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How Could TV Survive Without Commercials?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the sounding-the-death-knell-of-broadcast-TV dept.

Television 1122

Milo_Mindbender asks: "I'm sure many of the readers of this site know the joy of skipping commercials using a TiVO, Replay or other form of PVR box. I'm sure it has occurred to a lot of us that if someone produced a schedule of commercial stop/start times the PVR could easily make all commercials instantly vanish from a recording. While this would be really cool, if it got really popular it would KILL all the local TV stations and TV networks who depend on ads to survive. Sure, you could say it's their fault for having an outdated business model, but there's a problem: these sources are where A LOT of the content for your PVR comes from. If they die, there's nothing for your PVR to record. My question for this crowd is: 'If the commercials stopped tomorrow, what business models can you come up with that would keep TV content flowing to your PVR?'"

"I've heard a few interesting ideas such as:

  • having people pick a few ads from a list and watch them before each show...
  • ...giving advertisers a profile of your interest and let them show you a (smaller number) of unskippable ads for things you are really interested in...
  • ...ahaving the products show up in the show itself (product placement). For example: Buffy, after killing a vampire, could then slam down a Mountan Dew.
The most obvious alternative is to send your favorite shows to you via broadband and have you pay by the show. But would you pay to watch Buffy, The News, Star Trek? Would you prefer pay by the show, subscribe to a show/network or be forced to watch commercials? I'm interested in hearing what system would bug you the least, or if you have your own ideas how it could work."

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1122 comments

I got one... (-1, Troll)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137348)

How about: Turn the fuckin thing off and go play outside?

Re:I got one... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowtard (573891) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137359)

How about this one:

What about not thinking yourself better than others because you don't choose to partake of a particular form of entertainment they might enjoy?

You smug, self-important assclown.

Re:I got one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137469)

People like that smug, self-important assclown will most likely end up living healthier, happier, more fulfilling and worthwhile lives than the millions of mindless lemmings who spend nearly every spare moment vegetating in front of that idiot box while their bodies and minds slowly turn to mush.

Re:I got one... (5, Funny)

zulux (112259) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137482)


Food for thought - I watched *too* much tv. 6 hours a day.

I threw the bugger our and took up reading crappy scifi and posting on Slashdot. Same 6 hours wasted.

I've substitued one entertainment for another - and truth be told, I'm not more productive for it. However, I highly recomend to others that they make the switch:

After the switch, I've notices several good chainges in myself:
For some reason I don't consume as much goods, I'm less prone to inappropriate emotional outbreaks, and my vocabulary has improved. My spalling has remains attrocious as ever...

One thing that I won't do, is be a snob about it. I've only substitued one vice for another - I diden't acieve enlightenment or anything.

Re:I got one... (1)

waspleg (316038) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137427)

ah the sweet irony of a pasty geek telling couch potatoes to go outside and play..

yeah baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137428)

ToO MUcH MDX!@@@@@@@@@#$%

Television is VISUAL VALIUM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137451)

Television is just another addictive drug.:)

Um, how would anything change? (2, Interesting)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137351)

I think most people would be shocked to discover how little spending habits would differ if no one watched commercials...

Mostly, because they don't either. Human brains tend to veg out when the damn things come on.

Re:Um, how would anything change? (I'm heading OT) (2, Insightful)

peterpi (585134) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137369)

"Human brains tend to veg out when the damn things come on"

It's the same for weather forcasts. It's quite funny to ask somebody who has just seen the weather forcast what the weather is going to be like tommorow.

It really makes you see how sedated you are when you're watching telly.

Re:... (I'm heading OT) [farther] (3, Offtopic)

PDHoss (141657) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137435)

It's the same with people looking at their watch. Ask someone who checked their watch what time it is, and see how many have to check again.

It's a matter of getting from the medium what you need. In the case of your watch, it's usually "how long until the next thing I have to do?" Most people don't need the information provided by commercials so that information is quietly discarded. PDHoss

Re:Um, how would anything change? (4, Insightful)

GusherJizmac (80976) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137396)

There is a noted increase in revenue when an ad campaign is put out. Despite what you _think_ you are paying attention to, ads DO have an affect.

I used to work on the Toyota website, and when they ran an ad campaign, site traffic would increase dramatically. They also reported increased sales.

Plus, think about it logically, if ads didn't generate revenue or alter spending habits, they wouldn't be cost effective and wouldn't exist.

Re:Um, how would anything change? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137400)

You could be right. It could be that the
BILLIONS of dollars spent on TV advertising
are not effective at all. It could be that
all these years, the TRILLIONS of dollars
cumulatively spent on TV ads were wasted.

Stupid advertisers. They should have checked
with /. first. There, they could read some AC
who has such an insipid, stupid, baseless
comment jacked up on mod points.

How do you learn about new products? Sales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137433)

How do you learn about new products?
Sales?
By reading print (and killing trees)?
TV is here to stay, and stay for good.
I'd hate a world where you'd have to
subscribe to be able to get the news
(i can live with a few commercials)

Re:Um, how would anything change? (4, Insightful)

zulux (112259) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137446)

The adds work. We don't really know how, but the they do, as evidenced by finincial sucess that the companie reap by their effectivness.

One theory is such:

The goal of repetitive TV advertising is not to get your to get off your cush chair, run out, and immeidiatly purchase the product - it's to just get know and consider the advertised product the next time you purchase, and to forget that other viable products exist.

Here's an exapmle of how this works, answer the following question:

What's your favorite refreshing drink?

You probably answered Coke or Pepsi. 95% of the people will answere with one of these two - even though that are litterally tens of other choices: RC, Shasta, Jolt, STORE-BRAND$ etc.. in the cola catagory alone, let alone plain water or real lemonade.

Re:Um, how would anything change? (2)

funkman (13736) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137486)

This is particularly true with Bottled water. We actually have many brand named bottled water. It's just water! The formula isn't even different.

Re:Um, how would anything change? (1)

ibanez16 (241869) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137460)

I think the advertisers know that consumers will "veg out" commercials to some degree, but keep in mind that a lot of commercials can go into your subconscious, and as soon as you see a product ex. Mountain dew you might start to get thirsty or want to "do the dew". Commercials are generally tools to get people to think about a product, if they do that they are almost completely successful, the next stage would be to have the consumers actually purchase the product. In many cases when people look at a new product in a store its not for the first time, due to seeing the product in commercials, they feel more comfortable with the product when they have seen it before. Its very debatable, because some people will have no will to try a new product because of a commercial and some people will just feel the need to try it whether they realize it or not. I guess its dependent on the audience. It seems as though the advertising reserach must have proven that a good number of people tend to get these products into their subconsious otherwise they probably would not spend as much as they do. I think commercials play a good part in at least impulse purchasing habits such as food items.

Re:Um, how would anything change? (2)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137465)

People who think TV doesn't affect their buying habits make me laugh. Do you really think that commercials don't work? Why do you think companies pay millions of dollars for them if they don't work?

Here's an example of how TV affects my buying habits: Freshman year of college, I watched much less TV than I did before. When I came home for Christmas vacation, I went to see a movie. When I got to the theatre, I was surprised to find that I had never heard of *any* of the movies there, except the one I was going to see. The reason was that I hadn't been watching any movie ads on TV. When you watch TV, you are educated about the movies that are coming out through commercials, and occasionally you see one that looks interesting. This is only one of the many ways commercials affect how you spend your money.

product placement (1)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137358)

product placement already happens all the time in movies, tv, hell...in songs for that matter

Abercrombie & Fitch was practically BORN because some guys sang about chicks that were it a few years back.

IMHO: Subliminal product placement is WAAAY more effective than a 30 second spot in any situation

Re:product placement (3, Informative)

aengblom (123492) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137420)

Abercrombie & Fitch was practically BORN because some guys sang about chicks that were it a few years back.

Close, but actually not at all. Abercrombie is over 100 years old link [abercrombie.com] ... and it became "trendy" for young folks way before that one hit wonder wrote a song about it.

Re:product placement (1)

TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137472)

Close, but actually not at all. Abercrombie is over 100 years old link [abercrombie.com]... and it became "trendy" for young folks way before that one hit wonder wrote a song about it.

Rock-solid proof that marketing ploys work. The Abercrombie-of-old bears little resemblance to the store you find in malls today. The new "trendy" stores essentially just bought the name. There are many examples of this, such as beer companies buying up the name of some 300-year old Irish ale... They get to print "great taste since 1735" when in reality it is simply Budweiser.

Re:product placement (2)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137475)

Product placement is actually a bad idea. It pays for the production of the show, not the distribution, which are two entirely different things. Product placement is well entrenched in sports. I can watch a race with a Marlboro car fighting against an HP car. Marlboro and HP paid to put the cars on the track. Shell and Bridgestone paid for the upkeep of the track. None of that paid Speed Channel to bring me the race or the commentary. If I wanted to go to the race, fine. But I don't. I want to watch it on TV.

Say Buffy does slam a Mt. Dew after killing a vampire. What does she drink in the summer when they're playing reruns? What does she do ten years from now when it's on Nick At Nite? Is Mt. Dew supposed so keep paying for every use, or does their responsibility end when the producer cashes their check?

I really hate the idea of product placement, probably because I watch the news. It gets annoying to see tonight's TV features plugged on CNN's little news ticker. It's even more annoying when Bush's crony working for FOX News decides to call a toss-up election for Bush because that's who he wants to win.

It's bad enough that the news media are a bunch of whores. Do you really want our entertainment to be the same? Ask yourself: would you watch Buffy if the writers were more concerned with selling Mt. Dew than they were with entertaining you (you know, being "artists")?

We already do pay for TV without commercials (4, Insightful)

ct.smith (80232) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137364)

PBS, digital movie channels, HBO, etc...
We pay a premium for these already because they braodcast with few or no channels. This is a non-issue sort of question because the niche for non-commercial TV is already filled and doing fine.

Re:We already do pay for TV without commercials (4, Informative)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137393)

We pay a premium for these already because they braodcast with few or no channels.

What? Few or no channels? I think you mean few or no commercials, and I agree. Pay tv is the way to go, 99% of 'network tv' sucks ass and there's nothing worth watching. I'll take a handful of cable channels with no ads over 100 free channels any day. Obviously Tivo owners agree.

I think Springsteen said it best "57 channels and nothin' on".

Re:We already do pay for TV without commercials (1)

ct.smith (80232) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137474)

Err, bad mistake. I will now write 100 times:
'Preview before submit.' :)

Just don't watch it... (2, Insightful)

bbtom (581232) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137365)

I don't. And I haven't found my life in any way worse off. In many ways, I have found life without TV a big improvement, in that I can now think.

www.tvturnoff.org is a good place to start if your interested in unplugging from the Plug in Drug.

Ad agencies will find a way... (5, Interesting)

mookie-blaylock (522933) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137366)

I've been reading Adweek [adweek.com] and Advertising Age [adage.com] for a few years now and one thing you can be sure of is that ad agencies & networks are aware of this and are considering new ways to get their messages out. One way that's been kicked around is essentially inserting digital images of a product into re-runs -- older and newer shows alike. Also, there's good, old-fashioned product placement. Think of the original Wayne's World movie. Now don't be surprised when it actually happens. Finally, I think I've heard of rumblings of actually doing mentions in dialog -- it's met with some resistance, but since TV is a gigantic money whore anyway, I doubt it will take too long. Sporting events are generally covered -- logos, signs, etc. all over, with sponsor mentions as part of the actual programming. There have been rumors of replacing the first-down marker for NFL games with a logo/name (ack). Ultimately, advertisers will find a way, and basically the most foolproof way (from the standpoint of having something that can't be blocked without blocking the show) is to include it in dialog/set design. After all, TV and artistic integrity don't usually go hand in hand.

In show ads (3, Informative)

essdodson (466448) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137367)

You're starting to see these now and they range from something like having the actors do something like their laundry and the show shrinks onscreen to display an advertisement for a particular brand of laundry detergent. This was recently tested and had great results. I'm sure you'll see more of this. We'll also probably see much more branding in the actual shows as well. Something like all the characters wearing one brand of clothing.

I think this may provide some hope, but I think without traditional commercials they'll be in a tough spot to make ends meet.

Re:In show ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137466)

I haven't seen these yet, but as soon as they start showing these in-show advertisements, I'm on the phone to cancel my digital cable subscription. I'll happily listen to talk radio where I get some entertainment for a few boring commercials.. and listen to my massive MP3 collection. I'll miss the two or three shows I like to watch, but oh well.

Pay by show (-1, Redundant)

utdpenguin (413984) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137370)

The obvious alterative to commericals is to have either a pay by show watched system. I have another idea. How about a pay per channel system. You get hte idea a little wiht premium cable channels. But imagine I paid a certain small fee epr month per channel I wanted. I dunno how much it would have to be to keep the station afloat, but it it isnt too much it would be worth it to me.


It would also breed competition between the stations and we might actualy get some good shows.
(you gonna say there already is competition and that we cdont have good shows, but this system would allow a station to go in a particualr artistic direction and everyone who likes it pays and everyone who doesnt ignores it. Might work)

I dont like commercials. But i cna live with them.


--

Some Business Models Still Work (4, Interesting)

mikeplokta (223052) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137371)

I pay my TV license fee, I get BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 3, BBC 4, CBBC, BBC News 24, BBC Parliament, six national radio stations and a nationwide chain of regional stations. Since none of them carry advertisements, I don't think they'll be much affected by ad-stripping technologies.

It works for me.

Great if you're socialist (0, Flamebait)

wackybrit (321117) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137383)

I pay my TV license fee, I get BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 3, BBC 4, CBBC, BBC News 24, BBC Parliament, six national radio stations and a nationwide chain of regional stations. Since none of them carry advertisements, I don't think they'll be much affected by ad-stripping technologies.

Yeah, and that's great if you're a socialist. Most Americans, on the other hand, would not be so happy with a $150 per year TV tax.

I hope they get rid of TV licensing soon!

Re:Great if you're socialist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137450)

If you're a Socialist in the UK you're in the minority. Damn it, if you're a socialist in the Labour government you're in the minority.

TV licensing at least means we have a few channels that don't think [beeb.com]
this is a good idea.

Re:Great if you're socialist (5, Interesting)

raygundan (16760) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137459)

Most americans already pay far more than that for TV. This amounts to a little less than a $13/month increase to their cable bills, and despite the perpetual price hikes from the cable companies, people seem to be just paying the extra. I'm sure you'd find some takers.

I would certainly pay $150 a year to can the commercials. I fail to see how this is socialism-- as I understand it, the British TV license is optional. Don't want to pay? Don't watch the BBC channels.

Re:Great if you're socialist (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137487)

Actually its illegal to watch TV without a license. They even take your name and address now when you buy a TV or VCR.

Re:Some Business Models Still Work (0)

utdpenguin (413984) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137391)

This is a primarily Birttish idea that has never really happened in the states.


A shame really, cause I like the idea

Re:Some Business Models Still Work (2, Insightful)

bbtom (581232) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137404)

It is good - BBC produce some of the finest content out there, and I'm more than willing to pay the tax (actually, I don't have too... seeing as my house has a resident that is over seventy five).

BBC == darn good!

Re:Some Business Models Still Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137422)

And these channels are .... government supported.

OK. The question asked for a business model.
Nice try, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to
give you a D. It would be an F, since your
answer was completely irrelevant, but I thought
there was some effort there, so you get a D.

Subscription-based (2, Interesting)

jeremyhu (164852) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137372)

Well, nowadays, most everyone subscribes to cable or satelite TV, so going to a subscription service like HBO for instance could be a viable option.

Re:Subscription-based (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137447)

That would be ok, but they still include commercials.

Re:Subscription-based (2, Interesting)

agent0range_ (472103) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137467)

I would subscribe to a TV channel. It would probably cost me less to subscribe to the 4 channels I used to watch vs basic cable + tier 1 + tier 2 + tier3. It's just absurd. Why should I have to pay all that money when I just want to see NBC, TLC, A&E, and Space?

I moved recently and when I thought of the cost of cable, I just cancelled it. Now TV stations are getting no money from me (but local book store owners can now afford luxury cars).

Go to a Cable TV model, but without the fuff! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137373)

Remember when Cable TV first came out?! It was supposed to provide the content without the commericals!

It's time to revist that model, but this time, follow thru on it's promise.

Any way to make something more worthwhile? (1)

RockyJSquirel (412960) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137375)

It seems to me that the last vestages of theater have been purged from commercial TV and most Hollywood movies.

I wonder if there's any way the death of broadcast TV could make space for something more worthwhile?

Rocky J. Squirrel

Banner Ads (3, Insightful)

hoagieslapper (593527) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137377)

Why limit this discussion to TV. What about Radio? The Web (banner ads). Personally for what I watch, listen to, surf, I have no problems with ads. Although I will admit that some shows/sites to over saturate me. But TV, radio and the Web are bussiness. They are there to make money. 2 mins of my time for 8mins of enjoyment isn't bad. Also durring those 2 minutes, I'm using the restroom, popping pop-corn, putting the dog out....ect.... Keep the comercials. The slight inconveince outways the positives for me. But remove the offensive (aka porn) banner ads.

I'd pay for the shows (3, Interesting)

GusherJizmac (80976) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137378)

Given how many people watch a particular show, the cost of a show wouldn't be so much. I'd be willing to have my $50/month go straight to the shows I want to watch, and have everything based around a pay-per-view model.

Syndicated shows would be cheaper. Half hour shows cheaper, 2-hour specials more expensive, etc.

Networks could "give away" episodes of newer shows to get people interested. Perhaps there could be ads for shows before and after paid-for shows (but not in the middle).

It would probably result in less content, but it would be better content.

Re:I'd pay for the shows (1)

jeremyhu (164852) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137392)

Yeah, there could be variable length 'trailers' at the beginning of your subscribed show like in the theatre.

How can it survive... (1)

BLAG-blast (302533) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137379)

...when nobody wants to watch it.

Kill your TV.

Seven years without TV, the funny thing is that about 95% of my friends don't watch TV either.

commercial? (0)

lethalwp (583503) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137384)

the biggest problem with commercials are: they're always the same!
at least in belgium: you can see that they are scheduled like: each day the same commercials at the same time for 2 weeks or more

If at least they were more entertaining, more funny, and not always the same
ppl would zap tv to watch commercials instead of bad movies ;)

And they can be SOOOOOOOOOOOoooo stupid :(
*g*

Pay-Per-Channel (2)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137385)

This is the solution I've always wanted. Just like you can pay for HBO, pay for each channel individually through your cable provider. Set up network stations to be a part of the cable network and find a decent price for each channel. The cable company can set up packages (maybe with some sort of discount) or you can roll your own. I don't know the technical limitations (if any) of such a system, but it would be nice if I could just not have and not pay for channels I will never watch (MTV, UPN, other-various-three-letter-monsters) and lower my cable bill in the process.

And yes, I realize this leaves non-cable subscribers in TV-less land. I don't have an answer to everything!

Why should I pay for somthing that they don't own? (2, Insightful)

Ted_Green (205549) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137457)

A big point that many people miss, is that the broadcasters *don't* own the airwaves they broadcast on.

The goverment does.

The goverment only allows them to utilize those airwavs because in part they are doing a public service (such as news, election coverage, goverment anouncments, etc.)

There will never be pay per view, because those airwaves have allready been payed for by tax dollars.

Broadcasters are aloud to make money, of course, but they are not and should not, be aloud to charge us directly, in any way shape or form, for their services.

I don't know about you, (1)

Da w00t (1789) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137386)

But my showtime, skinimax, hbo, discovery, tnn, tnt, ... all of them are subscriber channels. Not only do they get money to fund themselves from commercials but also from the commercial cable company I pay $100 a month. Now, if you want to talk about TV stations [pbs.org] that currently work without any commercials at all, that's another story.

Here's a Solution (2, Interesting)

NedatEU (455298) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137388)

Ever watch Soccer on TV.. they have no commericals, just sponsered commerical free times that has their logo at the top of the screen next to the score.. why havn't ad companies thought of doing that for tv shows.. just have the logo of the sponsered commerical free time at the bottom corner somewhere and like before the show starts advertise that this show was brought to you commercial free by BLAH BLAH BLAH... and have the whole ad there where they say like "Obey your thrist, drink spite" and have the sprite logo in a corner thru out the entire epsiode of the show.. if it works for Soccer I don't see why it wouldn't work for other programs.. or atleast other sports..

Video On Demand (5, Informative)

Brian_Ellenberger (308720) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137389)

The magical "any day now" video on demand is here. On ATT Broadband in Atlanta I now have a certain selection of movies that are on VOD. It is $2.99 for an older movie and $3.99 for a newer one I believe. The coolest thing is that you can fast forward, rewind, pause, and stop and save for viewing later.

I believe TV shows can fall under the same model. Maybe the first show (the pilot) is free and each show afterwards is some cost. The cable companies can of course run package deals and such (50 shows a month for X dollars) and the cost may be pretty low if many people watch.

Interestingly, this model bypasses both TiVo's and commercial television's revenue models.

Brian Ellenberger

only one option (1)

sexykitty (311889) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137390)


Ad placement is really the only option. What's the point of commercial skip if we end up sitting through unskippable 30 second spots?

If it went to a pay per show type system, people would end up watching a whole lot less TV. Think about it. How many shows do you watch just because they're on?

Less viewership means fewer eyeballs. I think THAT'S what they're really afraid of.

Cut out the middlemen... (2)

Ooblek (544753) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137394)

Cut out the local cable companies, which already charge around $40.00 a month or more for access to the TV. I can't think of anything else I pay for directly that also forces me to watch their adverts. (Don't count the net, because there is plenty to do that is free and doesn't require ads, not to mention blocking software.)

If each channel encrypted their signal and got a licensing fee from each local provider based on each subscriber the had enabled to receive their signals, then they would be making money. The real problem about this way of making money is that it would actually give the networks a concrete metric of how many people are actually using their service. The high-paid news anchors, Nielson, and high residuals to voice and screen actors would go away. There are a lot of side-industries that don't want to see this happen.

Now that we are in the "information age," it is possible that the interests of the general public have changed. I personally don't find a lot of stuff on TV very interesting, so I don't have cable. This may be because of the increased amount and length of ads, or the lack of content networks can air now. (Yeah, we can't offend these religious idiots, so we have to make everyone else suffer.)

Maybe TV won't be around that much longer. Who knows.

Don't panic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137397)

This is basically FUD from the advertisers and TV networks who see their bottom line suffering 'cause someone's figured out their little scam. Exactly the same as the RIAA breaking their little hearts over all the poor disadvantaged artistes.

Hollywood was against the VCR when it first appeared. Then they discovered they could make huge profits selling the films they released over the past fifty-odd years on tape. Business models change and they find new ways of shafting consumers.

Don't panic. Buffy'll be back - she's survived death, she'll survive Tivo.

Digital Dillema (1)

Airon (108830) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137398)

Everything's copyable at some point.

A different business model is shure to creep up, should ads realy get the stake.

So what would the face of culture look like ?

We'd be swapping content ? Would it be freely available ? Would we have to pay for everything, because some Orwellian boneheads got their way ?

It isn't unlikely that P2P would be big and that product placement would take off in popular shows. Live streams via the net is another possibility, with analogue recordings to digital VCRs at the very least.

So I'd say the playing field will just move elsewhere and so will the ads. Watch shows when you want, how you want, as often as you want, but see lots of product placement. Perhaps TVs will be only up for rent :).

Tony

on another note.... (1)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137399)

it's nice to see the IBM ad on the page about this topic...

Slashdot! When you need a nice shot of DB2 in the morning!

pay for the channels (1)

stipe42 (305620) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137402)

I get 75 channels, of which I pay a monthly fee to get about 60 of them. Gee let me think, what business model would those other fifteen channels have to adopt if commercial revenue disappeared? Could it possibly be that I would have to pay a monthly fee to get them? Am I the only one who thinks that the question in this post was answered oh about twenty years ago?
stipe42

Last time I checked (1)

redog (574983) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137405)

I had to pay for tv.
Oh and last time I thought Id watch it there was an infomercial on.
So I pay the station that is being paied by advertisers wow looks like being the middle man could be nice.

No more TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137406)

Television is an outdated medium anyways. I don't have television and live fine without a 150 channels to flip through. You can get almost any show you want off the internet, why couldn't you embed ads (not going overboard) or sponsors for television shows?
Actually it would be much nicer just to be able to stream a show for a subscription. It would be easy to pay with the money saved from *not* buying all the useless things usually in commercials.

VCRs have been doing this for years (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137407)

The PVR just made this a little easier than what VCRs, and VCRs have been doing this for YEARS. Here we have a technology that's barely got 1% of the overall market, and people are screaming and yelling like it's the end of the world. Where are these same people when it comes to VCRs?

unconscious advertising (1)

Quazi (3460) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137409)

Charge us for it (cable TV, premium channels), and/or have the characters use specific products in the dialogue. Besides, whenever I see a character using a 'real' product (drinking a "Pepsi" rather than a "generic made for TV cola") it makes the show seem more believable. Rewrite the dialogue so the characters will actually mention the products they use -- unconscious advertising!

Survivor Anyone? (2)

Tranvisor (250175) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137410)

Product Placement is already huge. Anybody remember when the kiddies on survivor who were f'in starving did this big challenge and won wonderfully nutrious Mountain Dew and Doritos?

As for commercials, I don't see them going anywhere soon. When TV goes digital, there will prolly be a new encryption or something or other that makes them unskippable to the general public. The general public, having never bought a TiVo in the first place won't notice any changes and it will return to buisness as usual.

How About PBS an such (1)

bpb213 (561569) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137411)

They have to produce quality television, or people dont support them. Maybe public broadcasting's business model needs to be looked into.

Or some other plan - pay $5 or something a month for a cable service and then subscribe to the channels that you want at flat, low monthly fees. Of course, channels would then have to respond to consumer requests because they are now reliable on comsumer mmoney.

yeah..... (1)

CakerX (149266) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137412)

and this is a bad thing why??? we have been bombbarded with excessive commericals recently, for example, Star Trek, the original TV series was a half hour show orginally, now when they show reruns, its a full hour, why??? half and hour of comericals have been added in the begining.

There are some things that are allready being done (1)

Ted_Green (205549) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137413)


As viewers we have no contract nor obligation to watch what broadcasters send out. They already (despite some rather inane quotes from a few) know this.
So any method that they use to show ads, is going to be in such a way that it's more trouble than it's worth to circumvent them.

For instance:

There's the having an ad spot within the actual show itself,

Rachel: "Oh no! Ross I'm pregnat!"
Chandler: "You should have used a Trojan."

There's placing advertisments in the lower right hand side of the screen. (Picture in picture sort of thing)

There's also things that PVRs do themselves (which I'm sure broadcasters will try to make use of) For instance, when you pause your ReplayTV it will ocasionaly bring up an advertisment for the Rio mp3 player.
Needless to say, that's a brief look of what's to come.

Ultimatly though, any method that trys to use "user interaction". Like you picking out what ads you're going to watch, or what not, will *never* work.

BBC has no commercials... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137414)

... and it pretty much sucks. When you think about what the television situation in England is like, don't think "Masterpiece Theatre" or "Monty Python". Think about government-supported, badly-written, badly-acted, melodrama. BBC news is pretty good, though.

The private channels (e.g., Channel 4) are even worse. Think Fox.

I seem to recall... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137415)

That Cable TV was supposed to end all commercials once and for all. And while we're on the subject, do commercials before the main feature at the movies piss off anyone else? $8 for a movie and commercials too. God that pisses me off. The logical next step on that front is to play the commercials during the movie.

Anyway, I'd be willing to tolerate commercials for things I'm interested in. That'd be computer hardware (But no Dell, Gateway or AOL commercials) and never EVER under any circumstances Old Navy commercials or commercials for feminine hygene products. The PVR is the perfect platform for launching such endeavors. Just keep a cache of commercials that fit the profile and play them during the commercial breaks. PVRs such as replay TV could probably also replace commercials with their own (if they wanted to get sued again...)

Re:I seem to recall... (1)

peterpi (585134) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137453)

do commercials before the main feature at the movies piss off anyone else? $8 for a movie and commercials too. God that pisses me off.

I make a habit now of turning up about 20 minutes after they say the film's going to start. I usually find the film's just about to start, strangely enough ;)

they would use a different model (1)

LupusUF (512364) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137417)

I saw a thing on TV guide once about it. If commercials do die, they may just charge more for TV. I don't remember offhand what the exact number was, but I remember that it really was not all that high.

Of course there are also product placements and such. TV companies can also scroll things in front of your TV screen.

The other day on TNT I was watching some movie about a secret service agent and a cheerleader ran across the screen with a sign advertising the start of college football. I sure hope that does not catch on, because it was annoying as hell.

So basically, there are other ways of making money...some more annoying than others. Personally, I hope that they will simply charge more for TV, it would be much better than dealing with annoying adds. I would also like it if you could choose all channels
ala carte instead of paying for over 50 channels that you don't watch, and 10 that you do.

TV Should be Allowed to Die (1)

SloWave (52801) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137418)

TV programming has gotten so polluted with Ad's, product placements, and other marketing garbage that it is becoming unwatchable except for viewers already brainwashed by the commercial producers. The end result is that TV is only good for putting money in the pockets of big monopolies and maybe for special interest propagandizing. The best thing for everyone else is to just turn it off.

How about... (1)

DavesError (550952) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137419)

Pop-under ads... Sure, they will ruin the ripability of a movie or program for those wanting to record and share... But, I would much rather have a show or movie continue with a little ad in a corner than have it interrupted with something that's going to cause me to change the channel anyhow.

Alternate Point (1)

ritalin (4861) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137421)


Depending on what you're watching and what station its on, the commercials may be as, if not more entertaining than the program you are watching. If you are the demographic that they are targeting, they are usually very good.

Especially during superbowls, when big timers like Budweiser step up and unleash a whole new wave every year at this event.

advertising and stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137423)

why not just keep things as they are? most aren't smart enough/too lazy to buy something without ads.

i might be by myself on this, but if it's on tv, i don't really watch it. i won't bend my life to make sure that i can watch tv. it usually depends on what is on aswell. if i happen to flick it on at 2am, and there are only ad shows on or other junk, i'll watch my downloaded episodes from kazaalite (www.kazaalite.com).

they have no ads and are just a bit worst in quality (when you need glasses, just take em off and you are fine for quality).

i think the advertising companies have to realize who REALLY has the control....the viewer. it is slowly comming back to the people. the ones that truely pay for shows by watching their ads.

if they keep forcing their own ideas of what people want, they are in for a big hurting in ad revenue.

i am simply mad at them and just wish to download everything.

(www.bigredh.com is hotline. run yer own server)
(www.kazaalite.com - spywarefree kazaa)
(www.mirc.com - simple irc client. where alot of shows are aswell)

Take a Step Back (1)

PotatoMan (130809) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137424)

Commercials during television shows are a new thing, not an old one.


Back in the day (as you kids say), a company would pay the production costs for a show (this was the sponsor). This is where we got the "Texaco Playhouse"; the advertising value was just the connection to the show.


The idea of "product placement" goes back to these days as well. If you watch the old kinescopes (check your local video store for these), you'll see the cast perform the commercial right in the middle of a scene. "Wouldn't you like some fresh Knudsen milk on that?" "Oh, yes Knudsen makes the best milk." The cast of "I Love Lucy" was required to smoke during every episode; they were sponsored by Philip Morris.


What I want to know is this: why are they running commercials at movie theaters? And how long before your pay-per-view will include commercials as well? I'd much rather they raise the price and let me pay for what I want. I hate being whored out to Coca-Cola without my consent.

Greed is killing TV, not VCRs/Tivos (1)

Whammy666 (589169) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137425)

TV has changed a lot over the last decade or so. The quality of the programming has plummeted while the amount of ads crammed into every nook and cranny has sky rocketed. (My pet-peeve is the bug splat logo they insist plastering on every show.)

But what really ticks me off is that I'm paying for programming (Direct TV) and the paid programming has more adverts than the 'free' network channels. Then the MPAA has the gall to cry foul when I skip their commercials. "You're ripping us off!" Excuse the fuck out of me, but I paid for this programming already. Feel free to eat shit and die you greedy bastards.

There's another option (1)

luismunoz (254664) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137426)

Produce an ad that is so good, that you actually want to see it. This is tricky but I can only think of it as an incentive for ad producers and media houses to work a bit harder in the problem.

Something that comes to mind as an example is the series of Bud ads. Certainly there are other examples.

Just my 10E-3 cents...

Subliminal messaging! (1)

solistus (556078) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137429)

Make the ads uncuttable- plant them sublinally in the shows themself! You know, single frame ads, cleverly concealed slogans (yvan eht nioj anyone?)...

Or, if they wanted to go the 'morally acceptable' route, they could always have an ad bar on the screen during the show- nothing obnoxious, just a small banner... to keep them from being blocked, they could put them on the top or bottom randomly and switch every show.

But I really don't see the problem as valid- it's easy to get music without supporting the industry, but the majority of people that buy at least some CDs manage to support the poor underpayed multimillionaire bands...

if the ads were smarter.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137430)

instead of insulting our intelligence, maybe people wouldn't WANT to skip over them....

Pop - Up TV commectials (1)

ritalin (4861) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137432)


On TNT there are pop-up tv ads. Thats right.

You're watching a nice program (well most on Tnt is crap, but they have some nice sports coverage sometimes) and boom, there it is. An ad will pop up during the program. Tivo can't do anything about that. Superior annoyance.

And don't forget about embedded commercials like cbs used during indy converage this year where they superimposed ads on the racetrack. They also replaced the billboards on the track with their own ads too.

Television Stations as Middlemen (2)

Bonker (243350) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137436)

What the vast majority of people don't realize is that the Tivo/PVR-of-your-choice is a real good example of why we don't *need* broadcast television.

Right now, most people who have PVRs also pay anywhere from 50-150 dollars a month for cable or dish service. CableCo gets some of that money. The goes to basic cable producers such as Viacom, Disney/ABC, etc... for making stations and programs to watch on those stations.

Instead of advertisements, jack up the price for cable or wireless internet a little and let people download those shows over the internet in Mpeg2 or Mpeg4 format.

For local stations (and I won't make the argument that programming on local stations sucks...) the deal would be similar. What small amount of original programming they produce, (mostly news) would be made available to download in exchange for a small cut from the cable/dish companies expanded internet revenues.

By cutting out the middlemen, advertising-supported television stations in this case, the people and companies who produce television shows make more money that is not dependant on the whims of advertisers. They can be more explorative, provocative, sexual, etc.. without fear of their advertising getting cut by a company who's CEO objects to that kind of stuff. The people who watch television will probably pay slightly more to the cable and dish companies, but that price will be balanced by the time they *don't* spend watching commercials.

Why bother with commercials? Just Pay for the SHOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137440)

Why not simply make everything pay-per-view. If you like the Simpsons, you buy a "seasons pass" for like $50 and you can watch every new episode that season. Like it even more, pay $100 for a year and you can watch all the reruns too. On demand.


Go this way and you can completely eliminate the concept of "channels", and instead simply have a digital box on your set top that plays the item you want to watch when you want to watch it.


If you charge like 100 dollars for a "season" of Star Trek and you get 10 million people to subscribe, that's a BILLION dollars in revenue right there. What do you think the chances are you could find 10 million trekkies willing to pay for a year of new episodes that are commercial free?


Taken further one could also imagine the traditional limits of the television medium itself changing. Why should a show be half an hour or an hour long? Why not have show lengths that are more natural for properly telling a story? How many episodes of the A team did you wish were actually a little bit longer so you could take in more of Murdock's shenanigans?

uhh.... cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137441)

I hate cable, but I do have it. I don't recall the last time I watched network television (ABC, CBS, NBC, UPN) other than FOX.

The thing I hate about cable is that most cable companies claim that it is not "technologically possible" to subscribe individually to channels. That is, I can't say "Give me national geographic, all of your discovery, tlc, thc related channels, your sci-fi, the networks, CNBC, FOXNEWS, Comedy Central, BBC and The Independan Film Channel".

Cable would be a great solution for everyone if everyone had it, they cut out all commercials (I'm already paying for the fucking thing) and they didn't force me to get ten channels of ESPN, eight channels of womens programming and four hundred government/local programming (where my tax dollars subsidize some jamacain woman without teeth preaching god and some naked elderly man talking about marijuana).

I'd gladly pay $5/month to watch The Dead Zone, FarScape and the FOXNEWS channel, which is all I tend to watch.

Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137442)

I mute my tv for commercials now, and simply stop wasting time and resume coding/whatever.

Damn! I'm killing TV! .. Or maybe it's the fact that there's no quality shows on that's killing TV.

Err, wrong rant. Anyway, I'd pay not to have ads skippable, nor have unskippable ads. I'd like to see an option for me to choose the ads *I'm* interested in.

"Wait, wait wait. Pop ups." No. You see, pop ups aren't ads I'm interested. See the above - I couldn't give two shits about this 'S1M0NE' movie. Especially since they type it like a script kiddie.

Yet some dumbass advertising exec probably figured, "Techies will love it!" - or worse, through use of cookies, they're showing it to some people by what *they* consider targetting.

No. Let *me* choose the ads I want to see.

"But no one will choose to watch any ads!"

Yeah. If I remember right, Ad Critic went down the tubes because we were hammering it in terms of bandwidth, eh? *snort*

If local TV died I wouldn't care... (1)

burnsy (563104) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137443)

So what if my local broadcast TV stations died. They provide so little local content it is laughable. Local news broadcasts are 4 minutes of local news (who got shot) and 3 minutes of weather (which I can get 24/7) on the net. Heck even the local sports content is moving to pay TV networks (for example in Cleveland you can't watch the Indians without having cable even though they play in a tax payer supported stadium).

Trust me, NBC, CBS, and ABC would love to kill the affilates and be available as a pay cable networks.

Let's kill the local broadcasters and free up that precious bandwidth for something useful. 85% of us get TV via cable or satellite anyways.

I doubt commercials are going away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#4137448)

I subscribe to cable TV, and have been noticing that it is the content that has been going away. Its being replaced by 1/2 hour long "Paid Programming" which is an infomercial/commercial for whatever "You'll die if you don't buy this" product that is being hawked. I would love to edit these "commercials" out, but if I did, there would not be any program left to view.

I have seriously considered giving up cable, but haven't yet, as there are still some Discovery, TLC, and Food Network programs which I do enjoy.

So I guess that the tradeoff is paying cable TV for several hours of uninterrupted commercials, to get the shows I enjoy

One Thats pretty obvious...To me at least (1)

k-0s (237787) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137449)

Why not have ads scroll at the bottom of a show like MSNBC, CNN, Headline News, Fox News, CNBC, etc do with stocks and news? You'd be definately eyeballs because the person is WATCHING the show, you just have to make them pay attention to your ads instead of the show. This is in comparison with todays commericals during which most people get up for pee breaks, food, etc. As a plus to the viewing public the shows would be longer also since there would not be commerical breaks, you'd get the full 30 mins (of a 30 min show of couse)instead of the 20-23 you get now. Thats about 10% more show.

Pay-Per-Channel (2)

man_ls (248470) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137452)

Paying by-channel would be a lot more convinent than paying for the whole service.

I'd pay, say, $20 a month for basic cable (which is $34.99/month) which would give me, say, the TV Guide channel, CNN, the Weather channel, and all the public access channels (PAX, C-Span, C-Span 2)

Beyond that, I'd be willing to pay $2/month for additional channels. Fox, UPN, FX, MTV, MTV2, ABC, NBC, and CBS. That's $20 + $16 = $36 right there. So it's a big more expensive.

Then, if I wanted to watch something else I wasn't subscribed to, charge $0.10 an hour to watch that channel on top of the regular subscription rate. That'd add up to $6 a month for 2 hours/day. THIS is where the distributers would make their money -- people who don't subscribe to channels, but want to watch say an hour a day of a channel they're not subscribed to.

People would click the "accept charges" button, switch off to another network...it'd be maybe $0.20 to $0.50 a day...but even at that amount, if you watch 2 shows you're not subscribed to 10 times in a month (easily doable) you've got a monthly channel subscription right there.

Not only would this model allow you to customize your cable service to the degree you wanted, because you're paying for the content above the basic service, they could show it with less adds, or perhaps allow targeted adds for a %10 reduction in your monthly fee.

If the local cable company (Adelphia) adopted this method, I would definately switch to it. Simply because I, personally, would end up paying a lot less monthly than already...about $25 instead of $35.

Soccer-like advertisements (1)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137454)

If technologies like TiVo take off and research shows that no one watches ads anymore (at least 20-30 years away), ads will start appearing on top of tv-shows. This is already done for soccer games because there's no time for commercial breaks.

Also, there will always be product placement throughout television -- Charles Schwab halftimes, Nestle "Crunch Time" in basketball, weather reports brought to you by Dewey, Cheetham and Howe, etc etc.

It will be a long time before TiVo devices are ubiquitous, but even then, there will be plenty of chances for companies to market on television. I prefer the HBO business model, but consumer price points will prevent that for the masses.

Obvious (1)

autarkeia (152712) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137456)

Pay-per-view and the associated product tie-ins that follow. HBO is of course the shining example of this: it managed to surivive initially on subscriber fees alone. After taking risks on shows it now has a raft of amazing shows and is able to sell them on VHS and DVD. The Sopranos is phenomenal, and its DVD sales have consistently been in the top 10.

The scary thing is that I just read that mary-kateandashley's [mary-kateandashley.com] latest horrific mind-trip has managed to sell more than even The Sopranos.

Its funny... (5, Interesting)

Psiren (6145) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137458)

I've often seen comments from Americans about how stupid it is us Brits have to pay for a TV licence to watch television. Well, that licence funds the BBC, and there are no ads on the BBC channels (apart from advertising the BBC itself). Something to ponder perhaps?

already happens (2)

jerrytcow (66962) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137462)

"I've heard a few interesting ideas such as:
* ...ahaving the products show up in the show itself (product placement). For example: Buffy, after killing a vampire, could then slam down a Mountan Dew.


This already happens. Pay attention during TV shows and movies (which, by the way, we *are* already paying to see) - there are tons of product placement. A few that come to mind: iBooks and iMacs in several prime time shows, and Seinfeld used to have a Klein mountain bike prominently displayed in his apt.

People aren't watching commercials - they either skip them if they have a TiVo, or switch channels. Stations know this and will have to change the way they advertise. It's been said before, stations are going to start playing ads during the show. Think of how CNN and ESPN have news/scores scrolling across the bottom of the screen during the broadcast - it's only a matter of time before this is used by shows for advertising.

MLS does this in a less annoying way now. The score in the corner of the screen is usually displayed with coke, nike or some other company's logo.

Don't need a new business model (2)

gerardrj (207690) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137463)

There will always be some contigent of viewers that don't or can't skip commercials. Some with the ability will watch some of the ads at least some of the time.
Those without PVRs or VCRs will simply watch the ads or change the channel as they do now.

I don't see a technology that will universally eliminate the commercials, simply lower their value to the advertisers purchasing that commercial time.

With lower revenues, stations do not need to change their business model, they simply need to adjust their compensation to employees like executves and the actors. There is no reason that the cast of Friends gets like $2M per year except that the statation/network has the cash to pay it. If the stations have less income they will simply lower the exorbatant saleries of the actors to be more in-line with what is available.

Lower outlay for advertisements on television will also mean lower product prices, as we the consumers will no longer have to pay a premium for having products pitched at us in commercials that cost $100,000 per half minute.

Pay your TV Licence! (3, Interesting)

norite (552330) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137464)

Here in Britian, we pay a TV licence - about £120 per year. We do NOT get ANY ads on BBC1, BBC2, BBC24, etc. I think paying about £120 per year is a good deal for not having commercials (Not that I can ever remember their content anyway) I spent 6 months in Canada - they had ad breaks every 5/10 minutes or so!! We do have adverts on the commercial terrestrial channels - ITV, Channel 4 & Channel 5. But these do serve a useful purpose - It gives you a chance to get up & grab a beer & sandwich, or make a cup of tea/coffee without missing the program :o)

simple - court, laws, patents (1)

norgTorg (413223) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137476)

If the business model doesn't work then they can just do what every other money making entity would do. take on a long stupid court battle. Or even better. Trash the current system and encode everything in some lame DVD type thing that is illegal to even think about and then charge customers for it AND keep the commercials . . . or get the "to skip stuff while recording to anything" patent and shut the whole thing down.

Erm... and how is this different from the VCR? (1)

phulshof (204513) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137481)

My VCR must be a hyper modern one, because it has this exact same feature: forwarding through commercials. To avoid missing anything it even allows me to forward while viewing the picture so that I know exactly when the movie starts again i.s.o. having to rely on 30 second skipping.

My computer with TV-IN has the same capabilities, but with the great editing options to remove the commercials permanently from my recordings.

On the other hand: I tend to watch TV when a show is on. It's rare that I tape a show. Perhaps if there are more suckers like me, the commercials will still be skipped the old fashion way: by taking bathroom brakes, and getting a soda from the fridge. :)

Old style advertising.... (1)

GuNgA-DiN (17556) | more than 10 years ago | (#4137484)

I've seen/heard TV and radio shows from the 1930's in America. Back then an hour-long show was sponsored by an advertiser. So rather than having 10 minute of commecials every 30 minutes you would know that your favorite show is sponsered by some corporate entity. Why couldn't TV do this today? Why do we have to be bombarded by commecials? I think it would make much more sense for TV stations to sell ads in this format.

Advertisers seem to be under the delusion that if you show me ad once I won't buy your product. But, if you pop it up in my face or assault me with it 10,000 times I'm suddenly going to head to the nearest store and empty my wallet. I think we should stop the "ad-assault" and go for a more sophisticated sponsorship model.
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