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Television Media

How Could TV Survive Without Commercials? 1122

Posted by Cliff
from the sounding-the-death-knell-of-broadcast-TV dept.
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 Sure, you could say it's their fault for having an outdated business model, but there's a problem: these sources are where A LOT of the content for your PVR comes from.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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How Could TV Survive Without Commercials?

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  • 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.
    • "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.

      • 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
    • by GusherJizmac (80976) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:29PM (#4137396) Homepage
      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.
      • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <relyo.nhoj>> on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:49PM (#4137524) Journal
        Um, you're jumping to conclusions.

        Ad campaigns tend to coincide with a new product. Those genuinely interested in it, tend to find it on their own, regardless. That marketing firms never point out that ad campaigns are carefully launched when interest would go higher anyway, is the most devious scam of all.
        • I'm, in general, pretty sceptical of the value of ad campaigns it's worth noting that a client of mine launched a new product a while back. Leaving people to find it for themselves, they got around 200-300 customers per day. When they started to advertise it, they went to 600+ customers per day.
        • by gabec (538140) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @09:10PM (#4138703)
          i disagree. I think that advertising for *new* products is not only necessary for their survival but good in general. For example Gatorade just came out with their own bottled water.. (the commercial has athletes splashing out of droplets from the bottle. pretty damn cool commercial, i think) Anyway, on a whim I went ahead and tried it last week. It's OK.

          Anyway, where I *don't* like advertising is when it's just there to jump in your face and say "Hey I just wanted to remind you to buy buy buy buy buy yet a-fuckin-nother Whopper!"

          A better example for the first kind of advertising is when you have a product that people won't know how to use without being shown. Like let's say that Transformers Toys were brand new and being released for the first time. if you saw the box in a toy store would it have occurred to you how insanely kick-ass they were for little kids as toys if you hadn't seen *why* they were worth noticing?

          or what about some company's super-cool new windows that make your heat efficiency in your house better? ... anyway... I hate seeing McDonald's and Coke commercials but if it's a new product from someone then I generally don't mind them if it's sufficiently informative. i guess it sounds hypocritical written here, but ... whatever. ;)

    • by zulux (112259) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:36PM (#4137446) Homepage Journal
      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.

      • 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.
      • by gilroy (155262) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:47PM (#4137511) Homepage Journal
        Blockquoth the poster:

        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?


        Blockquoth Lord Leverhulme:

        Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don't know which half

        Moral: Companies pay millions of dollars because they think they work. That does not in fact mean that they work. Entire industries have spent decades or more laboring under shared misconceptions. In the case of advertising, the measurement tools are so coarse and the data pool so vast, I think very little is demonstrable of cause-and-effect.
        • To everyone who says 'ads don't work, people only think they do' I really want to know, where do you find out about new products/servics?

          Hell, how did you first ever find out about the Tivo itself? probably from an ad. And don't give me 'from a friend who heard from a friend' etc., most likely that chain, however long, started with an ad.

          Face it, ads are as much a source of information as they are meant to invoke a direct response.
          To say that 'ads don't work' is to say that you can make a killing even if nobody knows you're selling anything, but (obviously) nobody ever sold anything if the public never knew it existed..

      • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @05:35PM (#4137762) Homepage
        I think an even better example would be things that you don't care about. I care about my refreshing drinks, and tend to develop brand loyalty. Getting a drink you don't like really sucks, so it takes a lot to get me to try something else. Coke can advertise their ass off, and they aren't getting me to switch from Pepsi and Dr. Pepper.

        However, consider something like dishwashing detergent. I don't give a damn about dishwashing detergent. I have ZERO brand loyalty there.

        When I buy diskwashing detergent, I am most likely to simply buy the one that seems most familiar and isn't too much more expensive than the ones I've never heard of. In short, the one that has advertised the most.

    • 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.

    • I don't know. When I was working at Arby's, we definitely experienced increases in sales around ad campaigns (coupons and TV).

      BlackGriffen
  • by ct.smith (80232) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:25PM (#4137364) Homepage
    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.
    • by Afrosheen (42464) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:29PM (#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".
    • "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."

      Speaking of paying a premium, how about this strategy: Would you pay one cent to skip a commercial?

      Have an account linked to the PVR and subtract 1 cent each time an ad is skipped.

      Of course, having an account implies a link to a credit card and a unique identifier. This allows for some detailed profiling.

      There should be an option to turn profiling on and off, with various benefits to the user if they turn it on (because the profiling is valuable marketing information.)

      When profiling is turned off:
      Skip an advert: subtract 1 cent from your account
      Don't skip an advert: do nothing to your account

      When profiling is enabled:
      Skip an advert: subtract 1 cent from your account
      Don't skip an advert: plus 1 cent to your account.

      The people with profiling turned on would have some interesting powers too. For example, if the profiling revealed that 90% of people are willing to pay 1c to skip the Mazda Zoom-Zoom kid ad, that #%)*&#% 'Buck-a-day' or similar computer sale ads, the Dell Kid ads, etc, you would essentially be telling the advertisers to change their tune.

      • The people with profiling turned on would have some interesting powers too. For example, if the profiling revealed that 90% of people are willing to pay 1c to skip the Mazda Zoom-Zoom kid ad, that #%)*&#% 'Buck-a-day' or similar computer sale ads, the Dell Kid ads, etc, you would essentially be telling the advertisers to change their tune.
        Um no, you'd be encouraging them to do exactly the opposite. They'd feed you so many filthy ads that you'd pay to skip every ad they threw at you. Multiply by 100 million households. The advertisers could make more money from people skipping their ads than they could from companies buying the ads in the first place! Great strategy...
  • by bbtom (581232)
    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.
    • doubtful (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tumbleweed (3706) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @05:14PM (#4137662)

      > In many ways, I have found life without TV a big improvement, in that I can now think.

      If you can't think watching tv, you probably can't think without one, either. Get a grip.

      People who categorize all tv as evil or stupid are guilty of stupidity themselves. There's _plenty_ of well-done, educational, and inspirational programming on tv (if you count cable channels). Shows like West Wing, Buffy (despite the lead character & actress, this show is amazing. Easily among the best writing around.), and others. When you toss in shows on PBS, channels like Discovery, History Channel, hell, even the Cartoon channel, you've got a lot of great stuff available. It's not all 'Full House', and hasn't been for many years. No matter what you're into, there's something, probably several somethings, somewhere on a cable channel for you. Now, that said, is it worth the money? Depends. Basic cable, or expanded basic, is a great deal. Pay channels usually aren't. Sure, they show uncensored movies, but considering how many times they repeat the movies, I dunno. Most movies aren't worth watching more than once, to me. I'm more likely to watch things on Turner Classic Movies than I am to watch the latest thing on HBO or Showtime. I'm not really into HBO's "original programming", so it's not a big draw for me. I'd be willing to pay for channels like BBC America, though, if it were offered here in Kansas City (which it isn't), and the same goes for Sundance Channel and some others.
      • Re:doubtful (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shelled (81123)
        If you can't think watching tv, you probably can't think without one, either. Get a grip.

        Watching TV regularly makes you accustomed to its cliches and idioms. You learn to take them for granted and they disappear. Buffy may be good TV, it doesn't approach good writing. Neither does the suffocating majority of what passes for entertainment - or information - being broadcast. I stopped watching about five years ago and start swearing at the tube after twenty minutes now. It's not violence or sexuality or anything like that, it's the unbelievably insipid and disingenuous mindset of almost every show and commercial. I'm no longer accustomed to its 'badness'.

        If you grew up in abject poverty and part of every day, from earliest memory, was spent rummaging through the dump for food, you'd naturally learn to differentiate between bad trash, acceptable trash and excellent trash, but it's still TV.

    • by Micah (278)
      AAAAAAAA freeking MEN!!!!

      I used to watch some TV while living at my parents' place -- Peter Jennings, local news with Paul Linman (of exploding whale fame) and Steve Dunn, and then Jeopardy. Now I'm in my own apartment. I have a small TV and a tuner card, but reception is crap so I don't even watch that anymore. I've found that it's FAR quicker to read the news I'm interested in on the Internet than listen to those guys blather about things I'm not interested in, not to mention the commercials. I do miss Jeopardy a little, but can live without it.

      Those things aren't worth $9.99/month for basic cable. I do kind of wish I had regular cable for FOX News and the Travel Channel. But $40/month for that is OUTRAGEOUS. No thanks, at least not until I have a roommate and/or more of an income.

      $45/month, OTOH, for cable Internet is a no-brainer. :)
    • If you're addicted to TV, then maybe watching less of it is a good step, but turning it off isn't going to instantly make my life better, is it? If I spend that time reading Slashdot and browsing the web for news I would have seen on TV, have I really changed my life at all? I doubt your average TV watcher is suddenly going to start reading great stuff and become a new person?


      I spent a nice weekend out of town a month ago, and didn't see a computer or television the whole time. Was I a better person because I spent my time browsing record stores and sitting in bars with people? Not really. TV is entertaining, and I'll be damned if you're going to get me to give mine up with football season starting.

  • by mookie-blaylock (522933) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:25PM (#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.
    • by davie (191) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @05:20PM (#4137692) Journal

      What's old is new again...

      I'm old enough that I (vaguely) recall watching TV shows with one primary sponsor whose products (or images of them) were featured prominently in the shows. There were "commercial breaks", but nothing like the 18-20 minutes per hour we're subjected to these days.

      Personally, I'd rather watch Captain Archer suck down a can of Pepsi while munching on a rehydrated Pizza Hut pizza than sit through these insipid, pretentious "barrage of images" adverts, or the stupid drug ads with the elevator-music rendition of some Who tune (what's up with this? "Side effects are similar to sugar pills: dry mouth, diarrhea, hemorrhaging, brain tumors, schizophrenia..." are sugar pills really that dangerous?).

    • Obviously there is a fundamental limitation to using product placement, namely that they can't be out of place. Sure, many (but not all) shows can slip in a Coke can somewhere, but what about tampons or glass cleaner or discount furniture stores or whatever? They need advertising too - frankly, they need it more than a soft drink or car or whatever does. There are many advertised things for which product placement is not an option, and a number of shows in which there is no opportunity for product placement. Especially the re-runs. Product placement is too inflexible an option

      I expect pop-ups, watermarks, and adspaces will be more popular. Especially adspaces, once the powers-that-be realize that when you film for HDTV widescreen and then broadcast it letterboxed, you've got two big fat black bars begging to be filled. And as a side benefit, it will get people upgrading to widescreen tvs to get rid of the damn ads in the near term. In the long run as video-by-subscription and video-on-demand become a reality, pay-per-view by meta-network (a specialized selection of channels or broadcasts throughout the day, which will be small to keep costs reasonable) and even by show (thanks to integrated PVRs in digital recievers) will dominate, with huge changes in the industry.
  • In show ads (Score:3, Informative)

    by essdodson (466448) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:25PM (#4137367) Homepage
    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.
  • by mikeplokta (223052) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:26PM (#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.
    • 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!
      • by FyRE666 (263011) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @07:55PM (#4138412) Homepage
        I have to agree - I used to find it a little annoying that I had to pay the TV tax for a couple of channels no matter whether I watched them or not. But recently I've worked out that the BBC channels are pretty good value for money.

        It works out that you pay just over 10 quid a month for the BBC, with zero adverts and mostly original programming. Contrast this with Sky which is almost 100% repeats, and 30% adverts (there's roughly 5 minutes of adverts every 10-12 minutes it seems) for the same price.

        Plus, unless it's a mere coincidence, most of the satelite channels switch to adverts within seconds of each other, probably to stop channel switching, but I always flip to one of the BBC channels when the ads start for 5 minutes while they're on.

        If the beeb can make it pay with no ads, why can't the other satelite channels?
      • by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @07:57PM (#4138418)
        What the hell? You're the same guy who was bragging about not watching any TV in a 5-rated comment in this same story. What's the deal?
    • I support the licence fee, but I don't see why all of it should go to the BBC (or other monolithic national broadcaster). The viewer should have some say in which stations get a share of the $150/year or whatever - like the scheme that RMS proposes for software.

      What bugs me at the moment is, if the licence-fee payer has already funded the production of TV programmes, why does the BBC try to fleece people some more by selling the shows to pay-TV channels in the same country? Why isn't it freely viewable?

      Paying a flat fee is much better than pay-per-view just as flat rate internet access is preferable to any AOL walled garden or dodgy micropayment system. And while advertising has its place, in practice you don't seem to get good TV when adverts are the _only_ source of funding.
  • Subscription-based (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jeremyhu (164852)
    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.
    • 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).
  • Banner Ads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hoagieslapper (593527) <hoagieslapper@gmail.com> on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:27PM (#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.
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      2 mins of my time for 8mins of enjoyment isn't bad

      Ah, but you pay more than just your 8 minutes. People rarely count the additional cost of (a) reduced attention span; (b) extended flight-or-fight triggering; and (c) artistic compromises due to the demands of the "5 act" hourlong TV format.
  • by GusherJizmac (80976) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:27PM (#4137378) Homepage
    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.

  • 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!
    • 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.
      • Blockquoth the poster:

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

        Are you saying that before the FCC, the Earth's atmosphere was unable to carry electromagnetic transmissions? Wow, now, that's one heck of a public-works project! :)
  • Here's a Solution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NedatEU (455298)
    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..
    • People would probably hate this as it takes up space that could be used for the show. As it is, I refuse to watch stations with huge and sometimes loud station logos in the corner of the screen. Not too long ago I watched E! for a story on a movie I was interested in (I don't remember what the movie was) and every 3-5 minutes a loud smacking sound could be heard and the Anna Nicole logo at the bottom of the screen would kiss the screen. The logo itself took up about 1/9th of the screen, and the added sound effects were too much. I turned it off, and haven't watched E! since.
  • Video On Demand (Score:5, Informative)

    by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:28PM (#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
    • Maybe the first show (the pilot) is free and each show afterwards is some cost.

      Or the first 10 mins are free and then the scrambler sets in, if you don't insert coin.

      For those of us who don't have PVRs, something occured to me. If I'm really into a show, I may want to pay for the commercials not to come up. Interrupt the show with a "Do you want to pay $0,01 now or endure these commercials"-message.
    • Re:Video On Demand (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @05:19PM (#4137686)
      What they need is a gigantic digital library of every TV show and movie ever made, with new shows and movies added when they become available, with a charge of 50 cents per hour of programming downloaded from the library. With so much programming available for a reasonable price, no one would ever bother to record or 'pirate' anything, and you could watch what you want when you want. It would need a powerful search/navigation system.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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...)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Its funny... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Psiren (6145) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:38PM (#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?
    • Re:Its funny... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DragonMagic (170846)
      Apart from shows like Monk on ABC and on the USA Network, and CSI, really, why should we pay for the crap on US television?

      If I had to pay $150/yr. and see another stupid UPN/Fox comedy show that was just a bunch of in-jokes or racial put-downs, or another prettier-than-anyone NBC comedy, then I'd demand my money back.

      However, an entire network showing nothing but L&Os, I'd pay for that, indeed.
    • The ads for BBC programmes are between shows not ever 10-15 minutes, so you can watch a show without interruptions. Which is very nice when the BBC runs movies on BBC1 or BBC2. I can't watch a movie with ad breaks, it ruins the experience. So I pay for premium movie channels like HBO.

      I use to get a kick out of American shows on BBC, they would insert "signs" like "end of part 1", "end of part 2" so that the pause in the footage, designed for commercial break, still worked. I think it also helps timing, but that is secondary to the viewer.

      CBC in Canada use to be commercial free, but without a TV license, their budget was too small. So now their budget is still too small and they have commercial. Mainly to afford to buy cheap American sitcoms and movies.

      I watch less and less "commercial" television. When I can, I prefer to go to an independent cinema, and watch an independent film. On average, I am fall less disappointed with indie films, see a broader range of cultural material (not just sitcoms from LA and NYC), better stories, and save money. I mean I would far rather see Amelié [imdb.com] or 8 1/2 [imdb.com] again than Blue Crush.
  • "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.
  • 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! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by norite (552330) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:39PM (#4137464) Journal
    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)
  • 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 would gladly pay by the show for the programs I watch, but only if they were commercial and DRM free. However paying by the show would absolutely subvert the point of this article, because the television studios wouldn't want you recording it. And forget about sharing television shows, that would amount to DVD and music piracy (i.e. vehemently gone after and prosecuted, unlike TV shows now[1]).

    No, right now the best solution for the consumer and the producers is the ad in the middle of the show. Clearly it does work to some extent, just getting the name out there. And for those who don't care/don't want to watch the commercials, they can "steal" the content by going to the kitchen/bathroom/whatever until the commercials are over.

    Sancho

    [1] Yes, sites that distribute TV content are still shut down, but not with the force and money that's thrown at the various music and movie sites.
  • Maybe I'm not in the right neighborhood or I don't know the right people, but none of my friends nor myself own a PVR, so I don't see the automatic skipping of ads as a big threat (for now) to TV stations. Usually, when I watch TV, it's to put my brain in a "don't think too much" mode (except when I watch the news). Ads are just another part of the TV programmation, although one I don't mind missing by going to the toilet or getting a drink.
  • A little about VBI (Score:3, Informative)

    by cr@ckwhore (165454) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:45PM (#4137498) Homepage
    There's all kinds of hidden data within your television picture... closed caption data, date/time, interactive guide data,v-chip data, and even URLs. This data is transmitted in the VBI, or the Vertical Blanking Interval, which is (loosly) the unused space between scanlines.

    Much like spam filters, there are a few approaches that can be taken to apply statistical data and pattern recognition to the VBI data, which could then be used to skip commercials automatically. There are a few hobbyists doing this.

    Since time data is also included in the VBI, the TV stations have exact lists of when commercials are to be inserted by their parent networks. This information, if obtained, could be useful when used in conjunction with the time data in the VBI.

    Here's a good place to start reading if you want learn about your VBI... http://www.robson.org/gary/writing/nv-line21.html

  • Make everything into an infomercial!!

    The idea of stretegic product placement "sounds" good, but what about those personal injury lawyers? I'd hate to see one of those become a regular on Friends. George on Seinfeld is already "too lawyery" for me... (I still have images of that actor being the lawyer on 'Pretty Woman')

    Some ads could work as strategic placement and others could not... Who on the cast of friends would plug ads for hemmoroid creme? I can sorta see Phoebe doing that... singing "Bleeding butt... bleeding butt... What have they been sticking in you?"

    Actually, how about this? Fire all the over-paid actors and let the people who want to do it for free do it!! It couldn't get worse than it already is anyway. There are lots of people who would do TV just for the fun of it so forget about commercial sponsors entirely. We can call it "Open Source TV." Who says there has to be advertisers backing creative works to guarantee quality anyway?

    "TV just wants to be free!!"
  • Perhaps, during shows, the show's "window" will shrink, leaving space for a "minishow" that is silent and is probably text only describing a product. The "minishow" will appear every, say, 5 minutes and last for 30 minutes. Of course, the minishow should (but probably won't be anyway :-p) marked as a sponsor message. This is actually based on an advertising concept I am making for an upcoming website that I am collaborating on, with "text ads" in a "text ad article" appearing every so often in a box that is right-indented in an article. Or, TV's could have springs built in printers and firing mechanisms, and pop-up ads to you. The faster you skip commercials, the faster the pop-up's come. ENTROPY! (AAAAGH)
  • You're thinking of this from the consumer perspective. Try looking up articles from the industry.

    This was an interesting article that I stumbled across earlier today, when looking for PVR software:
    I'm guessing that rags like Advertising Week [adweek.com] would have a similar perspective on things.
  • Series: payperview after evaluation. You are able to watch one or two series as an evaluation. If you like it, you order it and pay it, if you don't your are entitled to a new evaluation (after predifined time).
    Movies: payperview
    News: they are capitalized already anyway, the one featured in news, pays :)))
  • I don't care. If the current free TV dies because it doesn't make economic sense, good.

    I will pay for decent TV, I rent a lot of movies, because I don't like what is on TV.
  • If you watch some of the old shows, it's interesting how they phrased the advertising: "The Shadow Knows! Brought to you by Johnson's Floor Wax! Keep your floors sparkling clean with Johnson's Floor Wax!" or some such.

    The thing is, the way they phrased it, they made the relationship about who's paying the bills much more up-front, rather than the typical modern "We'll be back after a few messages" (translation: "We'll be back after wasting some of your time"). It's like the people on whatever show don't even respect the advertisers.

    It seems like in the old days, people actually appreciated advertisers paying the bills, and responded by trying the product. Nowadays, it's almost an adversarial relationship. People go out of their way to get as far away from them as possible. Maybe it's just because there are so many more advertisers, and the advertising is much slicker. Personally, I think people just don't conciously make the connection between advertiser money and how these multi-million dollar productions get made.

    I wonder if there is a way to make advertising a bit more of a "sponsorship" type of thing.

  • Why should I start paying for the show when I get it for free now? Myself, and probably 99.44% of Americans, will not. Commercials are acceptable because they are a natural break during the program. This is why Pay TV such as HBO is annoying because you are glued to TV for the whole two hours of the movie. Basically this proposal has me paying MORE - I have to buy a PVR to 'pause' (which I get for free now) and I have to pay for the show itself.

    And whatever happens, don't go to the PBS/NPR model of subscription drives. Even though they only happen one week per quarter, they are infinitely more annoying than a constant but gradual stream of commercials.
  • If they ever need to find new, even more irritating ways of advertising, they need merely look at the wealth of ways in use on the world wide web. Banner ads on the top of the screen while you watch, pop-up ads as you flip through channels that you must close before moving to another channel or any of several other equally irritating ideas.

    In the long run though, simple things like product placement should do it. This would allow them correct the percieved losses as a rusult of PVR tv viewing (which is a small majority that likely won't be large enough to impact anything for quite some time).
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:51PM (#4137539) Homepage
    At the first of a) pointing out the obvious, and b) getting flamed, there ARE other ways in the world to support television besides commercial services sponsored by advertising.

    I don't say you have to like the BBC. I don't say I would like this as a solution in the U. S. I just say, here is an existence proof. Here's one way television can and has "survived" without advertising.

    As it says here, [bbc.co.uk]

    The BBC's domestic radio and TV services are financed by the television licence fee.

    The current licence fee (from 1 April 2002) is £112.00 for colour and £37.50 for black and white.

    Anyone aged 75 or over is now entitled to a free TV Licence for their principal address.

    If you are registered blind you only pay 50% of the full licence fee.

    For less than 30p a day (colour), the licence fee pays for:

    The television channels BBC ONE, BBC TWO, BBC Choice, BBC FOUR, BBC News 24 and BBC Parliament;

    Five network radio services, plus the BBC Asian Network, and new digital radio services launching in 2002;

    Regional TV programmes and Local Radio services in England;

    National Radio & TV in Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland;

    BBCi.
  • by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @04:56PM (#4137569) Journal
    I'll gladly give up free television (how many people actually use antennas anyway) in return for access to the television airwaves.
  • by ArcSecond (534786) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @05:08PM (#4137630)
    Ok, so here's my idea. Which is a total 180 from everyone else I've read here so far. How about a channel that shows ONLY commercials? Hell, how about a DOZEN channels that show only commercials?

    Seriously, I'm sure advertisers would love to pay people to watch their 30 second films. And you could choose which "kind" of commercials you wanted to watch by special interest, language, product type, etc.. I have found that the better commercials tend to be a lot more entertaining than your average Friends episode (I'm thinking best commercials in the World here, not just North America).

    There might be some weird splash-over of people watching commercial for products that aren't available in their area (watching a stylish commercial for a Europe-only car or a funny Japanese toy commercial, for example), but the programming becomes REALLY simple when all you are doing is showing one 30 second spot after another... this might mean we now need Ad Jockeys (grimace).

    The purpose of these channels (which could actually be fun to watch), would be to pay for the non-commercial channels bundled with them. So, if you watch x commercials, your cable is free (or cheap, rather).

    Don't want to watch the commercials? Just pay the difference. Poor white trash? Make a little money while you sit on your ass. Everyone is a winner. Or not, as the case may be.
  • by UserChrisCanter4 (464072) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @05:40PM (#4137785)
    I watch a reasonable amount of TV, maybe 3 or 4 shows a week that I routinely watch, and then stuff if I'm just bored.

    I do watch a lot of European Soccer, particularly English Premiere League. Soccer's a great way to show how to work around an advertising problem: The game is played for two continuous 45 minute halves. No TV Time-outs like (american) football/basketball, no injury time-outs. It just goes for 45 minutes, then stops for ~15 for half time, then goes again for another 45. So Advertisers have a few problems: no commercial breaks in-game, and the big-ol' 15 minute break in the middle is enough time for me to go grill myself a hamburger, grab a beverage, go to the bathroom, change the oil, etc. (although not at the same time).

    So there're a couple of strategies employed. First, the obvious, that "this game is brought to you by so-and-so: slogan". You'll also find that the score display in the upper-right of the screen is "brought to you by so-andso", who just display their logo under the score constantly. Then, of course, the teams have logos on their jerseys, something which I am amazed American companies/sports teams haven't jumped on.

    But as I ramble, I come to the ACTUAL idea. I started noticing that company logos are displayed in the center circle and corners of the field, in a manner that makes them appear to have been mowed/rolled into the grass. Of course, it isn't mowed/rolled in, it's digitally added, which makes it appear as though, say, budweiser has mowed the center of the pitch, when in reality it was simply added in later.

    Let's take a couple of examples, which would be wildly easy to insert:
    1) The friend's appartment has some poster on the wall, which, say changes week to week. Maybe it's a movie poster this week, maybe a pseudo-vintage coke ad.
    2) The TV in a scene is playing some sort of advertisement. This would be especially amusing.
    3) More mention of stores, and in particular, cars. Outside of the Seinfeld Black Saab, and Joe Suburbs shining up his vintage 60's muscle car while chatting with his neighbor, cars don't get a lot of play on your average sitcom or drama (knight rider/Viper excluded). For example, I know that in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cordelia drives a Chrysler Sebring, but that's only because I'm a geeky car guy. She never mentions it by name, but does indicate an attachment to it and how cool it is. Why not a few exterior shots as character X gets into his new Subaru, or as Jane Doctor on Medical Drama Du Jour pulls up to the hospital. Car Geeks like me can identify the car by the look of a fender, but if the public knew that Jane Doctor drove the new Toyota Camry, maybe that's a good motivating reason for them to own it. Heck, they make the Acura NSX look cool as hell in Pulp Fiction, and they don't ever even tell you what it is.

    So, to summarize: product placement, but in different methods than are currently used. Instead of a stupid pepsi billboard, have the characters order a pepsi at the amusement park's drink stand. Instead of a commercial about the new Buick Rendezvous, make it obvious that the wholesome soccer mom love interest drives a Buick Rendezvous. Instead of "movie guy" telling us in 30 seconds about X-Men 2, make it seem that X-Men 2 is so cool that Joe Cool-Character would want to have the movie poster in his apartment. Creative integrity isn't really spoiled, instead of a character at the bar saying "lemme have a beer" he says "gimme an MGD". What's changed? Nothing really. Frame up a shot so that Suzy is walking toward the screen, with the rear of the new BMW Z4 visible on the right side and Suzy on the left. What's changed? One camera angle, which an assistant director would likely have taken care of anyway. Then maybe dump a solid five minutes worth of advertisements in between shows, so that people watching it "live" still catch some other ads. Not exactly a 'problem solved' but it does implement the ad in a different manner entirely.
  • by drnomad (99183) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @05:55PM (#4137866)
    In Holland, we have public television. Usually because the government provides the channels with a very high budget paid from the people's taxes. Also laws say that the channels should have certain percentage of education, certain percentage of culture and certain percentage of etc...


    Sure, these channels provide much better TV (well, for me anyway) rather than the commercial channels, which broadcast the same average bull as the US channels do.


    I think there are several questions you might ask yourself when creating a business model. What can TV do for its audience?


    Once, four of the 8 commercial channels here in Holland, who own the best watched soap opera, announced that they would go behind the digital decoder. They made a gamble that people's addiction to this soap would force people to accept the new system. But what happened, a smaller national channel announced that they would never go behind the decoder and they owned a soap opera which was less popular, but still. So in the end, nobody went behind the decoder.


    So what is TV for people? Education? Entertainment? There's one little problem with TV : forcing the customer to do anything that they're not doing now and which costs them more money will end-result in a competitor giving the same service without the force. People want freedom, not watching Buffy does not mean you're gonna die.


    Just simply thinking of a business model is not enough. There's enough TV around anyway - you must have a good reason for me to watch your stuff.


    By the way, both education and entertainment have substitutes: go to a theatre or a concert or perhaps read a good book. No TV does not mean no fun.


    I guess you really have a problem.

  • by pbryan (83482) <email@pbryan.net> on Sunday August 25, 2002 @06:47PM (#4138130) Homepage
    The future is product placement, my friend. Only with product placement can commercial content get to viewers without such interference from pesky technology. Law & Order Classic, 2004:

    "Before we investigate and inevitably arrest the prime suspect, why don't we relax and enjoy the soothing, refreshing taste of a Vanilla Coke?"

    "Your honor, I request a recess so that we can try the new Subway Select Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich, only $2.99 for a limited time."

    "The jury is hopelessly deadlocked, your honor. Half of the jury believes that the the defendant's beverage tastes great. The other half is convinced that it is less filling."
  • by Rick Richardson (87058) on Sunday August 25, 2002 @07:17PM (#4138257) Homepage
    I can't decide whether I'd rather watch TV shows with commercials or read the articles with "Comments" on Slashdot.

    Mindless drivel vs. um, mindless drivel.

    I think I'll stick with TV and commercials. At least with TV, I'm not tempted to waste even more time responding to the mindless drivel.

    -Rick
  • by The Panther! (448321) <panther&austin,rr,com> on Monday August 26, 2002 @12:13AM (#4139285) Homepage
    (at least, I didn't see it modded up anywhere)

    Why not buy TV content the same way we buy music and movies? At the video store. I don't see a reason why there need be advertising involved. The real question is: how do we support the creation of the content consumers want to see? The answer is pay for it. I refuse to support television in its current form, so I don't watch anything (except for Enterprise, which I usually download cuz I miss the timeslot).

    But I will happily pay for stuff that makes me laugh or smile, tweaks my anticipation for the next installment, etc. What I expect for the service is to either receive a DVD in the mail with the show every couple of weeks, or be able to tune in to a server on the internet and download it either directly to my PVR (which I don't own--yet) or via my cable box. If there's advertising, I want it to offset the cost of the show, and be tuned to my interests, and NOT be in the middle of the show. It ruins the flow of a story and destroys all the suspense and tension that might be built by a good story.

    The way I figure it, as a subscription-based model, you'll see fewer shows being produced, but those that are produced will be of higher quality and greater depth. People would be highly attached to the stories, reminiscent of the radio serials of the 1930's-50's. Life would change. Channel surfing would cease to exist; regular TV would be useful only has a news-delivery mechanism (this is a Good Thing, as local stations can barely do that well); people might be enticed to do outdoorsy things that are free, rather than stay inside and be advertised to constantly. Best of all, shows could very well be targeted towards more mature audiences with fewer complaints from the puritanical extremist groups. A little nudity hasn't hurt European audiences any. ;-)
  • by labradore (26729) on Monday August 26, 2002 @04:48AM (#4139816)
    I think that subscription TV channels are probably a much better alternative than commercial channels. Ask yourself, what are the best TV shows on the tube? For me the best TV series and news are on HBO and my local public television stations. I know that HBO is highly profitable. So why have the networks clung to their old model? I guess it is because it's all they've got. If they were smart they would get the FCC to allow them to broadcast digitally encrypted shows that use decoders at the television. Then they could switch to the subscription model. I suppose that cable networks are somewhere in between broadcast network television and premium channels but they are obviously just as bad as the networks when it comes to intrusive advertising, low quality material, and bugs (the logos and watermarks on the screen that don't go away and usually animate once in a while).
  • by !Xabbu (1769) on Monday August 26, 2002 @10:16AM (#4140702) Homepage
    1. Dump all commercials.
    2. TV stations start charging cable providers for content.
    3. Cable providers charge us for the service.

    I think a model like this would only work for satellite providers, not land based cable. The costs to lay/maintain coax is probably significantly more then it would be to plunk a bird in the sky.

    Number one problem with this? Money. People will only pay so much for cable. Therefore the cable companies will only pay so much for content, and the stations will only pay so much for shows. Therefor the whole industry needs to live with a smaller profit margin. And this leaves us pretty much back where we are since we live on a very capitolistic continent.

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