Tivo shills with pop-ups and avoiding ads becomes illegal...?

It's official folks, you can't run, you can't hide, and you certainly can't Tivo away any ads. TiVo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers. Nopesiree, now they're the latest in market research tools and even planning to rollout a "couch commerce" system that allows users to purchase products and answer surveys using their remotes. We knew this was coming: Tivo - advertisers best friend. Coupled with some news that wordsmith Holger brought to my attention today, it looks like it might soon become illegal to not watch ads! Keep reading!

From the LA Times article:

"TiVo looked like it was going to be the weapon of mass destruction of Madison Avenue," says Robert Thompson, Syracuse University professor of television and pop culture. "However, we knew that the [TV] spot ad would not go gently into the night, and this is the next battle strategy."
(Whats with the overuse of that WMD term? Life isn't a game of scrabble people!)

So Tivo is planning to pop up mini "billboards" or small logo's dancing around on your screen as you doze in front of the latest reality show, it's in fact been their plan since the start. You knew it was too good to be true right, there had to be a catch. Remember those mid-80s VCRs that skipped ads automatically when you taped your favorite show? Have you seen any of those lately? Neither have I.

Pop-ups though, how annoying could that get? But Tivo insists that they have done their homework:

The new ads intrigue viewers instead of annoy them. They pop up and disappear in a matter of seconds if the viewer isn't interested. "You'll never see TiVo roll out any kind of intrusive advertising," Kent says. "It's very core to our mission."
No contradictions in that statement at all. Perhaps they think that constant fireworks of little blinking logo's at the edge of my vision won't cause epileptic fits as I try to read that and watch the movie, and read the subtitles. (I'm a sucker for foreign films). Who knows, I guess we just have different definitions of where "intruding" becomes so. Heck, I think channel logo's are intruding.

At First glance the Wired news article Senate May Ram Copyright Bill might look unrelated, but then Holger pointed to this interesting quote:

"The bill would also permit people to use technology to skip objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed language, viewers would not be allowed to use software or devices to skip commercials or promotional announcements "that would otherwise be performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the motion picture," like the previews on a DVD. The proposed law also includes language from the Pirate Act (S2237), which would permit the Justice Department to file civil lawsuits against alleged copyright infringers."

Pardon me, but are we suggesting that I may skip sex scenes but not the Grey Poupon?
Forget Bladerunner, we're already living the Minority Report soon.
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ernieschenck's picture

TiVo can run all the pop-up logos it wants. This isn't going to work for them in the end. Since when is a "billboard" or a logo bouncing up and down enough of an incentive to get somebody to actually want to find out more? If this was TiVo's plan from the start, it's a dumb plan. This is like voting for somebody and then having them change parties on you once they're elected. That really pisses me off. Major impending backfire, I'd predict.

caffeinegoddess's picture

Whomever TiVO interviewed that said pop-ups weren't annoying were lying. Those station ident pop-ups tick me off to no end. It was bad enough when they were static logos, but now with their animation and mini ads, they take up 1/4 of the screen and block what I'm trying to see. Doesn't make me want to watch whatever it is they are advertising and if I can avoid it, I will.

Dabitch's picture

Alec just tipped the list to this article: Ads to pop up when TiVo users scan past commercials

TiVo fans weren't as enthusiastic.

"That really upsets me," says Paula Burg, 27, of Washington, who records about 15 hours of programming on her TiVo each week. "I love TiVo because it's what I want, when I want it. ... I'm already paying $12.95 a month (to avoid commercials)."

AnonymousCoward's picture

This essentially creates an entirely new target audience: the Advertising Hater. Each time a TiVo user skips a commercial, he'll get... a commercial.

That's like the door-to-door salesman who, after having the door slammed in his face, crawls through the window.

Dabitch's picture
blabla's picture

Thanks for the extra links.
The extremely negative reaction over at Metafilter struck me as a little
over the top at first, as I understand it on a DVD one can't skip
the things shown before the movie, like the previews and FBI warning....

But then the more I read, the more I realized what a slippery slope this
is, some of the future prediction at Metafilter may not be far off at all.

In regards to TiVos dumb idea, people will like cockroaches, get used to
it... But I suspect many will leave their TiVos behind, since they pay to
use Tivo they'll feel entitled to be able to skips the ads. Soon however,
it will be like when paying for cable, you get ads anyway. Stick to HBO
people, it has better shows anyway.