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back to article Judge drops TV ad-block block: So how will anyone pay for TV now?

The US ruling that automatically stripping out the ads doesn't cause TV broadcasters irreparable harm might be legally accurate, but logistically it's nonsense and a decision we might all live to regret. Fox will appeal against the dismissal of its request for an injunction against Dish Networks, but it looks likely the TV …

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Scrolling ads

If they start doing this during my favourite film I will chuck out the TV.

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Re: Scrolling ads

It's bad enough when, after the poignant ending of a film, some twerp starts jabbering over the credits to announce what's on next.

That, and and the variable frequency of advertisements... the first 40 minutes of the film goes by uninterrupted, but towards the climax of the film there is an advertisement break every ten minutes.

Ah well, the BBC and DVD boxsets cover most of my televisual wants... Channel 4 used to make some gems, but since they not only dropped The Daily Show - but prevented Comedy Central.co.uk from screening full episodes - then screw 'em with extreme prejudice. Oh, and they cut the more risqué jokes from The Simpsons, even when it messes with the continuity.

/end mini rant

On a slightly off but parallel topic - I recently watched the Armando Iannucci Bafta lecture on Youtube, about how US networks have put some brilliant shows in the last decade (when once the US put out 'glittery shit'), and how Britain's commissioning editors have lost their way. Recommended.

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Re: Scrolling ads

-- It's far easier just to scroll the ads across the bottom of the screen during the show, something already common around the world and creeping into UK television too (currently restricted to advertising other shows, but give it time...) --

This'll fix it.

http://www.homedepot.com/buy/highland-2-in-x-180-ft-gaffer-s-tape-6910.html#.UJ0UEoYR4uI

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Devil

Re: Scrolling ads

Adjust the picture height so that the ticker disappears.

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FAIL

WTF is wrong with PAYING for content?? You know, subscriptions?

That is why I don't pay for sky, I don't like getting adverts if I already pay...

That is why I like the BBC, I pay my fee I get my TV with NO adverts...

If Sky were to stop with adverts in their shows then I would happily pay £20/month for the priviledge, otherwise the channels should be on Freesat...

IF they start sticking adverts all over them, I will turn to other means of watching the shows I like..

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Meh

The problem is you'd have to pay more than the current Sky subs for it to work and we don't know much more than would be. Personally I'd be prepared to pay a bit extra to skip adverts myself but just having a jump forward function would really be enough. My FreeSat PVR has that and it's much better than Sky's traditional 'go faster'. Especially since Sky's go faster plays back like a drunken bum :-/

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Anonymous Coward

BBC

Seems to me that for a "advert-free", paid-for network, the BBC spends a surprising amount of time advertising its own programmes...

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"The problem is you'd have to pay more than the current Sky subs for it to work"

Actually you'd pay a similar amount but get less channels.

90% of channels on pay tv in Aus are utter garbage, but they are bundled with channels you actually want to watch.

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Funny that. Sky have adopted exactly the same procedure as Dish networks for their downloadable on demand content. So if I didn't watch a programme at first broadcast I can wait 24 hours and watch a Sky programme with the ads stripped out. Or just fast forward on Sky+, it's about as difficult as spelling privilege correctly.

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The cost

£4.6bn in annual TV advertising revenue / 25 million households = £184 per household p.a.

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Re: BBC

"Seems to me that for a "advert-free", paid-for network, the BBC spends a surprising amount of time advertising its own programmes..."

Every channel does.

BBC seem to spend less time than most, though.

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FAIL

Re: BBC

They don't advertise their next program using an annoying overlay at the bottom of the screen, nor do they insert their adverts into the middle of programs.

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Re: BBC

God, I hate that. I think that producers should demand that their programs be broadcast 'the full height and width of the display with no overlays' or not at all.

Of course, I stopped watching tv on a regular basis in 1993.

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Stop

Re: BBC

I'm wondering how much adverts contribute to channels on the Sky platform.

It's possible that for Sky owned channels they are only boosting Sky's profits so with fewer channels it might still be able to operate. But the majority of channels on Sky's platform are not owned by Sky and I don't think any of them could operate without advertising revenue. As I understand it they get something back from Sky based on audience share but I've heard that it's a very small amount.

Channels like Discovery can probably only exist due to advertising revenue now. Of course maybe we could move to every channel having its own subscription but I don't know if that would work for the less popular channels either. Advertising is vague enough to allow channels to get an inflated income because there's always the chance of a passing viewer. But force them to rely on subs and a lot of people will fade away.

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Facepalm

Re: BBC

"the BBC spends a surprising amount of time advertising its own programmes..."

That's because BBC created programmes are few and far between, most are commissioned or bought in and those programmes were made with the commercial market in mind. Even the BBCs own programmes are made with ad breaks in mind for the BBC World re-sale market. Just watch a BBC in-house created documentary. It's about 50mins long but every 10-15 mins there is a "re-cap" and a "coming next" segment.

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Stop

NO adverts???

They're just spending ten million pounds on advertising DAB!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The cost

And that's what you pay, irrespective of whether there's even a TV in the house.

Licence fee may be somewhat inequitable, but advert funded TV is a complete scam.

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Anonymous Coward

A marketing droid just gave you a thumb down for talking about Pay TV not having ANY ads.

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Anonymous Coward

>If Sky were to stop with adverts in their shows then I would happily pay £20/month for the priviledge

They strip them out of Anytime which covers all the massive shows - if you really need to watch stuff go out live, then generally you hit pause and make a cup of tea or something. I haven't watched TV adverts for years - can't imagine why anyone who has Sky+ or equivalent would.

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Re: The cost

advert funded TV is a complete scam

I can accept that you might not like it, but how is it a "scam"? It seems to me to deliver precise what it promises: television programming with advertising. What fraud or deception is being perpetrated?

Personally, while I rarely enjoy advertising, ad breaks don't bother me enough to try to avoid them. But then I very rarely watch television by myself (so I can socialize during program interruptions), and then only when I'm eating or otherwise occupied in a way that gives me something else to direct my attention to.

Advertising crawlers, flies, banners, and the like inserted into programming, on the other hand, are the work of vile reprobates who should be banned from society. Or at least subjected to similar annoyances in other aspects of their lives, such as having loud noises interrupt their conversations.

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Anonymous Coward

I said:

....And that's what you pay, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THERE IS A TV IN THE HOUSE.

At least with licence fee, only TV owners pay.

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Whoa, wait a bit!

That Dish did not "strip out" any ads, it just provided a consumer-friendly function to skip them if they so want.

Quite frankly I find those ruminations about the poor industry, us living to regret this decision and so on, remarkably unconvincing.

You know what? If it's the death of the industry or me not being able to skip the ads the industry may lay down right now and die - I won't shed a single tear.

However, judging by the amounts of money they stuff their executive's pockets with and spend on lawyers and lavish bribes to politicians that industry has never had it so good. I would actually be very pleased if it would die right this minute. Tell me where should I push for them to fall over?

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Re: Whoa, wait a bit!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmViA8zRhLI

BAFTA Television Lecture 2012 - Armando Iannucci takes an optimistic view: since commissioning editors have dropped the ball, the way in which people now consume content has the potential to benefit the creative content creators. For example, over the internet, you don't have to make 25 minute episodes and instead can make each episode as long as it needs to be , a la Fawlty Towers.

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Re: Whoa, wait a bit!

Indeed, and that also allows them to be as *short* as they need to be as well, like the French "shortcom" format. This is usually at least semi-comedy, and is made in episodes of up to about ten minutes. The format itself has its roots in real broadcast TV and an anomaly in the French TV advertising rules - if the rules limit the number of ad slots you can put inside a single programme, let's just commission a 3-5 minute sketch-format comedy series (e.g. Kamelott) so we can have an extra between-programmes ad slot in that hour. With the rise of the Web as a video broadcast medium, the viewers' acceptance of this format leaves the door open to independent producers making stuff and showing it on the Web, then migrating it to TV if it gets enough hits (e.g. Le Visiteur du Futur, NOOB, Flander's Company).

And speaking of Fawlty Towers, I remember well, if with some trepidation, a marathon on Boston (Massachusetts, not Lincolnshire)'s PBS station WGBH during Begging Week, where they got hold of the whole set of Fawlty Towers and showed it back-to-back (OK, with begging slots in between, but you get the idea, right?). It's one of those experiences, much like having a root canal done, where you say to yourself afterwards, "Well, it's interesting to have done that, but I'm going to try hard not to do it again."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whoa, wait a bit!

"And speaking of Fawlty Towers, I remember well, if with some trepidation, a marathon on Boston (Massachusetts, not Lincolnshire)'s PBS station WGBH during Begging Week, where they got hold of the whole set of Fawlty Towers and showed it back-to-back (OK, with begging slots in between, but you get the idea, right?)."

Well, that PBS station clearly needs to optimize its fund-raising ... when I was in "silicon valley" one of the local PBS stations seemed to have the habit of break off from a show mid-way through and cut to the fundraising host saying something like "I'm sure you're all desperate to see the rest of this show ... once we reach this hour's target of $5000 of support then we'll be straight back to it so phone in with your pledges now"

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Coat

"...it's hard to push 20th-century products into [..] (god forbid) Lexx"

Not that hard; the final series was set on 20th-century Earth.

I'll get my browncoat.

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Squeezing the last drops

This feels like the Dinosaur incumbent squeezing the last drops out of an outdated business model. I think they need to see the writing on the wall, and accept that the current way of doing business does not have much longer to run.

The future has to be the customer paying for content to be delivered at their own convenience. The BBC iPlayer is, I think, the best current example of this. However, Netflix, Amazon and even IMDb feel like they are circling like vultures over the carcasses of the old media executives.

Perhaps when the fat cats have taken their comfortable retirement packages and retired to the coast the inevitable truth will become clear that change is not in the hands of the traditional controlling centre, but will be driven by the consumer ourselves.

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Holmes

Re: Squeezing the last drops

This is to a large extent true, but for this to work, the content needs to be available legally at least as fast as the downloadable shows.

I could give you examples, but I think The Oatmeal does it best:

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

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Re: Squeezing the last drops

Yes, that Oatmeal comic is a good one. Like Mr Ray, I refuse to download illegally on principle,[1] but I did enjoy Mr Inman's tale of GoT-related woe.

I couldn't help but wonder, though, if the folks at HBO had decided to accept a degree of GoT piracy in delaying its authorized release in other media, on the theory that they'd make up for whatever profits they were foregoing in lost sales by letting the popularity of the series drive new subscriptions. Subscriptions are so much more profitable for them (they're pretty much pure profit, since the product has no marginal cost, once the infrastructure is built out; and they require positive action by the consumer to stop them from renewing automatically) that each addition to the subscriber base must be equivalent to a large number of foregone iTunes sales, for example.

Similarly, not making GoT available for immediate download or online viewing might eventually increase DVD sales - though that seems very hard to confirm or refute, making it rather a gamble.

And, as the Oatmeal comic suggests, GoT and other popular series could increase demand for HBO Go, which is subsidized by the cable provider and so represents another additional revenue stream for HBO.

So in this case, turning a blind eye to illegal GoT downloads, rather than trying to undercut them with legal sources, might be the optimal strategy for HBO. But I think it's an outlier, and for most programming I agree that providing legal alternatives is the more profitable approach.

[1] Primarily on the principle that I enjoy feeling morally superior, even - or especially - in matters of little consequence. I live an existence rich in smugness.

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Anonymous Coward

"we might even miss it when it's gone."

Not as much as the networks will miss their viewers when TV finally becomes unwatchable. It's not far off.

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"Not as much as the networks will miss their viewers when TV finally becomes unwatchable. It's not far off."

TV in the States was unwatchable ten years ago, due to the number of breaks. I dread to think how bad it's got now!

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TV in the States

not only is it unwatchabe..., but it's unwatchable in 480i

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Maybe I would have more sympathy if commercial content hadn't moved in the direction of less content and more advert breaks or if there was a minimum quality level for adverts (I think some adverts are actually really interesting or amusing to watch).

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I could see Microsoft making a bundle from this.

Rather than use their new technology patent to enforce content licensing, they could use it to make sure that there are people in front of the TV watching the adverts.

Of course, if I ever find myself living in such a dystopian future I'd probably never watch anything on TV ever again.

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Joke

Will we finally find out what kind of hair products Kai used to keep that thing on top of his head in place?

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Could herald TV's renaissance

> but logistically it's nonsense and a decision we might all live to regret.

It could also be the best thing to happen to TV since sliced bread advertisements.

Instead of having to write shows in 10 minute chunks, to be ad-break friendly, writers would have the freedom to produce, long, flowing scenes and to break the "action" into logical, rather than times, sections. It would allow programmes to break from from the staid, formulaic formats they presently have and to produce new, innovative patterns (providing the current, awful, level of TV writing can be kicked up a notch or ten). And it would allow a full 60 minues of programming per hour - as opposed to the current standard of 12 or 18 minutes of advertisements, that is de rigeur - and give the BBC a serious pause for thought.

Better yet, by requiring a better way of financing programmes, we might find that a true PAYG or subscription model comes into being. Where people only have to pay for the programmes they choose to watch, and continue watching. Rather than the hit and miss "half of everything we spend on advertising is wasted - but nobody knows which half" model we have at present - that just annoys and gives the audience a reason to switch channel.

Finally (and here's the controversial bit), by doing away with a large source of advertising, the average couch potato might not feel so pressured, or manipulated, into buying all the unnecessary garbage we currently get cajoled into thinking we must have, RIGHT NOW. Since most of the stuff we buy is imported, it'll have little affect on our industrial output (what's left of it), but could do wonders for our personal wealth. You never know, people might even start saving again.

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Re: Could herald TV's renaissance

Many networks don't give a shit about the indicated advert points and just run adverts cutting automatically into whatever happens to be on screen at the time. Not only is this exceedingly annoying and tend to ruin whatever is being shown, it's even more frustrating when 20s after the advert break a pre-set advert break transition comes in (i.e. scene change with pause - many shows have them).

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Anonymous Coward

".....automated eradication is the Shangri-La of the freetard viewer."

Rubbish! Sorry but we've watched TV for free since its inception (excl the licence fee). To make comment that we are all freetards now is ridiculous.

Mind you, I am reading El Reg! Most of the comments and stories made by the Reg hacks could only be considered as complete TOSH. (Just look at how many "apple is cool" stories they bleat out)

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed

I also took exception to the fact that I, a licence paying and VM subscriber am now apparently a 'freetard viewer' just because I do everything in my power to skip/delete/avoid adverts. If that be the case then long live the freetard viewer.

Automated eradication in the shangri-la of the VIEWER - full stop.

If automatically removing ads by an online service became illegal, then what would be next? Automatic removal at home on your PVR? Manual removal at home/skipping ads? Automatically removing ads on web-TV/video streaming sites (including proxy filters)? Removing ads on any web site that has media? Removing ads on any web site as 'text' is now considered media? Disabling plugins? Disabling javascript? - where would the law stop in order to FORCE us to see the adverts.

I am pleased this has been thrown out and stopped early.

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Happy

"Reg hacks... "apple is cool" stories they bleat out"

New here, are you?

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Anonymous Coward

The more I see the word Freetard mentioned the worse inpression I get from the author who prints these stories.

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I hope TV just dies and they turn off the transmitters.

Only need the internet. TV is BS.

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*you* only need the internet.

Others might prefer a different method of watching it.

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Re: *you* only need the internet.

Connect virtually any modern viewer to your TV (PC/PS3/Whatever) and you can watch TV using the internet. And you are still watching it on a device called a television. Not really much difference...

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Anonymous Coward

and in the places where we are still restricted to dial-up with no hope ever of BB

Still think it's a good idea do you?

your gran got internet has she?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: *you* only need the internet.

Hardly a television when it's legally called a 'Monitor' it has no tuner boards inside it.

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FAIL

"in the expectation that...

"...viewers will sit through the ads that pay for the programmes"

ITYM "the ads that pay their over-inflated salaries and bonuses which they got for paying over-inflated prices for sports coverage..."

Oh and HERE IS A COMMERCIAL BREAK!

Why do the idiots think that boosting the LOUDNESS on commercials is going to make someone *more* likely to buy a product? If you've been watching a quiet programme and then someone comes on SHOUTING at you to buy something, what are you going to do? Buy it? Or mute/ skip/ go and make a cup of tea until the idiot has gone away...?

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MJI
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Re: "in the expectation that...

If it goes loud I just mute, normally FF through just to catch the rare better advert.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "in the expectation that...

You mute them? How dare you mute them!

Muting commercials could be the end of TV as we know it!

/sarc

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