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Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Boldy Going Where no Commerical Has Gone Before

By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 12:47 pm

Via the LAT: TiVo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers

By March, TiVo viewers will see “billboards,” or small logos, popping up over TV commercials as they fast-forward through them, offering contest entries, giveaways or links to other ads. If a viewer “opts in” to the ad, their contact information will be downloaded to that advertiser–exclusively and by permission only–so even more direct marketing can take place.

By late 2005, TiVo expects to roll out “couch commerce,” a system that enables viewers to purchase products and participate in surveys using their remote controls.

No doubt some will be upset by this move, but it doesn’t bother me, insofar as long as I can zip past the broadcast commercials and am not forced to view the “billboard” save when I am fast-forwarding, what’t the big deal? Indeed, since this will contribute to the health and long life of TiVo, I am all for it.

Indeed, as I read through the piece, I find:

Some say they don’t mind a little pop-up advertising — just so long as they can fast-forward through it — because it could help keep TiVo in business. (A September report from Forrester shows that DVR owners typically fast-forward through 92% of commercials.)

And certainly, there is reason to be concerned about the company’s health:

Five years after its launch, TiVo still hasn’t turned a profit and doesn’t expect to until January 2006. (Kent says the advertising revenue will probably bring down the cost of TiVo to its 2 million subscribers — currently $12.95 a month.)

However, if they are going to be generating ad revenue, how about lowering the monthly fee?

Overall, this debate strikes me as similar to the one about web advertisements. Sure, people don’t want to see ads, but somehow content providers have to generate revenue. The trick is to find a way to deliver advertisements without upsetting the end user while attracting those which the ad targets. It’s simple capitalism. Even if we don’t like ads, it is the case that they subsidize tv and the web–and I certainly don’t want to pay full price for those things.

Filed under: Pop Culture: TiVo

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  1. Damnit! And I just got TiVo!!

    My kid still totally absorbs the commercials at hyperspeed though.

    Antidote: Only watch Boomerang, one of the best stations ever created!

    Comment by John Lemon — Wednesday, November 17, 2004 @ 10:57 pm

  2. And certainly, there is reason to be concerned about the company’s health:

    Five years after its launch, TiVo still hasn’t turned a profit and doesn’t expect to until January 2006

    That’s a shame, because I think TiVO service is awesome. I hope this company lives long

    Comment by Shark — Thursday, November 18, 2004 @ 11:36 am

  3. Tivo has yet to earn a profit for many reasons, but this is not one of them.

    TV manufactuers and other low margin consumer electronic producers manage to do OK on volume without a subscription fee. Tivo needs a minor amount of money per month to cover the cost of obtaining the TV guide information, but it is not close to their regular fee.

    Frankly I think this is a ripoff and IF it interferes with my watching, I’ll just build a cheap media center with an old PC and not pay anything per month…

    But I reprogrammed my Tivo when I first got it (you can find instructions on the internet). Now one of my buttons skips 30 seconds at a time. A few clicks and all commercials are gone without me even seeing them in fast motion. It doesn’t sound like I’ll even notice this new change.

    Comment by Admiral Quixote — Thursday, November 18, 2004 @ 2:53 pm

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