It looks like the first salvos are being fired by mainstream television against digital video recorders (e.g., TiVo, ReplayTV) and their ability to allow people to skip commercials. Ad revenue is what keeps the networks on the air, but as PVRs become more popular, the argument is that commercials get seen by less eyeballs. Despite the television networks calling this outright theft, Dave Farber astutely noted earlier this year that the solution wouldn’t come from a courtroom, but rather, from television discovering other ways to integrate advertising into broadcasts. It looks like the WB is the first to the new feed trough, and it will be interesting to see how the public reacts to it.


It’s just a return to the old ways of advertising on television (and radio, for that matter). Used to be, the commercials were *never* separate from the program. You had newscasters pimping products, guest walk-ons by spokespersons for products, the host making good-natured jokes about the products, non-sequitirs in the guise of jokes about the products, the product in the show’s name (which is now rare, outside of the “Hallmark Hour” or whatever it’s called). “It comes in five delicious flavors…” Download some episodes of the Jack Benny Show and see what I mean.

• Posted by: Mo Nickels on Jan 10, 2003, 4:50 PM

theft… I love that! My TiVo helps me take back the time that commercials, promos, and sloppy writing/editing have stolen from ME.

• Posted by: L. Markoff on Jan 10, 2003, 7:16 PM

Using a TiVo, I can skip commercials and watch an hour of network TV in 40 minutes. Now I can watch an hour of WB in ZERO minutes.

Remember, with TiVo, there’s always something ELSE on TV worth watching..

• Posted by: Charles on Jan 10, 2003, 7:36 PM

wouldn’t it be a start for the networks to remove the telltale few seconds of black that demarcates commercials and programming? not that i’m for this at all, but it’s something i’ve been wondering. what does tivo use to identify commercials?

• Posted by: holly on Jan 11, 2003, 11:32 AM

Holly, TiVo doesn’t actually have a skip-commercial feature (and it only has a 30-second skip if you enable it as a secret feature); rather, people just skip the commercials the old fashioned way, with the fast forward button.

• Posted by: Jason on Jan 11, 2003, 5:00 PM
Please note that comments automatically close after 60 days; the comment spammers love to use the older, rarely-viewed pages to work their magic. If comments are closed and you want to let me know something, feel free to use the contact page!