supplement with the pvrs. Use product placement instead. God knows we see enough of it now.

You're not going to hold it back. we all know that. I'm planning on buying a PVR as soon as possible... i never thought i would, but then my boyfriend gave me a dvd player for christmas. It's easier, more convenient, and fun than a VCR, and i'm betting PVRs are even better. i'm hooked on digital TV and now i want it all. ALL DAMN YOU!

Numbers like that have provoked gloomy pronouncements from industry executives. Some even come close to accusing habitual ad skippers of theft.

"The free television that we've all enjoyed for so many years is based on us watching these commercials," said Jamie C. Kellner, chief executive of Turner Broadcasting. "There's no Santa Claus. If you don't watch the commercials, someone's going to have to pay for television and it's going to be you."

Ok, this one pisses me off. So the $50 i pay a month for my satellite TV service is a gift from santa claus? how about the $5 i spend every time i want to watch a pay per view movie? or the $40 when my boyfriend wants to watch one of those silly wrestling specials? And don't get me started on the prices for pr0n!

TV has never been free for consumers. we pay for it, and we pay big. It might not look like a lot to someone who's making a six figure salary to bluster and spread FUD to the media, but to John Q. Public, $50 a month is a lot of money. Multiply that by the number of cable viewers in the country, and you get a nice fat number. I'm not sure how its all divvied up in the end, nor do i really care... if network exec salaries and stars getting $1 million a show are any indication, things aren't dire yet. (i realise not everyone pays that much for cable, and some pay more.. i'm just going by what i personally pay).

And FYI: I've seldom actually watched a commercial since i was 12. the only ones i'll actually stay still for now are those funny blockbuster ones with the guinea pig and the rabbit.. those i love. So maybe you can take a clue from that? If you made commercials entertaining instead of annoying and loud, perhaps more people would watch them.

Speaking of loud, that's another thing that pisses me off. Is it just me or have commercials gotten even LOUDER? I know they intentionally raise the volume a few knotches during commercials to get your attention, but it's at the point where as soon as the program cuts to commercial, i automatically hit 'mute'. Here's another hint: LOUDER ISN'T BETTER!

And that's my rant for today, May 23, 2002.


Back in the old days... (3, Insightful)

Asprin (545477) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572639)

TV and radio advertising were based on 'sponsorship', not ads. Instead of a 22 minute show bookended and broken up by commercials, we had the "Alka-Seltzer Variety Hour" brought to you by "Alka-Seltzer" with the fizz that says "relief".

We'll probably be back where we started with similar sorts of corporate sponsorship in a few years. I don't really think it would be so bad, mostly I just flip channels during commercial breaks anyway looking for cooler commercials to watch than the ones paying for the show I'm watching.

Remember, in our universe, "Annoyance" is a conserved quantity - those wishing to advertise will certainly find ways to do so.

Don't spoil it for everyone!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572655)

There's a simple solution to all of this. Just stop admitting to these marketing bozos that you fast forward through the commercials! What's the joy in admitting on some survey that you don't watch commercials? Don't give the networks any statistics that will justify going after DVR's.

Nick Drake, Devo, Iggy Pop (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572657)

I've discovered these three talents from commercials. Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" was on the VW Cabriolet commercial. Devo's "It's A Beautiful World" was on a Target ad. Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" was some car commercial. The radio stations around here suck and I never really got into trading MP3s. After getting the CDs from the Record Exchange, I learned that: the chick at the counter *really* likes Nick Drake; that Target ad is the ultimage irony about the "world we live in"; and some car company is using the same song that was on the "Trainspotting" soundtrack. Anyway, I'm just saying that I WILL PAY ATTENTION to commercials... if and only if they're well done. Think about it in these terms -- Carrot-Top: Delete; the Dell Guy: Delete; the Florida Orange Juice commercial with people dancing to a Brady Bunch song: SAVE. You know, advertisers should realise that with PVR and broadband, people will *share* their favorite commercials.

simon adkins

like browser add wars (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572664)

Broadcasters will have to be more creative in placing ads. You already see this on the cable news stations with overlay and sidebar ads. ITs too easy to zap serial ads. You'll have to pay a premium for ad-free channels, just as you have to on the InterNet.

Space Merchants (2, Informative)

kk5wa (118020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572691)

Read "The Space Merchants" by Frederik Pohl.

Written in 1952, about a world where advertising is king.

If I were pessimistic about what the advertisers think their rights regarding commercials are, this book would be very prophetic.

Ridiculous Argument (2, Insightful)

EvictedHellCitizen (578447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572699)

Shouldn't the burden fall on the networks in this situation? As a viewer, I have not in any way signed a contract to view commercials. If a commercial is interesting, I will view it. The disturbing prevailing thought of the day is to give the content providers control over the mediums. Mp3 players, PVR's, where does control stop? Same logic behind Sony attempting to enforce digital music "security" in devices--leveraging their weight as a media content provider to "strongly encourage" security technology to prevent playing certain music. By having citizens nodding their heads saying "gee, it sounds fair to me--they should be compensated" means that media corporations already have a strong foothold and have warped the minds of many. Never mind the enormous privacy concerns--media companies seeking to obtain demographics forcefully.

Surprise. More FUD from the industry. (4, Interesting)

eyegor (148503) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572718)

You'd think that advertisers would get a clue.

Before I bought my Tivo, I was taping shows. I fast forwarded through commercials then too. Nothing has changed in that regard for most people.

If a commercial catches my eye while I'm fast-forwarding, I'll actually go back and watch it (usually if it has sufficient babe-content).

I think that the music and television industry's current "Greed Fest" is going to come back and bite them in the ass.

Can some please explain to me (2)

iceT (68610) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572723)

How these Digital PVR's are worse than the 30-second skip button the the remote control for my VCR?

Anyone? Anyone?

The solution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3572739)

The trick will be to make skipping commercials not worth the hassle.

For example, the screen will dim, and the viewer, expecting a commercial skips forward. Then sneakily, the screen returns to the show, revealing an earth shattering twist in the plot.


With HDTV on the horizon, networks could always stick to their 'boxed TV style', and use the sides of the TV (its extra wide, remember) to display advertisements _while_ the show is airing.

Then there would be no interuptions ever, and the ads couldn't be avoided.

Re:The solution (2, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572774)

Duct Tape to the rescue!

Would "interesting" ones really work? (3, Insightful)

meridoc (134765) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572743)

Okay, I'll admit it... I can't stand football, but I watched the Superbowl for the commercials! Why? Because they're interesting and (mostly) sorta clever.

On the other hand, would tons and tons of "intersting" commercials really keep my attention? Doubtful. I don't even remember which commercials I liked from the superbowl, let alone what they were advertising.

Unbundle the damn channels! (2, Interesting)

csteinle (68146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572750)

"The free television that we've all enjoyed for so many years is based on us watching these commercials," said Jamie C. Kellner, chief executive of Turner Broadcasting. "There's no Santa Claus. If you don't watch the commercials, someone's going to have to pay for television and it's going to be you."

Good. I want this. I'd gladly pay for the channels I watch. Then I'd only get the 10-15 channels I actually want, rather than the 100 or so I have to pay for to get the ones I want. The Beeb sustains 6 channels and umpteen radio stations on $9/month license fee. I'd gladly pay another £2-3/month for each channel I actually want, rather than the £35/month I pay now for what is mainly crap.

Max Headroom Died for Your Sins. (1, Insightful)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572751)

There are people out there who watch infomercials all the way through. They will watch the home shopping network all day long. They get 'magazines' that say "advertising section" in very small letters. They fill out marketing surveys, and answer telephone polls. They send in their registration cards for the toaster they bought. They don't care about privacy online. In fact they click on every banner ad, every floating flash window, every pop-under. They will answer every question asked.

Max Headroom Died for Your Sins.

Ugh. (4, Interesting)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572756)

Did they ever stop to realize that maybe they're not even an industry worth having? Flawed business model perhaps?

Examine the evidence:

#1 Inability to prove that people actually are paying attention, or that they can influence spending in a significant way. Even if they can, are they being manipulative in an unethical way?

#2 Advertising pollution becoming increasingly intrusive, even for products that are directly paid for by the consumer. Can't drive down the road without seeing billboards, watch a movie, even in a theatre. On and on and on...

#3 They use money that might actually be used in more worthwhile ways by companies. Such as increased production, better employee benefits, R&D, planning for consequences... hell, you guys probably have a better idea than I do where the $$$ could go, including places that benefit consumers, employees AND shareholders.

#4 The difficulty of drawing the line between advertising and fraudulent claims. Before you boo and hiss, are Miss Cleo's commercials on tv at 2am valid advertising? How low does she have to go before it isn't? How many in the past have sunk that low?

#5 Existence of products that were market hits even without much of an ad campaign. Word of mouth and quality were good enough, and the product filled a real need (instead of trying to invent a dubious one).

#6 The ability of advertisers to steal people's valuable time from them, even when they haven't expressly or implicitly agreed to give such time (unlike watching TV). Well maybe the ability isn't the bad thing, but their willingness to exploit such an ability is unbounded. Only fear of law and PR backlash keeps them in check, and then not always.

Again, do we need this industry? If it disappears off the face of the earth, will we be so much poorer? The workers will adapt, find new employment, and our country would be stronger. And even if they don't deserve it, maybe a few idiots would get scammed less often.

Best Ad Ever (1)

diablochicken (445931) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572767)

Frankly, after reading the article, I'm pretty worried that they may just legislate these things out of existence.

So I bought one now, while I still can.

Way to go, TV Execs!

Remember the good old days... (1)

RoadWarriorX (522317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3572773)

when you had like one or two big sponsors? My father (who is in his 70's) use to say that when he was a kid, they had great radio programs that had interesting stories. Each program had one big sponsor, and they paid big bucks for it (i.e Ovaltine). The only commercials you would hear were from that sponsor. Sometimes, they even had show hosts doing live commercials. When TV first came to be, they did they tried to do the same thing. If they still did that for television, that would be great.

But I am dreaming. Let's face it, everyone and their mothers needs to dip into the honeypot. You need to allocate commercial time on the national level, then allocate time on the regional level, until there are dozens of sponsors that hog all the time.

TV exec's are insane!! Who want's to see 20 minutes worth of commercial in an hour time slot???? Gimme a break!
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