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TV And The Problem With Ads

ABC is making its programs available to more media distributors, as long as the parties would disable the ability to fast-forward through commercials.

“Once you give consumers the toys, you really shouldn’t take them away,” said Jen Soch, president-activation director, advanced TV, at Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest told AdAge. “I’m afraid I wouldn’t want to be the one that aggravates a consumer when they are used to TiVo and are using that to fast forward.”

In contrast, Brian Wieser, senior VP-director of industry analysis at Interpublic Group’s Magna Global said: “People will really value the time-shifting much more than the ad avoidance.”

We’re with you, bro. TIVO users are shrugging their shoulders. Big deal. If they really want to watch something, they record and thus, fast forward. For everyone without the device, we’re guessing they’ll be thrilled. This is an on-demand culture we live in. Networks need to push forward with releasing their content for consumers to digest when they want and how they want.

On that note, as more TV shows become available for viewing online, we have cut down on downloading via bittorent where there are no commercials to interrupt the programming. We often want to watch TV on a whim and would rather not wait on downloading times.

BUT… um… hello? We don’t know who selects what ads to play when during online viewing, but really… someone get it together. More often than not, you see the same ad during all four of commercial breaks. Sometimes you get lucky. For example, the Orange Juice Council has four different games. Cesar’s Pizza has a continuing narrative. Sadly, this type of engagement is rare.

WTF? Note to programmers and buyers: you do not schedule ads this way on television, so why would you do it online? We beg and appeal to you, to think of the growing masses that are using the internet to watch their favorite programs. Many a study has shown that internet users are more focused and engaged with the medium compared to TV, which means you’ve got a real shot to make an impression. Why waste it?

Not all of advertising principles need to be thrown away in this new media landscape. Some tenets hold true and should even been strengthened, such as the need to engage and entertain and provide an experience for the viewer.

This morning, we had an episode of My-So Called Life playing on our extra Mac screen. We saw the Monster.com spot above three times. Created by BBDO, the spot is highly entertaining. The first time. The second time we hit mute and watched a different video on YouTube. By the third, we were annoyed at both brand and network.

Back to pirating, we guess.

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