“We’re All Going To Die,” Industry Laments . . . Again

An article in yesterday’s AdAge titled “Ad Skipping? Just Wait. It’s Going to Get Worse.” bemoans last week’s US Court of Appeals ruling that would allow—oh, it’s bad—”network DVR” technology, essentially allowing viewers at home to watch whatever they want on cable, whenever they want to watch it, without buying any fancy new equipment or boxes.

(This used to be considered a right, noncommercial media, on the theory that broadcasts took place in public space, and needed to give back to the public good because of it. That’s recently been abandoned, notably by NPR and PBS, because it’s not profitable.)

The danger, of course—or as we at-home viewers like to call it, the benefit—is that you can skip every ad.

Oh, but that’s not how the ad industry sees it. Barely concealing threats to the “media conglomerates” that, the story raves, make such excellent use of ad revenue now, and referring to the technology as “invasive”, “penetrative”, and “great cause for concern,” the article goes on to provide some of the most hilarious quotes I’ve ever read outside of a joke book.

“Consumers, now accustomed to watching shows as they wish,” the piece contends, suffer from an “ad-skipping addiction.”

John Senior, a partner at Oliver Wyman, seems baffled. “They don’t want to watch commercials, but they won’t pay to not watch commercials.”

Oh. My. God.: How are they supposed to make a buck if we refuse to give them any?

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  1. TourPro says:

    Actually, I think it’s been proven that people are willing to watch ads in return for content.

    Unfortunately, the predictable reaction will be increasingly annoying product placement.

  2. Yes “tourpro,” (is that your real name?) you’re right. But it’s never been proven that people will watch ads when they have the choice not to.

    It’s only been proven that, when given a choice between no access to media, or access to media that includes advertising, people will accept advertising unless they can find a way to get rid of it.

    Even more unfortunately, product placement is just the beginning, as I’ve written many times. Where we’re headed now is full-on paid-for content entirely devoted to products. No content without a purchasable commodity or service will be created—you don’t need to advertise the latest Disney movie if everyone already lives in DisneyLand—unless we start seeing media that appears in public space as beholden to the public good, which will always require noncommercial messages.

    Speaking of which, have I even announced here that my book about youth advertising has been reprinted? Oops. Get it outta the library now: Hey Kidz, Buy This Book!, from Soft Skull press. For the little Che Guevera in all of us. (OK, that was in one of the reviews.)


  3. Veronica says:

    If we have to watch ads, can we get the product placements outlawed? Otherwise, commercial time is potty time or oh, I can read a few pages of this book or “What now?” time.

    BTW – The kid keeps asking why there are so many car & Best Buy commercials. Me thinks a play date is in order.

  4. Bad news, Veronica: a lot if it might already be illegal, (http://www.commercialalert.org/issues/culture/product-placement) but for some reason the FCC has yet to look into it. In one statement, the FTC admits it might be illegal, sure, and urges the public to continue to call their attention to these matters via the proper channels.

    Yer kid and I need to hang out, ha ha.

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