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ABC Wants DVR Fast Forwarding Disabled

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the learn-to-spell-bad-idea dept.


Anonymous CE Worker writes "The television network ABC is looking to develop technology that would disable the fast-forward button on DVRs, and allow commercials to run as intended on their channel." From the article: "Some research executives — even at networks with sales departments that acted differently — had argued before the upfront that ads viewed in fast-forward mode generated value for advertisers, since consumers were at least partly exposed to their messages. But Shaw said ABC was only interested in finding a way to receive compensation for un-skipped ads."

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Hey, here's an idea! (2, Funny)

OmgTEHMATRICKS (836103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676038)

We can use blipverts! Just watch out for the exploding diabetics.

Re:Hey, here's an idea! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15676163)

Actually, it's the epileptics that would have a problem, unless the diabetics were too busy watching the commercials to fix their sugar levels... :)

In any case, this is just another reason why programming will continue to get pirated to the 'Net via BitTorrent (or insert newfangled filesharing technology here).

Get over it, it's time to move with the technology, not inhibit it because it's chunking away at your profits.

Re:Hey, here's an idea! (1)

LiquidFaction (987468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676218)

Unfortunatly i doubt the majority of the american public has enough "headroom" to handle a normal advertising span full of blipverts... (Ba-dum-dum-Pish!)

Re:Hey, here's an idea! (1)

patrixmyth (167599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676233)

Ad People are missing the boat by trying to hold back progress. I virtually never watch DVD's now, mainly because it's so cumbersome to find the right remote to navigate through the nested play menu's and the required coming attraction ads.

The GE micro-ads are worth pausing to consider. I've stopped every one of those ads to read the hidden text, even though none of them has been particulary interesting (with a grudging cynical chuckle to the dead train people ad.) I even noticed a late night talk show host scroll jokes in fast forward in lieu of the monologue. The jokes weren't any funnier, but it did feel like I was getting something extra.

P.S. Wouldn't it be fairer to say Disney is trying to figure out how to disable ff on commercials? Somehow I doubt they would only use the technology on their ABC affiliates, and not Disney Channel and the other 15% of basic cable channels they own.

Re:Hey, here's an idea! (2, Funny)

dubmun (891874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676266)

Or... utilize the first 15 second of a thirty second commercial spot to present a static image that will catch the attention of a DVR user in fast-forward. If I were an ad executive that's what I would do!

stupid (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15676039)

Why, ABC, do you want people to stop watching your programs?

NEWSFLASH: If your channel is the only one disabling fast forwarding then people aren't going to bother watching your shit in the first place.

Re:stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15676135)

I don't watch any shit on ABC, NBC, CBS, or any of them. 90% of the programming is junk, and 100% of the commercials piss me off.

Re:stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15676183)

I don't watch any shit on ABC, NBC, CBS, or any of them. 90% of the programming is junk, and 100% of the commercials piss me off.

I don't know, I kinda like the ads during the superbowl. Too bad they rejected the really good ones.

Fine by me... (5, Funny)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676044)

So long as it's just blocking fast-forwarding on ABC shows and not other channels, let me be the first to say that I have absolutely no problem with this.

Re:Fine by me... (1)

dubmun (891874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676189)

Yes, now that Alias and Invasion are no longer on... what is left to watch on ABC?

Re:Fine by me... (1)

Michael O-P (31524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676215)

Lost. But that's about it.

For you Peter Jennings fans, I'll translate: Lost. But that's aboot it.

Re:Fine by me... (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676229)

Yes, now that Alias and Invasion are no longer on... what is left to watch on ABC?

Lost? Yeah, it's not as good as 24, but it is still a damn good show.

Re:Fine by me... (1)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676235)

I Dunno - Wide World of Lawn Bowling is pretty cool...

Re:Fine by me... (2, Insightful)

fallungus (810282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676238)

What makes you think that once ABC develops the technology, that the other networks won't fall in line and adopt it too?

Re:Fine by me... (1)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676281)

So long as it's just blocking fast-forwarding on ABC shows and not other channels, let me be the first to say that I have absolutely no problem with this.

I know this is funny, but I think there's a serious problem with how these people measure success. ABC will announce success, gain more advertisers that think more eyeballs equals more conversions, and so ABC will have more money. CBS and NBC will want more money so they'll do it too.

In the end, the people who will get shafted are the advertisers - especially the ones that can't afford the more competitive spots- and the viewers.

And 'ol ABC will be a'laughing all the way to the bank...

The technology already exists... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676048)

1) ABC writes a big check to Tivo...
2) Tivo pushes "innocent" bios update
3) Suddenly you can't fast forward things recorded off channels with "ABC" associated with them.

Problem solved

Re:The technology already exists... (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676145)

Watch out, you'll be modded down by a horde of TiVo apologists who still don't get that they have already sold TiVo owners down the river several times (remember the 30-second skip?) and won't hesitate to again.

Re:The technology already exists... (3, Interesting)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676216)

Watch out, you'll be modded down by a horde of TiVo apologists who still don't get that they have already sold TiVo owners down the river several times (remember the 30-second skip?) and won't hesitate to again.

No I don't, actually. I've had a TiVo since their first models came out and I don't recall any of them having a 30-second skip.

More on your topic: I'm on a fence with my TiVo. I'm worried about the whole DRM thing. It hasn't affected me yet, but the instant it does, TiVO will lose a household with three TiVOs in it immediately.

I see no ads (1)

Andrew Ford (664799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676049)

Thank god we've got the BBC.

Re:I see no ads (2, Insightful)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676100)

Yeah, but you have to have a license to even watch tv

Re:I see no ads (1)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676302)

Yeah, but you have to have a license to even watch tv

Is it really that different than a cable or satellite bill?

Re:I see no ads (4, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676306)

Let's assume:
You are watching 1 hour of Television a day.
Ads on US television, 3 minutes every 10 minutes - rough estimate.

1 x 6 x 3 x 365 = 6570 minutes per annum = 109 hours per annum.

What's your time worth $10/hour (conservative figure)?

So that's $1090 p.a. for pretty crappy programming vs £150 p.a for what is without a doubt the best television in the world.

You've been had, mate!

Re:I see no ads (1)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676192)

Thank god we've got the UseNet.


Not only do I get no ads, sometimes I get a better picture and because it's not from my local ABC affiliate (WTEN) I don't get thier stupid pop up "Your Watching ABC 10" after every commercial break.

Although onetime I got a Lost Episode from I beleive Canada and there was a Flood Warning for the western parts of whatever city the feed originated. That was more funny that annoying.

Whats the problem? (5, Insightful)

PB_TPU_40 (135365) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676050)

When I see an ad even in fast forward that catches my attention I usually rewind and watch it. Maybe I'm just weird, but I dont enjoy watching crap commercials for tampons etc., its not as if I use them! However good beer commericals on the other hand...

More of the same ol' same ol' of screwing the consumer.

Re:Whats the problem? (4, Insightful)

Kithraya (34530) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676131)

I wish people in the advertising industry would get your point. There are commercials that I rewind to watch, especially if it's something I'm interested in buying. When I was in the market for a new car, I payed attention to nearly every car commercial I saw. But now I'm not in the market for a new car, and frankly don't care what kind of 4th of July sale is going on down at my local car dealership. I don't care about feminine itch products. I don't care that more moms pick brand X of juice box because it's better for growing kids. What I *did* watch was a commercial last night about Arby's having all natural chicken (compared to the other major fast food restrauants). I *do* care about the new brand of breakfast sausage made with maple syrup. Those commercials I watch, and frequently even rewind so I can see the whole thing. But *please* let me skip the tampon commercial. I don't use tampons, I don't want tampons, I'm not going to buy tampons.

Re:Whats the problem? (2, Funny)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676149)

Hooray Tampons!!! []

You're right, it's just not as appealing as beer. []

Re:Whats the problem? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676154)

That is exactly it. Most ad's on tv suck because of two things.

1 - the ad company is unimaginative and simply does the same-old-thing.

2 - the client wants this big ad campain but only wants to spend $29.50 on the commercial production.

result crap ad that nobody watches, best example is every ad for some stupid pill or other pharma-crap.

Ad's that get watch tons. VW unpimp ad's are typicalyl watched multiple times and have intense recall. Want a good example? the dod-bomb called they had a fantastic ad that was run exactly once during a superbowl where they shot hamsters/gerbils at a wall and people still talk about it. with their big boobies ad that was aired only once during the superbowl 2 years ago still is talked about.

people watch and remember a good ad. they ignore the crap. Alas 99% of al adverts are utter crap.

Nail on the head. (1)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676219)

You hit the nail on the head.

When I was skipping commercials for something I had on my TiVo the other day, I caught the end of the new Mountain Dew commercial [] . I stopped and went back just to see the whole thing. The ending was great, though it loses something with YouTube's slightly-too-long extended version (only one I could find).

Of course, the commercial doesn't influence my decision to buy Mountain Dew, but that's a different argument altogether.

Re:Whats the problem? (1)

angrist (787928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676268)

I've said this for a while ...

1) put your company's name / logo on a nice small (tight fitting) t-shirt
2) put the tshirt on a "gifted" young woman,
3) let the woman jump on a trampoline
4) film 30 seconds of the logo-shirt
5) ????
6) Profit!

in this case the ???? is simply: "men watch your ad"

Re:Whats the problem? (1)

superbondbond (718459) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676296)

I dont enjoy watching crap commercials for tampons etc., its not as if I use them! However good beer commericals on the other hand...

I totally agree with you. And what's interesting to me about that fact is that I have found myself change my watching habits based on the commercials that are run during the show.

Think about it. Commericals are (to some extent) geared toward a certain demographic that is expected to be watching a particular show.

But I was watching something (don't remember what specifically) and started to notice that there were a lot of commercials for products that I either had no use for, or was completely uninterested in. I thought to myself, "I'm obviously not the target demographic for this show. I wonder what else is on?"

I wonder how much the ratings of certain shows is (or could be) driven by the quality of the commercials? (think SuperBowl). In an ideal world, Hollywood and the advertising firms would make more of an effort to pair the really +5 funny commercials with the +5 funny shows

I guess that leaves the -1 overrated commercials for the -1 overrated shows (which is the vast majority).

Re:Whats the problem? (1)

ArmyOfFun (652320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676311)

I've never understood the lack of innovation from the networks or the cable companies. If I find an advertisement amusing, I usually don't mind watching it. The problem is that 99% of ads aren't amusing. Or put product placement in the show, as long as it doesn't distract from the content I don't care if the detectives are tooling around in a pristine Ford Explorer. Why not have characters from the shows pitch products like they used to do in the 50s? Steve Carell could pitch anything as Michael Scott without going out of character, and I'd probably enjoy watching it.

Furthermore, my cable company knows all about me. It knows where I live, my gender and how old I am. So why don't I get ads targetted to my demographic? Furthermore, since they know all about me, why don't they ask to track my viewing habits and compete with Nielsen for providing ratings data? I'd be happy if companies knew what shows I was watching so those shows could stay in production.

This would not be pretty (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676056)

If I'm watching a TV program on my DVR and I catch up to the live program, and am thus forced to watch the commercials, I get a little annoyed, but I live with it. If I were watching a pre-recorded program on my DVR and I was FORCED to watch the commercials because they decided to disable a primary function of my DVR, I would be pissed off, and feel very hostile toward the network and the advertisers involved.

Sure, an important part of advertising is getting people to hear your message. However, it's also important not to inspire feelings of hatred toward you by trying to force your message down people's throats. If the net result of your invasive advertising is that everyone hates you, how is that a good thing for the advertiser?

Re:This would not be pretty (1)

dubmun (891874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676152)

The problem is that no one will boycott ABC over something like this. They will still watch their favorite shows on the network. As consumers we have the power to force the hand of the major networks on this issue but only if we work together.

Right.... (5, Insightful)

vondo (303621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676062)

Because the only reason to fast forward a DVR is to skip commercials. You really want to watch that 20 minutes of the baseball game that is on before the show you were trying to tape. Or if you rewind to see something at the start of Lost again, you really want to re-watch the 30 minutes of the show you've already seen.

Any DVR manufacturer that goes along with making a DVR less useful than a VCR is going to suffer in a huge way. In 1988 we had a VCR with a 30-second fastforward button.

I'm not even going to get into how making someone watch commercials is wrong.

Re:Right.... (1)

JRock911 (848012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676108)

They had VCRs that automatically skipped commercials as well. I still have one and it works pretty good. It's a shame Replay got the pain brought on them when they tried to implement this in a DVR.

Re:Right.... (2, Insightful)

Homology (639438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676176)

I'm not even going to get into how making someone watch commercials is wrong.

This is the commercial mindset: authoritarian and deceitful.

Re:Right.... (1)

aralin (107264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676195)

I find it completely impossible to watch american football without the 30 second skip button. It's the most boring game on earth without it, but it is kind of fast paced and interesting sport when you can skip all the time when absolutely nothing happens.

Aw piss on 'em (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676066)

ABC was only interested in finding a way to receive compensation for un-skipped ads

Whoops, time to change their business model!

Let me introduce myself. I'm an olde farte. I was a teenager back in the 1970's when they were laying the first cable around our neighbourhood. Back then people (the They as in "they say ...") said "nobody will pay for what they already get for free" and "nobody will pay to see advertising." Well... "they" were wrong as it turns out, people now pay upwards of 50$US for the honour of watching bad programmes and watching Enzyte Bob lose his shorts (tell me those floats in the pool aren't phallic, go on).

Now it's the content providers who are insisting the viewer (those with satellite and cable) watch the advertisements they are already paying to see.

<Stimpy>Ironic, huh, Ren?</Stimpy>

Time for network execs and particularly the viewers to wake up and smell the coffee.

Re:Aw piss on 'em (3, Insightful)

slindseyusa (942823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676133)

Now it's the content providers who are insisting the viewer (those with satellite and cable) watch the advertisements they are already paying to see.
I agree. This is a similar argument to the one for Net Neutrality. We're paying once, why make us pay again.

Re:Aw piss on 'em (3, Interesting)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676191)

Whoops, time to change their business model!

Sure, and better yet the business model already exists -- take your network to a pay basis like HBO or Showtime.

The big problem with that approach for ABC, of course, is that it requires that you have decent television that people will actually shell out a few bucks a month to watch. I mean, "Grey's Anatomy" might be all well and good for a network show, but put it up against "Rescue Me" on FX or "Deadwood" on HBO and it's revealed for the lame-brained homogenized crap that it is.

The networks should be the last people with any input into the technology that will define the future of the TV industry. All the decent television is elsewhere, either on HBO or SciFi or Comedy Central or other channels that were never broadcast through the air to begin with. Listening to ABC's bright ideas here is like, well, listening to the music industry when they tell us that the only legitimate way to listen to music is on a CD that we paid full price for and will never lend to a friend or resell ('cause that's just like stealing, you know).

While they're at it (5, Funny)

dsn1337 (965775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676068)

they should get TV makers to prevent me from changing the channel when commercials start too.

Re:While they're at it (1)

entmike (469980) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676116)

There was actually a ./ article about that not too long back. I can't remember what search terms to link you to it however.

Re:While they're at it (3, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676282)

I think this article [] is the one you're thinking of.

They never learn (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676071)

Why don't they look to incentivise people to watch ads, perhaps develop a technology that tracks ads that are played back, and gives a rebate to people who watch a certain amount of ads, or gives them credits towards premium channels or whatever. Disabling the fast-forward button will just royally piss people off, and that is not good business.

Re:They never learn (1)

Dekke (829772) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676146)

I could do something like this...

  1. Record my show
  2. Let it run the next day while I'm at work, so I 'watch' all the ads
  3. Watch my show that evening, skipping all the ads
  4. ???
  5. Profit!

Re:They never learn (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676197)

Because it's far cheaper to hire incompetent Executives to demand stupid things from another industry and whine about it because nobody agrees with them.

Re:They never learn (4, Insightful)

ameline (771895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676243)

/flame ON. (and sorry for the meta discussion)

What would it take to MOTIVATE you not to use the word "incentivise" ever again? Do you think that using (not utilizing!) large words makes you sound more intelligent?

It makes you sound like a blathering idiot who doesn't know the language.

Ok -- there -- I feel better now. My co-workers thank you for diverting my flames from them for the rest of the day. :-)

P.S. I'm waiting for someone to post that incentivise is a perfectly cromulent word.

Well, I watch the ads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15676078)

TFA said:

"He suggested that consumers prefer DVRs for their ability to facilitate on-demand viewing and not ad-zapping"

Well, I CERTAINLY watch all the ads when I use my VCR. Nope, don't hit that fast forward button at all, nope, no sirree... TFA's proof they're on drugs in Hollywood.

Nothing to see here (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676082)

Big media wants to cripple technology so they can make more money? Say it ain't so! Next thing, you'll be telling me they can't figure out how to do it, so they're lobbying Congress to make it illegal.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last ten years, this announcement should come as no surprise. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Screw that... (5, Interesting)

Dh2000 (71834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676083)

I'll just stop watching TV... oh wait, I already did.

No commericials, no annoying crap. I get more done, and if there is anything I want to watch, then I download it off of one of the many sources of free video.

Quality and instant (yet horribly scheduled) access is the only thing TV networks have going for them, now.

Re:Screw that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15676109)

Well...I'll give you the "access" part, but quality... I've not seen a lot of that on most of the TV networks for ages now.

Mighty VHS Skillz! (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676093)

Behold Technocrats! My mighty VCR powers allow me to FAST-FOREWARD!

Not that I watch, much less record anything on ABC...

Re:Mighty VHS Skillz! (2, Insightful)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676279)

You know what's sad? That even though the Technocracy is a fictional element of an awesome RPG, it's becoming more and more real every day.

Next thing you know, I'll start incurring Paradox when mundanes see me slinging fireballs around.

sigh (1)

agentdunken (912306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676096)

Right here just proves the theory of big corperations care more about the dollar than the people.... Good thing I don't watch ABC..

somewhat unrelated DRM rant (5, Insightful)

Albert Sandberg (315235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676102)

I purchase a LOT of dvd movies. these has DRM content such as the fbi warning and sometimes trailers or just film studio propaganda which is non-skippable on my sony dvd player (otherwise very nice)... what's up with that? we have to first buy the content, then HAVE to watch crap like that?

yes I do understand that if I copy this disc I just bought I will get into trouble, yes, I known this since vhs cassettes in my youth thank you very much

that will probably never change, but I think dvd player fabricants should enable skip option on content you paid for...

Re:somewhat unrelated DRM rant (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676273)

This is the exact reason I don't buy dvd's, and just copy them from rentals and what not (oh, I can see the black helicopters coming for me now). I was going to be a good boy, and actually bought a dvd when I first got a dvd player. I put it in and was forced to watch a good 5 minutes of non-skippable commercials and previews before getting to the movie. From then I, I just copied and ripped those parts out.

I swear, the movie/music industry does more to hurt itself than any other business I know.

Re:somewhat unrelated DRM rant (2, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676277)

I use...I mean, a friend of mine uses DVD Decrypter with DVD Shrink to burn backup copies of all of the DVDs he owns so he doesn't have to buy a new copy every time one gets scratched. Now, I can't recall if it's DVD Shrink or DVD Decrypter that does this, but one of them actually removes all of that crap that forces you to sit through the FBI warnings and whatnot, so you can use the Menu or Skip buttons to get past them. This is especially helpful on those DVDs that don't even allow you to skip past the stupid previews (do I really need to see the same preview 15 times for a movie that was in theatres 5 years ago?).

Re:somewhat unrelated DRM rant (1)

seanellis (302682) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676290)

I want to be paid for my time for non-skippable content.

At present that's only on DVDs, so let's say it's a conservative 1 minute per DVD, 5 DVDs per week. That's 4 hours per year. My standard business charge-out rate is $250/hour, so that's about $1000 the DVD alliance owes me per year.

Worth claiming? Maybe. Will they pay? No chance.

Here's an idea - you put the DVD in, it just plays the damn movie. If I want a menu, extras, commentary, whatever, I'll press the "menu" button. And the copyright warning is on the packaging so it's in plain sight but doesn't take up my valuable time.

It amazes me that they think SUCKING=$$ (1)

hobbestcat (473268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676103)

I am amazed that the media companies think that they can make more money by making their products suck more. Hence the long list of new media suckiness: DRMd DVDs, Location specific DVDs, DRMd CDs, un-skippable ads on DVDs, more ads in movie theaters, Gigli.

No wonder their sales numbers suck.

On Screen Ads (2, Interesting)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676106)

I can just picture it now. DVR is going to push TV channels to start putting on-screen ads up during the show (sorta like what you see splashed across every single frickin' page on the internet).

Explain, please? (2, Insightful)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676122)

Could someone explain to me how a skipped ad, in which the person has absolutely no desire to ever see the ad, buy the product, or otherwise succumb to feminine hygeine products, is any different than walking away during commercials, or can in any way be construed as "lost revenue"?

If a person skips an ad (or, fast forwards it), they very obviously had no desire to ever submit dollars to that product/company, or would do so already without the ad in the first place.

Re:Explain, please? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676251)

ABC and the other TV companies exist on the simple premise that ad-views = product sales. They convinced other companies of this way back when. Companies buy advertising based on how value it is to them, which is based on expected increase in customers. If they expect to gain fewer ad customers, they won't buy as many ads (or won't pay as much). If a company hears about how 30% of America doesn't watch any commercials in 3 years or something, they will want a 30% ad price discount.

Next they will come for your mute button (1)

Black Art (3335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676139)

Most of the people I know mute the commercials to make them easier to ignore. Are they going to disable that too?

The future is becoming more and more like the one predicted on Max Headroom. Some day it will be illegal to turn the TV off.

Typical knee-jerk reaction (1)

gravyface (592485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676140)

This is nonsense. Pissing off consumers is not the answer: they should be looking at determining how many ads were *not* fast-forwarded and only paying the content/service providers for those spots, much like how click-thrus and page impressions work on teh Interweb.

Today's acronyms: ABC FOAD (1, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676147)

I want technology to make these idiots steer their cars directly into utility poles.

So they want to force viewers to watch obnoxious commercials? Here's some news, Mr. VP -- you can't. And the harder you try, the less success you'll have. You see, you have to entice viewers, not force. This is simply Proof #482 that these 'executives' don't understand that pissed off customers don't buy stuff. True, their real customers are the advertising companies, but stations live and die by their viewer numbers ("share", they call it). Fewer viewers = lower billable rate for ad spots = lower revenue = asshat executive retires early to "persure other opportunities".

Re:Today's acronyms: ABC FOAD (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676291)

I want technology to make these idiots steer their cars directly into utility poles.

We already have such a technology. It is called a mobile phone.

uhhh (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676162)

I'm pretty sure in my entire adult life there has never been a commercial that compelled me to buy a product. Actually, like many others, I've trained myself to pretty much block the commercial from my consciousness. Sometimes it may take 20 viewings of the same commercial to finally realize what the commercial is about. Until then it all seems like colors and moving figures.

So can I sign-up to not have commericals? They aren't working on me it only seems fair. Or is there new technology coming out that will prevent me from blocking commercials internally? Maybe even something that releases endorphins during viewing.

This just in... (1)

PetriBORG (518266) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676167)

This just in, ABC discovers viewers don't like advertisements. Man-on-the-street was quoted as saying "I moved to cable originally to escape the damn ads, promising me that I would have them because I was paying for the cable TV already, but they lied. I then got a Tivo to do the same thing, but again they lied when they reintroduced advertisements at the demand of station owners."

He might have also later been seen later yelling at the kids to get off his lawn.

/grumpy old man

Re:This just in... (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676263)

I moved to cable originally to escape the damn ads, promising me that I would have them because I was paying for the cable TV already, but they lied.

Please provide some evidence that any cable company has ever promised that there would be no ads on cable TV?

Here's a hint: the earliest cable TV systems carried mostly broadcast channels, and were installed in areas with poor broadcast reception. The cable companies never stripped the commercials off those broadcast channels, nor did they ever promise to do so.

You're the only liar here.

Unskipped ads only (3, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676175)

I don't have a TV (on purpose, I find it save tons of time for me,) but my parents do, so whenever I go there I end up watching something on TV at least for a little while and I never watch commercials. How are these ABC executives going to prevent me from switching to another channel while the commercials are on? What about my ability to (gasp) turn the TV off or even (double gasp) go away from the box when the commercial is on?

I trully believe that it is enough that my parents already pay for the dish service (ExpressVu in Canada,) and I trully don't care about the networks' desire to make money on commercials.

(going on a tangent here)
By the way, I really reduced the number of visits to the local movie theaters, I went to watch the Superman though and it was terrible experience: it was a 10pm show and people brought their 2-3 year old kids, a family right behind us had 4 of these things at the same time and it was impossible to get the parents to shut the little pricks up. And one of the parents at the end of the movie started yelling at me: you can't treat kids that way, what do you have against kids (the guy was from India I think, but it should be irrelevant in principle,) I told him he should have kept the brats at home and not bring them to the 10pm show that ended at 1am. He wouldn't stop yelling, so I asked him if he wants to take it outside, he didn't, oh well. And by the way, the movie was supposed to start at 10pm, but it only started at 10:20, and they went through all the garbage commercials and all the little good drones/zombies were watching those commercials as if their lives depended on them and I was studying the drones, they were almost drooling with those gigantic backets of pop-corn.

I know why I don't go to the movies: little kids, big up kids, popcorn, noise, (oh yeah, one of those parents behind us left his cell on and was yapping on it for sometime during the movie,) commercials for anything, not just movies, then 20 minutes of movie commercials.

Fuck the movie theaters. And fuck the ABC network producers, we already pay to watch their garbage and they just have to stick it to us with all these commercials AND now they want to prevent us from skipping the commercials.

Man I am glad I don't have a TV at home.

Solved... (1)

Rev.LoveJoy (136856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676177)

Why not break the thumbs of all their viewers? No more fast forward problem!

-- RLJ

Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15676184)

Something to see here! Don't move allong!

Retard Alert (2, Insightful)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676185)

Maybe it's ABC, maybe it's advertisers, or maybe it's Nielson, but these guys all need to understand that the whole point of advertisements is to convert customers to their product.

I'm not going to be converted to some life insurance, or a box of cookies, so why am I watching ads for those things? Rather, why are these people throwing money away on me if it's not going to turn into a conversion for them?

I skip any commercial I'm not interested in, and that's an awful lot of them. If I woke up one day and my fast-forward button no longer skipped commercials, it wouldn't equal a new conversion for these guys. So they'd still be out the money for the commercial, and on top of that, the money they gave to the lobbyist to disable my fast-forward button.

This is like saying spam-blockers are hurting the business of Viagra and timeshares. The people using blocking and deleting spam aren't going to buy viagra if just those spam-blockers were somehow less effective, and what's next, stopping the delete button from functioning when it's an advertisement?

Does ABC really think that if only they could get us to watch more SPAM, they'd somehow make more money?

Sometimes it's a requirement (1)

Wiseleo (15092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676190)

I was watching a Fox show "So you think you can dance" that was recorded on my Comcast DVR. There is a hack to add a 30-second skip feature. The show was completely destroyed and didn't even start properly for 45 minutes, which apparent with a secondary host introduction. I skipped literally 30 minutes of commercials. I rewind for the commercials I haven't seen yet and that looked interesting.

I don't think that requring me to sit through 45 minutes of irrelevant garbage is a good idea. Same with races. I record them and then I have a pre-race show for an hour that I don't care about.

ABC doesn't have me as a customer anyway as I never watch any of their holdings, but this is a terrible idea.

Few thoughts (1)

matt328 (916281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676199)

I've a few reactions to this, feel free to add your own, or elaborate on mine.

1. I already pay $54.99 for cable tv, in my area I have no other choice so for all intents and purposes its a monopoly, they could charge $100, people would still have to pay it. What are they doing with all this goddamn money that they still need to make more by running advertisements?
2. No matter how hard they try, they can't force me to watch commercials. Are they going to come in and tie me down, and tape my eyes open?
3. It still surprises me how many people use Tivo, given free alternatives. I have a mythtv box, lets see them try to shove one of these 'updates' in there.
4. ABC's programming sucks anyway. I can safely say it could cease to be and I would not miss it one bit.

Sorry for the coarse language, but things like this are what drive people to violence, not video games

Good grief... (1)

SkyWalk423 (661752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676203)

First they come after our PrintScreen keys, and now they want our Fast Forward buttons?!?

Something tells me my OFF button is next...

What not to buy (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676204)

A series of commercials I was forced to watch, would just be for a series of thing I would vow to never buy.

Shaw is wrong on DVR usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15676207)

He suggested that consumers prefer DVRs for their ability to facilitate on-demand viewing and not ad-zapping
"I'm not so sure that the whole issue really is one of commercial avoidance," Shaw said. "It really is a matter of convenience--so you don't miss your favorite show. And quite frankly, we're just training a new generation of viewers to skip commercials because they can. I'm not sure that the driving reason to get a DVR in the first place is just to skip commercials. I don't fundamentally believe that. People can understand in order to have convenience and on-demand (options), that you can't skip commercials."

He is just wrong here. I don't know anyone that has a DVR for on demand. Everyone I know uses the DVR so they can fast forward through the commercials. I don't even start a show until it is 20 min into it (for an hour show) just so I don't have to watch commercials at the end!

I want to disable... (5, Interesting)

booch (4157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676208) that are pissing me off on the highway.

...cell phones of people in the grocery store with those stupid BlueTooth headsets.

...push-to-talk on cell phones.


...airplanes flying over my house at night that are too loud.

Is there any reason why ABC should be allowed to disable someone else's equipment that they don't like, and that I should not be allowed?

CableCARD (2, Informative)

proc_tarry (704097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676210)

With CableCARD 2.0, the tech would be there to make this possible. They could even prevent programs from being DVR'd in the first place.

Nice marketing there (2, Insightful)

isomeme (177414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676217)

Studies show that the net is displacing television as an entertainment option, especially among coveted younger viewers. I love the kind of thinking that responds to this threat by trying to make sure that television remains as unlike (and separate from) the net as possible.

I barely watch TV anymore, and commercials are one big reason why. I'm so used to being able to choose exactly what I see and hear that I find the idea of passively accepting ads unacceptable; the annoyance level spoils shows for me. Note that I *am* willing to pay for programming; I'd just rather do it directly, through subscription fees, than have content force-fed to me on the remote chance it might make me buy something.

fast forward not available at this time (1)

Drahgkar (945536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676221)

I don't presume to know everybody's reasoning behind either buying a commercial DVR or building their own, but isn't the ability to skip commercials fairly important to most people? IMO the reason you would have a DVR is so that you can either watch one thing and record another or you have a busy schedule and don't want to be bothered by having to watch commercials when you finally do get the time to watch your choice of content. Is that so far off? So if ABC wants to disable the ability to fast forward through the commercials on commercial DVRs, all the more reason to check out something like MythTV which will most likely come up with a way around the problem fairly quick. That or you could just not watch anything on ABC. Just my two cents worth.

screw 'em (1)

jdcope (932508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676225)

I tend to agree that people record shows just so they dont miss them, not to skip commercials. But the fact that they are "forcing" it on me...that pisses me off. I dont even have a DVR yet, I still use my VCR. Works great, quality is fine (its just TV), and they cant do anything to control what I record...ever.

Take Aim, Shoot self in foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15676227)

IMHO, This is a dumb idea.

Commercials are (in the main) short lived entities. I don't mean the time (30secs or whatever) but the product has a very finite life. For example, Joe's Motors are advertising 2007 Fords at Cost price and you view the program that had this commercial playing duting one of its many breaks in 2008! Who on earth is interested in buying one of these intentionally obsolete cars months or even years later even if they were still available.
So, ABC disables commercial fast forwarding then pisses off the viewer who months later catches up with a prog they missed the first time around.

I watch very little commercial TV anyway , as an earliet poster said, thank god for the BBC. Commercials are getting ever more painful to watch. Not only do the TV stations boost the sound and colour contrast but there are more per hour than there were 10 years ago.
The next ideas the will put forward will be
  - Stopping you muting the sound during Ad breaks
  - Stopping you channel fliping
  - stopping you actually switching the damm thing off during a commercial break
  - Eventually, the time per hour of Commercials will be longer than the programs they are supposed to be wrapped around!

My 0.02$ from a 'Grumpy Old Man' (If you watch UK TV you will know about this and its counterpart 'Grumpy Old Women') Two of the best progs on TV especially the ascerbic comments of Rick Wakeman!

Also in development... (1)

Srass (42349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676228)

...are DVRs with special clamps to prevent you from leaving during a commercial (catheters are available as an optional add-on), technology to disable the "off" button to prevent you from turning off your TV, and technology to disable the exterior doorknobs to discourage consumers from wanting to go outside and do things that don't involve watching advertisements. Special five-minute skip buttons will soon replace the fast-forward buttons on DVRs so you can skip directly from one commercial break to another.

Is commercial skip better than on VCR? (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676242)

Somewhat off topic. I don't have a dvr, but the commercial skip on my vcr doesn't work very well, which means I have to FF through it. Since I need to know where to stop, I have to actually watch the screen. I am more glued to it than if I hit mute and talk to my wife, look at a magazine, whatever. Does DVR commerial skip work well?

I see more commercials with Tivo (4, Insightful)

darkone (7979) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676246)

I would say I see more commercials while fast forwarding with Tivo than live tv. If I am fast forwarding, I am staring at the tv, noting every commercial, to see when I can hit play. We often stop to watch funny or interesting commercials (like Apple's new ones). If I'm watching Live TV, I often get up for commercials knowing that I have 3-4 minutes (what happened to 2 minutes of commercials) until I need to come back.
  And what's with commercials being twice as loud as the show you're watching!

Since PVRs can pause live television... (1)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676248)

Why not pause a comercial if the viewer leaves the room while the comercial is on? No one will ever miss a precious moment of comercial ever again.

In related news... (1)

mph (7675) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676256)

I want a pony.

Blipverts prevent channel switching (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676257)

Do remember, ABC were the network who originally aired Max Headroom here in the US. Obviously, their execs were none too happy about having all their secret plans revealed.

Block fast-forward first, then on to blipverts and no off buttons!

Doo do doo do (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676262)

All theese years, I thought the Twilight Zone was a joke.

Make better commercials (1)

RPI Geek (640282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676269)

Technology frequently affects us in ways that we don't originally intend, and DVRs are no exception. IMHO (and at the risk of being flamed as a consumer whore), the advertising companies should just make better commercials, maybe in the same way that beer companies have been doing for a long time. When I hear a "real men of genius" commercial on the radio, I listen because they're funny. My roommate and I also rewind to watch the "man law" commercials on TV, and lots of other people watch the commercials during the Superbowl.

I don't want to see some crazy guy screaming about how low his prices are for cars or furniture. I don't want to see commercials hyping a drug by its name without saying what it's for. I certainly don't need to see 2 people pretending to have a normal conversation that sounds painfully unnatural.

Adapt or die.

Re:Make better commercials (3, Insightful)

Synic (14430) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676309)

Traditionally it's not "adapt or die" in commercial culture. It's something more along the lines of Sue, Threaten, Lobby, Buyout, and failing that Adapt, or Die.

No need Fast Forward! (1)

adriantam (566025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676272)

Because it is DVR! Let's add a button, so that when pushed, the circuit is overclocked by 3x, and return to normal when released. Then, forget about FF button.

As intended... (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676286)

... to run as intended...

No such thing. ABC broadcasts content. That's it. It's our choice how or when we view it.

Shaw, pshaw! (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676287)

From the article, an opinion by the ABC tool Shaw:

Shaw also threw cold water on the idea that neutering the fast-forward option would result in a consumer backlash. He suggested that consumers prefer DVRs for their ability to facilitate on-demand viewing and not ad-zapping--and consumers might warm to the idea that anytime viewing brings with it a tradeoff in the form of unavoidable commercial viewing.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong wrong! Mr. Shaw! What a tool you've turned out to be. People are not grateful for the timeshifting of their shows... they're grateful for being in control of their watching preferences. Some will watch commercials and will do so whether or not they can skip the ads. Others don't ever watch ads, don't ever want to, but happen to inadvertantly bump into ads every once in a while -- that's the best you're going to get with them.

You want to piss off the customers? Disable the fast forward during commercials... Plain and simple... there will be a backlash.

Now here is a radical idea (1)

Maclir (33773) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676288)

What if there were NO ADVERTISMENTS on broadcast television. And to watch, you pay a monthly subscription? Or an annual subscription. Radical?

I'm game, how about some alternatives... (1)

micron (164661) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676292)

1) Easy option, make the ads better so that people will WANT to watch them.
2) Advertisers should be paying ME for my time to watch their commercials.

Realistic options:
1) Give me a price for commercial free television that I can pay. Let the consumer see how much money television advertising is really saving them.
2) I pay $90 a month for cable, of which most channels I do not watch. What am I paying for again? Last time I read, part of my subscription fee pays for channels such as ESPN, which charge the cable company to carry them AND run commercials. The home shopping channels pay the cable carriers to deliver their content.

But they can't stop me from... (1)

Michael O-P (31524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676297)

1. Getting a beer from the fridge.
2. peeing
3. repeat as needed.

Father knows best (1)

anakin876 (612770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15676303)

as my father always said "It's good to want things."
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