back to article Movie, TV ads annoying? You ain't seen nothin' yet

Digital-content producers, distributors, broadcasters, and advertising firms are developing new strategies about how to monetize movies and TV shows in a world in which consumers want their content for free, skip past ads on their DVRs, and despite high-profile efforts to stop them, still find piracy an attractive option. " …

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  1. Oninoshiko

    I don't dislike this. I'm one of the handful of people who actually LIKEs ads. I don't like the disruption they cause though. Product placement could be the happy medium that allows commercial-free, gratis content, without resorting to taxation to pay for it.... as long as it doesn't get too creepy and weird. Some of the speculation in this article is treading on thin ice in that regard.

    1. Vimes

      Product placement can however get a little over the top from time to time.

      Have you ever noticed the way in which they always focus on the phones and tablets in Hawaii-Five-0 when the characters use them? (you can clearly see that Windows or Windows Phone of some sort is in use the whole time).

      One example:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfHuZ5qrYX4&feature=youtu.be

      And don't get me started about NCIS and NCIS:LA. There's one where you have the director supposedly - and rather laughably - using SkyDrive to store what the he says are 'sensitive files'. There's another where Abbey conveniently got a tax refund and spends it on getting ipods for everybody (that they all just happen to be using at the start of the episode). The less said about an episode of CSI:NY where a Macbook is taken as evidence and conveniently shown off from every possible angle the better...

      Oh, and where taxation is concerned who do you think pay for the ads? The corporations. How can they afford to do this? By charging their customers more. Who are their customers? Us.

      We all end up paying one way or another. Hasn't it crossed some people's minds that perhaps this is one of the least efficient ways of funding a program and introduces more middlemen that suck away the funding?

      1. Vimes

        IOW we end up paying for the privilege of being force fed advertising *during* programs paid for with our money that we have often already paid somebody else to watch in the first place (glances in Sky's direction).

      2. Vimes

        One last thought: but if programs are going to be ruined by placements then what motivation will there be to actually go out and pay for the DVD/bluray boxsets? I can get adverts for free if I was that desperate to have them thanks, and I'm certainly not willing to pay what can sometimes end up being large amounts of money just so that some advertiser can reach me a little more easily.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Because by inserting the ads at runtime - they can then make the DVDs ad freeso you are more likely to buy them

          1. paulc
            WTF?

            you honestly believe they'll leave DVDs & BluRays alone!!!

            poppycock...

            this technology gives them the means to stuff DVDs full of region specific ads and recyle the ads every year as they re-release it in slightly different packages...

            They ain't gonna let this opportunity slip past...

            we already suffer "unskippable" trailers and other rubbish in DVDs...

            1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

              Re: you honestly believe they'll leave DVDs & BluRays alone!!!

              It isn't going to matter much for anyone wearing Google's glasses. It's only a matter of time before they overlay ads onto your own front door. No need to watch anything, they'll serve it up before your eyes anyway. Why do you think Google is developing self driving cars? The windscreen is a great place to toss ads when you don't need to watch where you're going.

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Devil

          You kind of have it backwards...

          Based on the image in the article, it seems that the real problem is not new material but old stuff. Now not only will old shows be mangled to allow for more commercials, they will be themselves altered to allow for product placement. You may see brands in the Huxtable brownstone that aren't available anywhere near Brooklyn.

          That there seems to be a good reason to avoid video streaming entirely.

          Buy pristine copies of stuff when you can, skip everything else.

          Next thing you know there will be product placements for TESLA in Downton Abbey.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: You kind of have it backwards...

            Based on the image in the article, it seems that the real problem is not new material but old stuff. Now not only will old shows be mangled to allow for more commercials, they will be themselves altered to allow for product placement. You may see brands in the Huxtable brownstone that aren't available anywhere near Brooklyn"

            That reminds me of a character in Arthur C. Clarke's 1990 novel "Ghost from the Grand Banks" who's job was removing the cigarettes and attendant smoke from old films, eg Casablanca, ie "sanitising" them for a modern audience who would be shocked by seeing people smoking.

            1. Gio Ciampa

              Re: You kind of have it backwards...

              Already happening for real - I recall from somewhere (possibly QI) that there are modern versions of the Abbey Road sleeve art where Paul no longer has a cigarrette in his hand

        3. The Envoy
          Pirate

          They'll fix that, no problem

          I am pretty sure you'll be able to buy different verions of movies etc were you get to pay a premium price to get the version not soiled by ads.

          At least this looks like an excuse for Mr Lucas to remaster and re-re-release the Star Wars saga at least a couple more times...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They'll fix that, no problem

            Did you miss the update? Lucas sold the rights to the Star Wars franchise to Disney. I presume if he tries to make another one, he'll get sued by Goofy.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: They'll fix that, no problem

            "I am pretty sure you'll be able to buy different verions of movies etc were you get to pay a premium price to get the version not soiled by ads."

            What makes you think that? I don't see many websites offering any form of "premium" access without ads or being forced to choose between no access or giving up your details to be sold on or to spam you rather than pay a small amount for clean, secure, ad-free access.

            No, this is simply yet another way to increase revenue. You are the product, not the customer. The customer is the advertiser. You are are sold to the advertiser by the content producer.

          3. Vimes

            Re: They'll fix that, no problem

            ...or they could make sure that future disc standards - assuming there are any - include the requirement to always have an internet connection available when viewing the content. That way the advertising could be continually updated.

            Of course this doesn't sound like a good idea, but then neither does forcing online play in games when it's apparently not required (*cough*SimCity*cough*).

          4. skeptical i
            WTF?

            Re: They'll fix that, no problem

            Product placement in _Star Wars_? Bottles of Jack Daniels and Yagermeister in the cantina scene? I plead poverty of the imagination, I'm not sure how this would work.

            1. Vimes

              Re: They'll fix that, no problem

              Product placement in _Star Wars_? Bottles of Jack Daniels and Yagermeister in the cantina scene? I plead poverty of the imagination, I'm not sure how this would work.

              ...For some reason I can't shake the image of a scene from the Family Guy spoof of Star Wars, with one of the star destroyers passing by to reveal a large 'Bush/Cheney' bumper sticker. A quick search on Google reveals this:

              http://www.crisdias.com/wp-content/images/2007/09/family_guy_blue_harvest_star_destroyer.jpg

              There will always be exceptions, and Star Wars may well end up being one, but that won't stop this from being used elsewhere when it does make sense.

              Of course some creative editing might not be so bad if done properly. I'd be more than prepared to accept the adverts in Star Wars for example if they found a way of permanently erasing Jar jar binks from the films as part of this process...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @vimes

        While I agree that the price of the advertised product will rise to pay for the advertising, there is nothing to force the viewer to buy that product instead of a cheaper product that has been less advertised.

        In that case, it is other people who pay for the advertising. I count that as a win.

        1. Nuke
          Meh

          @mutatedwombat - Re: @vimes

          Wrote :- "there is nothing to force the viewer to buy that product instead of a cheaper product that has been less advertised"

          I tend to do exactly that. Like I recently bought a Black & Decker pressure spray rather than a Karcher because I know that a big part of the Karcher's cost is for its heavy advertising rather than its quality.

          However :-

          1) it is a bit unavoidable, as most brands advertise, albeit B&D less than Karcher in this case.

          2) the less advertised brands will also raise their price, having seen that their rivals' advertising has raised the cost expectations of the general public.

          1. BLAM!
            Facepalm

            Re: @mutatedwombat - @vimes

            Easily avoided mate - don't pay full price for anything. Ever.

            Wait for the end-of-season, then strike. We all need to be paying less for everything. Nothing is worth what its shelf ticket claims. And advertising has nothing to do with quality of product either. Do your research, run a wide-ranging price comparison, choose your purchase price limit, and wait until the next relevant sale.

            I'm astonished that people still pay full price for absolutely anything - in some cases even chasing credit to pay for lightspeed depreciation and obsolescence. Crazy.

      4. Mr Spock

        NCIS:LA

        On the end credits you'll see 'Sponsored in part by Microsoft Corporation'.

        This is actually precisely what Microsoft do not want. Unfortunately the product placement is so over the top, they're obliged to say it out loud.

      5. YesBut

        Not to mention, they get to write off the advertising as an expense, so they really don't pay much at all - we do.

    2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      How advertising is paid for.

      You sai it., pal. If you think the TV licence is unfair, it is as nothing compared to commercial, ad funded TV. We ALL pay for this, EVEN IF WE DONT HAVE A TV!

      If I recall correctly, the UK TV advertising revenue for a year, divided by the number of households is about £165 per household. Irrespective of TV ownership

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: How advertising is paid for.

        I'm not siding with the big, bad admen here, but it's not clear whether things cost more or less as a result of advertising.

        Proponents of advertising would claim that it creates more efficient markets and allows economies of scale. The problem is that it's hard to find comparable markets with no advertising. The Communist economies of the 20th century come close, but they suffered from so many other structural defects.

        What's almost certain is that it's nearly impossible for a producer to expand beyond a small local market without advertsing. And you don't have to be Adam Smith to recognise that if you buy, say breakfast cereal, from a two-man concern that just supplies your village, you're going to pay a lot more for it. And you're going to have to do without a lot of other products that can't be manufactured at all on a small scale.

        1. Vimes

          Re: How advertising is paid for. @Kubla Cant

          What's almost certain is that it's nearly impossible for a producer to expand beyond a small local market without advertsing

          Except that CBS, ABC, Fox and others are hardly small local businesses, nor are they the only mediums through which advertising can be used.

          In many cases most things would be acceptable in moderation. Personally I can accept that advertising is one of these things. The problem I have is that the industry as a whole seem to have lost any concept of moderation (don't believe me? just look at this website). If this wasn't the case then there would not be any demand for things like AdBlock or DVRs that can skip ad breaks.

          Having the advertising industry trying to castrate DNT by classifying 3rd party cookies as 1st party cookies so they can continue as if nothing has changed is a good demonstration of how divorced they are from the reality that their clients/audience/marks [delete as appropriate] are forced to live in. Ads inserted into video are just as bad IMO.

          If the advertising industry could just accept - amongst other things - that 'no means no' then they might find that they have less of an issue of people skipping ads or following similar courses of action to try and block said advertising.

          (incidentally I hope nobody here is expecting the ICO to help protect them - https://nodpi.org/2013/03/25/the-ico-are-google/)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Bill Hicks on Marketing ..

      Bill Hicks on Marketing

    4. Mr Spock

      > I don't dislike this. I'm one of the handful of people who actually LIKEs ads. I don't like the disruption they cause though.

      OK, maybe they should show them only in places where nobody can see them. Kind of like they want to do with political demonstrations!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Advertisiers are like.....

      10,000 and one people trying to stick their finger up your arse when you try to take a shit.

      There are only X food products that I usually buy, Y clothing that I wear, and Z consumables I need to run my life...

      So if IDIOT from the advertising Co, can justify to me, why the adds they place everywhere, outnumber the average persons needs by about 200,000 to 1.....

      Like my good friend Bob Earl said, "I have to write a script that contains a murder, for the suspense, so people stay tuned to the TV during the add break, just so some fucking arseholes can sell some fucking douche."

      So the average person sees something like 20,000 murders on TV, by the time they hit 18....

      Fuck the advertisers.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    A marketing eye exam.

    Extremely distracting! If that flashing blue outline is actually part of this approach, then you will have to dvr everything just to go back and watch what you should of been watching...but missed.

    From bad to worse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A marketing eye exam.

      I'm quite sure the flashing blue outline is not part of this approach. They are simply using it to point out to their intended audience (studio executives, presumably) where they have inserted their example advertising.

      Actual use will be more subliminal (except in the case of Microsoft, of course).

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: A marketing eye exam.

        Odd that M$ keeps getting targeted as a culprit here, cos it seems to me the good guys ALWAYS have mac gear.

        I guess i need to pay more attention to the product placement and less to the narrative (where there is a narrative)

        1. Vimes

          Re: A marketing eye exam. @Naughtyhorse

          Perhaps because Microsoft make sure that their product placements are amongst the most cringe-worthy that I personally have ever seen? ('cringe-worthy' incidentally being a term that seems to be used time and time again when I was searching for examples - which just goes to show how poorly Microsoft's efforts are viewed by others)

          More examples:

          http://www.thatvideosite.com/v/6766/the-most-cringe-worthy-microsoft-product-placement-youll-ever-see

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyRZ03SFB68

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyaHar9F8QY&feature=player_embedded#!

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=talcGAOj9YQ&feature=player_embedded ('I binged it' - seriously?)

          Personally I would have thought that less obvious efforts would be more effective - the moment people know that they are watching an advert is the moment it loses much of it's usefulness.

  3. Euripides Pants Silver badge

    No Thanks

    If this gets too obvious I'll just stop watching anything.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Thanks

      If this gets too obvious I'll just stop watching anything.

      I was thinking the same thing. I shall just read more books instead. Then I had a horrible thought about what would happen to books if we all stopped watching TV.

      1. VinceH Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: No Thanks

        "Then I had a horrible thought about what would happen to books if we all stopped watching TV."

        There's a trilogy by Mira Grant called The NewsFlesh Trilogy. I've read the first, Feed. I sort of enjoyed it, but I won't progress to the second and third books because everywhere any kind of technology was mentioned in the first, it's Apple-this and Apple-that. This is nothing to do with my general dislike of all-things Apple, and simply because it actually *felt* like excessive brand placement IN A BOOK.

        (Brand rather than product because most of the actual Apple-things mentioned do not exist.)

        In most, if not all cases, wherever Apple [product name] was mentioned, [product name] would have done just fine.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: No Thanks

        Then I had a horrible thought about what would happen to books if we all stopped watching TV."

        I have a few American printed/published paperback books which I've picked up from second hand book shops over the years which have advert pages in them. I've no idea how prevalent that is (or was, these are 30-40 year old SF books) but it's not a new idea. I'd be more worried about the content of e-books, especially when we start seeing books published exclusively in e-book format.

    2. Rafael 1
      Unhappy

      Re: No Thanks

      Just wondering which kind of product placement they'll add to movies/series like Star Wars, The Hobbit, Game of Thrones, Avatar?

      Mmmm, middle-earth Pepsi, my preccioussssss

  4. Magani
    Meh

    Audience or client?

    "...advertising more compelling and deliver more value to the audience,"...

    I suspect the last word is supposed to be 'client'.

    While there have been genuinely entertaining ads in the past, they are few and far between. The industry has a long way to go before I'll subject myself to having to watch imbedded ads as well as the ones every 10 minutes on commercial TV.

    Oz readers only: Bring back Gruen Planet! The most entertaining part of advertising on TV.

    1. Nuke

      @Magani - Re: Audience or client?

      Wrote :- "While there have been genuinely entertaining ads in the past, they are few and far between"

      Agreed. But it is incredible how much and how long the same ones are repeated, until I am so sick of them that I vow never to buy that particular brand of krap ever again. Some of the same adverts go on for years. Does it really cost that much (compared with the air-time) to make new ones?

      I am thinking in particular of that fat opera singer advertising insurance or something, and those two 1970's retro fairies advertising 118, whatever that is. I don't know what they are about as I turn the sound off and continue reading a book during the adverts - suprised at how much I read that way.

      1. Magani
        Pint

        Re: @Magani - Audience or client?

        @ Nuke said:- as I turn the sound off and continue reading a book during the adverts

        Nuke, I am impressed by your dedication to watching TV with ads. I have given up and source my viewing pleasure from among the following:

        * ABC (Oz version of BBC - station ID & endless promos only)

        * SBS (Another public broadcaster but seemingly with fewer and LESS-SHOUTY ads than the commercial.stations)

        * PVR if there's something I (or more importantly, Mrs Magani) absolutely, positively have to see on a commercial channel so I can skip the ads

        * BT channel for other stuff that was probably on a commercial channel and had previously escaped my attention, or more likely never got to the Greater Antipodes at all.

        To all ad agencies reading this - I am not your target audience and never will be. I cannot remember when an ad on TV, at the movies, on a billboard or in a magazine caused me to make a purchasing deciding.

        Nuke, have a tipple of your choice to aid your reading!

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: @Magani - Audience or client?

          "To all ad agencies reading this - I am not your target audience and never will be. I cannot remember when an ad on TV, at the movies, on a billboard or in a magazine caused me to make a purchasing deciding."

          caused me to consciously make a purchasing deciding.

          There. Fixed that for you. You're probably the perfect advertising target. We all are, to some extent.

          There was a discussion recently (was in this august website?) about the future of adverts being 5-10 seconds long as most people have got the gist of it by then, especially the younger "techy" generation who are hopping about all over the web doing multiple task at the same time. YouTube bring up the "Skip this ad" close button after 5-10 seconds being the prime example.

        2. kissingthecarpet
          Trollface

          Re: @Magani - Audience or client?

          Advertising is far more about brand awareness than it is about specific buying decisions. A lot of people will buy a product because they've "heard of the company" that makes it rather than one made by they haven't. Especially if price isn't a huge issue for them.

          And if it is, then the ads probably weren't targeted at them anyway.

          Retroactively inserting ads into old content is an obscene idea - I'd go totally apeshit if ads were inserted into the aforementioned Casablanca. I think it would bother me far more than, say, the Pope & the Queen being gang-raped by baboons on live TV as a comparison*

          *In fact I'd probably pay to see that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They are the sickest, twisted bunch of people I've ever seen!

    Enough said!

  6. Esskay

    A little bit I don't mind

    As long as it's used to substitute TV ads, rather than simply in addition to them, I don't mind, and as long as it's not obvious or intrusive (the pickup truck in the video was obvious, the fake TV behind the stand up guy was intrusive).

    It's also ironic that a lot of producers are required to pay ridiculous amounts of money/jump through hoops to get clearance to use or even make reference to brands in movies, but now they're spending money trying to get their products back in to the movies...

    And what happens if (for example) Ford paid huge sums of money to get their cars into a movie, and the film then airs on TV with GM ads and billboards everywhere? I'm fairly certain Ford won't be too happy, unless there are guarantees that can be made about the types/brands that are used in the ads, I can see traditional product placement disappearing - in effect, nothing changes, and no extra money is made.

    1. VinceH Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: A little bit I don't mind

      "And what happens if (for example) Ford paid huge sums of money to get their cars into a movie, and the film then airs on TV with GM ads and billboards everywhere?"

      And that's where it all falls down.

      Product placement in a film brings money in to the production, and therefore helps it to get made in the first place.

      Digital product placement in a broadcast film brings money to the broadcaster, or perhaps to whoever is licensing it to them. The hype surrounding this approach suggests this means better value for the audience, which suggests that advertising income means less cost to the consumer - so our Sky/Virgin Media subscriptions will be cheaper, will they? Yeah, right! But anyway, I've sidetracked...

      As you've said, the digital product placement in the broadcast version might very well run counter to the actual product placement in the production itself. This is likely to result in large brands not willing pay so much for actual product placement, or possibly even not bother with it at all, which could mean less money being spent on the production itself.

      One way around this would be for companies like MirriAd to step in at production time, and where Big Brand might have paid the producers to place their goods in the viewers' line of sight, MirriAd pays them to keep a nice big space for them to digitally add shit later. And in that scenario, nothing's really changed other than the method by which product placement is done - and no saving to be passed on to the viewing audience (which won't happen anyway).

      Actually, in that scenario one thing might change: By leaving space open for digital placement, I suppose that space could be argued as being worth more (since they could sell the space again and again and again), so the likes of MirriAd could be expected to stump up more for it in the first place - and that would mean more money coming into the production, so we get better quality films etc. (And then I woke up...)

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: A little bit I don't mind

      If I'm following this correctly, it will be filmed with a generic car which will transform itself into a Ford / Ferarri / Tata Nano depending on what it thinks your demographic is.

    3. Naughtyhorse
      FAIL

      Re: A little bit I don't mind

      "As long as it's used to substitute TV ads"

      as if!

  7. Paul 87

    I'm frustrated and annoyed that advertisers are all focusing on "targeted" adverts, because they all rely on Orwellian levels of surveillance to be able to gather the information needed to target them in the first place. It's downright creepy and instrusive that not only am I expected to give a damn about whatever piece of consumerist crap that is being thrust upon me, they expect to know every single detail about my preferences, all harvested from spying on me.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      I still dont get targetted advertising.

      OK, I do a bit of scooting around on the interwebs, find the widget I want and order it. Why should I then be interedted in any more widgets? Hullo, I have one, I know where I bought it, I know who sold it to me and I know how to find them. Now just piss off.

      The same goes for being bombarded with catalogues from some idiot who thinks that, because I bought a widget from their catalogue/site/whatever, I will have an urge to buy more of what he sells. Hullo: Piss off.

      As for James Bond ditching martinis to drink near frozen gnats urine; good luck to him. He's just ditched another vestige of the style that created him and taken a step towards becoming a mere yob. Can you imagine the degree to which the characters image would have failed, had it been started in the very first place as a larger swilling pugilist?

      1. Nuke
        Headmaster

        @Inventor of the Marmite Laser - Re: I still dont get targetted advertising.

        Wrote :- "As for James Bond ditching martinis to drink near frozen gnats urine; good luck to him. He's just ditched another vestige of the style that created him"

        Until this, there were a number of things James Bond never did :-

        Drink beer (until now)

        Wait for a bus (Drove one in Live & Let Die, rode one in Quanum of Solace but did not need to wait)

        Cook

        Go to the loo (sat on one in Diamond are for Ever, but did not use it)

        Ride a pedal bike

        Do painting and decorating

        Need to look for a parking space

        Do house maintenance

        Read a book

        Do gardening

        Clear up behind him

  8. David 45

    Crikey, chaps

    I hardly watch any telly anyway here in the UK (rubbish production values, so-called "arty" shaky camera-work and constantly repeated shots in what are supposed to be factual documentaries etc.) and my consumption will probably drop to zero if any more ads start being force-fed over the ether. Dawkins preserve us!

  9. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    FAIL

    one unarguable advantage of MirriAd's method

    Is that having identified their use, one can safely never watch their programmes again.

    Long live the advert-free BBC! <-- did you spot the subtle product placement there?

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: one unarguable advantage of MirriAd's method

      Ad free? What are those Facebook and Twitter buttons doing there?

  10. Detective Emil
    Angel

    Pre-roll ads?

    I can't recall ever having seen a pre-roll ad on YouTube. Wonder what I'm doing right to be so blessed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pre-roll ads?

      « I can't recall ever having seen a pre-roll ad on YouTube. Wonder what I'm doing right to be so blessed. »

      You might be in a place where Google has low market penetration, like myself. I fucking love it. :)

  11. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
    Unhappy

    I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      « I don't want to live on this planet anymore. »

      Talk to Mr. Musk, see if he has any room for you in his Red Dragon capsule.

  12. dave 93
    Happy

    Clever people make. Clever people break!

    If you can use 'processing power' to insert branded crap, it is only a matter of time before someone writes a 'plug-in' that uses your computer and a library of brand images to remove the branded crap and replace it with cute kittens, or whatever.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Clever people make. Clever people break!

      I think it'd be more than a little bit disturbing watching somebody blend a smoothie using a kitten, or drinking a kitten...

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Clever people make. Clever people break!

        I'd buy that for a dollar!

      2. skeptical i
        Thumb Up

        [m]ad-libs [was: Clever people make. Clever people break!]

        This'd be fun:

        1) Player plugin scans through viddie for product logos, tallies and numbers them.

        2) Gives viewer substitution options before the movie starts:

        2a) s/$any_advert/$substitute_image/ig; (e.g., all logos become a kitten, '53 Buick, cowboy boot, coffee cup, &c), OR

        2b) presents a numbered list of the adverts, e.g., 1. Coca-cola, 2. Apple, 3. Ford, &c (or a breakout of ads by quantity, e.g., seven Cokes, five Apple, two Ford) and allow the viewer to do specific swaps, e.g., s/Coca-cola/dish soap/ig; s/Ford/kitten/ig; and so on, OR

        2c) state how many spaces there are and let the viewer shove in substitute images wherever, e.g., all even spaces get a kitten; five coffee cups, then a cowboy boot, two kittens, another coffee cup, or whatever order the viewer wants

        3) Plays viddie.

        Given what the movie houses are cranking out, this could be the best part.

    2. Ocular Sinister

      Re: Clever people make. Clever people break!

      Or you block mirrorad.com at your firewall...

      1. dssf

        Re: Clever people make. Clever people break!

        Do that and the headend's ad insertion team will just lag-out or introduce jitter, artefacts, and ghosting to your show at algorithm-calculated intervals. They'll just Pavlov you. Good behavior gets you a doggie treat. Bad behavior punishes you doggie style.

        As for targetted, embeded advertising, I actually thought this story was about the viewer's name being inserted in a portion of the screen, serving the dual purpose of deterring copying and distributing of the show, although there could be watermarking and IP addressing and content subscriber's names for court case purposes...

        As for advert-free DVDs, they'll probably someday require a minimum monthly connection to a live server, so that push-adverts can change the disc's unlock code, which won't unlock until the user's cam and mic are on, demanding interactive feedback before the featured program is allowed to play. Ah, but you only watch your DVDs on a plane? Well, your media-playing device will have to be equipped with a barometer, pitot tube, and sextant to prove it, 2 of which most passengers will not be allowed to carry onboard into the seating area...

    3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Clever people make. Clever people break!

      My first thought exactly, though I see it more like a crowd-sourcing thing more than an algorithmic thing: a "network" provides data on where these dynamic-or pre-existing-product placements are, and your player filters them out and replaces them with "Acme" or something nondescript.

      [Beer icon] of course some things are better left un-messed with. I'm off to rewatch "Ice Cold in Alex" ... Worth waiting for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You're only supposed to blow the bloody froth off!

        "...of course some things are better left un-messed with. I'm off to rewatch "Ice Cold in Alex" ... Worth waiting for..."

        And therein lies the rub. I despise advertising, with a passion —will never ever even look at one, if I can possibly help it. Yet two of my favourite classic old films are: "Ice Cold in Alex" and "The Italian Job", both of which it could be argued are product placement vehicles. The former for Carlsberg, the latter for the Mini Cooper.

        Somehow though, it seems incidental to the storyline in both of those. But then both were made back in the days before the subtle hint gave way to hysterical, repeated shouting in your face, as society's preferred means of communication.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. John Tserkezis

    It's all down to the Ads:Content ratio.

    Ads pay for the content to be delivered, but people only tune in to watch content.

    If you overdo it with the ads, no-one watches.

    If you have all content, you have impressive ratings, but you need to work out how to pay for it by other means.

    If they're complaining that people aren't willing to pay as things are, how is increasing the ad:content ratio going to help things? I can only see things getting worse.

    1. John Bailey

      Re: It's all down to the Ads:Content ratio.

      "If they're complaining that people aren't willing to pay as things are, how is increasing the ad:content ratio going to help things? I can only see things getting worse."

      Same as Hollywood's answer to being bled dry by pirates.. Make more expensive movies.

      Seriously though. I think the idea is to put them in there in a way you don't notice. Or in a way the advertising industry thinks you will put up with.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (parasites)

    Mirriad is simply a sentient tapeworms' collective desperately trying to explain to us why they should have space to lodge in our guts. Expel them and move on, I say.

  16. ACx

    ENOUGH ALREADY

    People here are total morons.

    BBC licence fee comes up, you complain.

    Sky charge subscriptions, you complain.

    You get ad breaks, you complain.

    You get pay per view again, you complain.

    Now all there is left is product placement, and guess what? The El Reg moronosphere complains yet again.

    You stupid people seem to think this stuff gets made for free, and expect to get if for free.

    Yeah, I like to download TV shows. I want these shows the way I want them. I;d rather torrent than watch live with ad breaks. Product placement is the only system that is left. How else do you all think TV shows or even movies can be financed? Bloody fairies?

    Either damn well pay up, or accept that some how they need us to see these ads. This is me is a decent solution. What matters is that it does not influence the script. If sticking some product placement means I can go over to Fox.com and download their latest shows for free, then fan-bloody-tastic.

    But for god's sake, give these people a break. TV, etc, does NOT get made for free. Right now, the this is the only solution that can pay for content while delivering it for free.

    What would be rank offensive is if we get this product placement added to content we already pay for via ad breaks, sponsorship, subscription or licence fee.

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

      @Acx

      >>What would be rank offensive is if we get this product placement added to content we already pay for via ad breaks, sponsorship, subscription or licence fee.

      Which is exactly what is going to happen.

      I got rid of my TV years ago because the adverts were driving me crazy. I just borrow DVDs from friends or the library. I will not buy any BlueRay equipment, it seems to me that it's yet another DRM nightmare.

      In the last year I bought just one DVD, for £5 from Asda.

      Note to producers: Stop making shows about zombies and/or serial killers. It is boring!

      With the exceptions of Shaun of the dead, Brain Dead and the Girl with the Dragon tattoo. AFAIR you only find out that the villain is a serial killer at the conclusion of the story.

      American re-makes of foreign films are almost always rubbish.

      </rant mode>

    2. John Tserkezis

      @ACx

      This situation is very similar to one that I keep bleating about security:

      Generally, the less secure something is, the more convenient it is for the user to use.

      The more secure something is, the less convenient is to use, to the point of pissing off the users.

      You need to find a nice balance, enough security, without pissing people off so much they simply don't use it.

      Likewise, if you overdo it by actively preventing people from dodging ads, they'll get pissed off.

      And the number one rule of business is: Don't piss off your customers - they might not come back.

      Something that's bleated to me about customers is, it's easy to keep an existing customer, but hard to get a new customer. If your actions are overly forcing the customers' hands, they leave, then good luck in finding new suckers^H^H^H customers.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      « ENOUGH ALREADY

      People here are total morons. »

      I spy an ideal targeted-ad candidate for "How to Make Friends and Influence People (2nd Ed.)".

      1. John Bailey
        Devil

        "I spy an ideal targeted-ad candidate for "How to Make Friends and Influence People (2nd Ed.)"."

        Or a Dignitas leaflet?

  17. OrsonX
    Facepalm

    The ads don't work

    But then I was going to buy SimCity after El Reg bombarded me with it.... perfectly targeted!

    However, I was then bombarded with SimCity is broken articles....., which undid all the original brain washing. So no longer gonna purchase.

    The ads do work (sometimes).

    1. LinkOfHyrule
      Joke

      Re: The ads don't work

      Sorry, but the title of your post reminded me of a song...

      "The ads don't work,

      They just make you worst,

      And I know I'll see your face again" hahaha

      Joking aside, how long will it be till these advertising dudes come up with vocal changing "solutions" to change the lyrics of well known songs in real time in order to flog us sugar water and other crap?

      1. Anonymous C0ward

        Re: The ads don't work

        Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol. C-c-c-c-c-coca cola!

        1. Cpt Blue Bear
          Thumb Up

          Re: The ads don't work

          Awesome. Feelgood Hit of the Summer popped into my head last week during a particularly boring meeting. I couldn't remember the order and didn't fancy searching for it (note the lack of a verbed brandname) as I was inside a corporate network controlled by lunatics. I'd probably have to submit a urine sample before they'd let into the building next time after that hit the filter.

          I think I'll turn off adblock, log into Google and try it now to see what effect it has their targeted ads. On second thoughts, I'll probably just get a series of full and fatuous anti-smoking ads rather than anything in any way entertaining.

        2. kissingthecarpet
          Mushroom

          Re: The ads don't work

          Funnily enough, the products mentioned in the original song don't require any advertising to sell very well. With the probable exception of nicotine. No-one(unless already addicted) would buy that if it were made illegal - it doesn't do anything except addict you.

          Feel Good Hit of the Summer

  18. grammarpolice

    Better value

    It seems to me that the advertisers are trying to tell me what is valuable to me.

    If the value in a film is the experience of seeing it as the director intended it to be viewed, and they have changed it so that this is no longer the case, then it has lost value to me.

    If the value in a film is how much it cost me to watch it, and I watch it for free or as part of my ordinary television subscription, then it has neither gained nor lost value in comparison to any other film without the advertising embedding that I watch through the same channel.

    So under what kind of scenario do I get better value?

  19. dave 93
    Meh

    Google Glass anyone?

    Then you can have targeted ads and virtual product placement - in your own home/office/whole life!

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Google Glass anyone?

      My policy of avoiding any tech invented after 1849 is looking better every year!

      <-- the one with Mr Fox-Talbot's 'Pencil of Nature' in the pocket, if you'd be so kind.

      1. Steven Roper
        Thumb Up

        Re: My policy of avoiding any tech invented after 1849

        So what did you use to post your comment then? Charles Babbage's Difference Engine?

  20. Pointer2null
    Thumb Up

    less annoying

    Much less annoying than having a 3 minute interruption in the middle of something.

    1. MrXavia
      Thumb Down

      Re: less annoying

      Depends on how it tracks you.... What if you have been searching for that perfect gift for your wife, then suddenly what you found is shown in your favourite program you watch together, she sees it and then buys it, gift giving gone.....

  21. heyrick Silver badge

    "I think we're on the brink of a massive change in the industry,"

    Some suggestions to help you on your way:

    * Region coding. Get rid of it. A film is a film. A TV series is a TV series. If you want to charge more in some markets than in others (especially if the cheaper market has more added features), that will be seen as unethical and people won't be so willing to be ethical in return.

    * Given the number of Bluray rips around, are you sure the DRM is doing anything useful? You might prevent father ripping a copy of a film to drop on his daughter's phone, but that was never going to be a big loss of money to the industry.

    * Get rid of that stupid "You wouldn't steal a thing" notice. Your studio execs might think that its a great way to promote the fight against piracy, you fail to understand how insulting it is to be force-fed this (you can't skip it) on a DVD that has been legally purchased.

    * How about affordable downloads? Affordable as in "the price of a cinema ticket". One that is a pick'n'mix selection and one that isn't hampered by artificial geographical boundaries. A film is a film.

    There's for starters.

    1. John Tserkezis

      Re: "I think we're on the brink of a massive change in the industry,"

      Get rid of that stupid "You wouldn't steal a thing" notice. Your studio execs might think that its a great way to promote the fight against piracy, you fail to understand how insulting it is to be force-fed this (you can't skip it) on a DVD that has been legally purchased.

      There's some sweet irony around that:

      <http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/01/29/3678851.htm>

      I've found a few links on this case, but the above is the most complete and interesting.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: "I think we're on the brink of a massive change in the industry,"

      > * Get rid of that stupid "You wouldn't steal a thing" notice.

      Nooo!

      It always reminds me of The IT Crowd and that always makes me laugh.

      Besides, its been years since I've watch a DVD on a player which doesn't skip straight to the film.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I think we're on the brink of a massive change in the industry,"

      "You wouldn't steal a thing"

      Technically, under English law, you would. In fact, you could not steal something which is "not a thing", as that would fail the "deprive legitimate owner from use" test.

    4. mickey mouse the fith

      Re: "I think we're on the brink of a massive change in the industry,"

      "* How about affordable downloads? Affordable as in "the price of a cinema ticket""

      Pfft, last film i saw at the flicks cost a tenner to get in and still had half a bloody hour of adverts. Weirdly, these adverts were the same ones shown on the telly, badly upscaled for the huge screen. The old cinema local business ads were at least entertaining in their crapness, these are just anger inducing (and very, very loud).

      As for this, the cosby show one and the pickup truck looked really bad and out of place, the rest looked ok for the most part. I think this has been going on for a few years now, I remember reading an article on Wired about how a shelf of dvd`s in the background of a few early how I met your mother episodes had their titles changed digitally to be more current when they were rebroadcast on American tv.

      What I worry about is the fact that changing images in scenes detracts from the directors original vision and messes up the context of the scene, especially the timeframe its set in. On a related note, look at how the dvd releases of wkrp in cincinnati are ruined by the removal of all the original music due to idiotic copyright issues. I fear the same will happen to any film/tv series that has this ad insertion performed upon it every time it is rebroadcast/rereleased.

    5. Mostor Astrakan

      Re: "I think we're on the brink of a massive change in the industry,"

      Actually, someone pointed out to me that DRM isn't necessarily an off-switch for the end-user, but for the publishers. While we the public can get away with circumventing DRM, a company can hardly start selling pirated copies. So from that perspective, DRM is working just fine.

      Though the background music for the "You wouldn't stomp on a kitten" annoyance is said to be used with less than fully complete rights to do so. So the "Unless it's ME doing it" clause seems to be in full effect.

  22. Jim Carter

    Intrusive advertising really pisses me off

    Hence a love of adblock and noscript, and pop-up blockers up the wazoo. However if product placement is done properly to the point you don't notice it, then nothing wrong with it. Otherwise it can go die in a fire with other intrusive methods of advertising.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I prefer this...

    I'd actually prefer this to the current drivel. If you walk down any high street in the world there are billboards, if you sit in any home there are products on display - I don't think it'll be too in your face - we see it all the time anyway.

    As for the subliminal side of things, a bit of willpower will convince you that you don't really need that new Ladyshave anyway....

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: I prefer this...

      Unfortunately, it's a progressive disease. Once the ad placements become common place in TV/films, there'll be pressure from the companies to make their product "pop", so that viewers will notice it more... dynamic compression to make the product's name "clearer" when spoken by a character, a product in the background being higher focus than it's surroundings, and even crap like the highlight that was shown around the products in the demo.

      It's a slippery slope, and the end result is every show turning into a series of Max Headroom's blipverts, connected by a tenous storyline.

      Welcome To The Future Of The Corporate Paradise!

    2. Nuke
      Holmes

      Re: I prefer this...

      As Captain DaFt said, it won't stop at that background stuff. Next, the characters will be explicitly recommending it.

      Like James Bond will say "Vodka Martini - and make sure it's Vladivar vodka!" or Capatin Kirk will say "These guys are the pick of the Klingon Imperial Guard, they can only be taken down with genuine Apple iPhasers!"

      1. John Bailey

        Re: I prefer this...

        Ohh.. I can see it now..

        " I canne give ye moor power.. the engines are bein held wrrrong.. !

  24. john.w
    Meh

    This is, as usual, all about how well it is implemented, in the example the posters looked good but 3D objects jarred a bit as they look fake. If they use it in the same way US TV programs have animated ads for the following program, just as the current program reaches its climax/conclusion, will be very distracting. It will be interesting when this tech is combined with the face creation as featured in the Nvidia article.

  25. John Doe 12
    Joke

    Plenty Of "Mirri" Sounds GREAT!!

    I for one would certainly like to see more advertisements for "mirri" on t.v. For those of you who don't speak Finnish - K.V.G (Google translator) and you will get the joke :D

  26. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    FAIL

    Hey, I stopped reading on the first line because of asshattery.

    "consumers want their content for free"

    Consumers want their content actually available, unencumbered, not with forced, non-skippable ad stuffing, reasonably priced, easily accessible, re-accessible "going forward" and not delivered in a way that makes them feel like the victims of particular special hazing by the thought police.

    Consumers also set the price.

    How hard is this to grok?

    For people particularly hard in understanding: I TRIED TO WATCH GAME OF THRONES AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Hey, I stopped reading on the first line because of asshattery.

      Really? So that's why in an era where main music sellers are selling music in non-DRM MP3 format, people have stopped pirating music?

      Pirates will not stop simply because the content will run on all their devices because most pirates don't care about DRM any more than most paying consumers do.

      Stop trying to justify why you're crusading for what's right, rather than just stealing. If it was the former you would pirate an 'open' version and then give a fair price to the author/publisher, or even to charity. But you don't, because you're a thief looking to justify it.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Hey, I stopped reading on the first line because of asshattery.

        "But you don't, because you're a thief looking to justify it."

        I really don't like this baseless accusation that gets thrown around a lot. Don't like stupid copyright/patent terms? Don't like insane DRM? YOU MUST BE A THIEF!

        Let's not even start on how making a copy of something is not stealing it whether you have permission or not.

        Instead I'll just say that the Oatmeal guy is spot on the money here, and I would really, really like you to attempt to fling that accusation of theft at me. As this rather small sample of my total library shows, I could do with a laugh.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Hey, I stopped reading on the first line because of asshattery.

        > But you don't, because you're a thief looking to justify it.

        Gee, you think JDX?

        You, however, are just another hole in the wall emitting noises on the Internet and know nothing of me.

        Have a NICE day.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Hey, I stopped reading on the first line because of asshattery.

          Looks like I touched a nerve.

          1. M Gale

            Re: Hey, I stopped reading on the first line because of asshattery.

            Apology accepted.

            That was an admission that you're wrong, right?

            Right.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do adverts really work in this age of search engines and reviews sites?

    What is advertising revenue at the end of the day, is it companies paying other companies to tell us how great their product is.

    Sure, there's an art to it and some adverts are very creative. But it seems to me that the actual message is lost within all of the creativity.

    We all know that a car advert is going to show a car driving around deserted roads with the slim attractive driver having a smile on their face when the reality is that they'll be in a queue on the M25 looking fat and angry.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      «We all know that a car advert is going to show a car driving around deserted roads with the slim attractive driver having a smile on their face when the reality is that they'll be in a queue on the M25 looking fat and angry.»

      True. Bit like the aeroplane safety videos where there is only ever three passengers on the whole plane: a successful middle-aged professional, an attractive young lady, and a cute little kid.

  28. Don Jefe
    Holmes

    Personalized Content

    If I've spent the past weeks looking for the perfect black double dong with which to surprise my wife and then watch Mary Poppins is there a chance that an 'Ebony Double Lover with 1hp Vibrating Tips" will show up in Ms. Poppins purse?

    It could be a fun game too! Manipulate searches to get the most inappropriate ad placements possible & upload the videos.

    I do wonder about protecting characters identities though. Surely there will be mistakes in the algorithms that result in more realistic but equally embarrassing scenarios like I described above. Will the character owner be able to sue if Ms. Poppins is shown with an inappropriate product?

    What about political campaigning? Could they slip 'Rubio Right Wing Republican Refreshment Water' (or whatever he's calling it) into the shows?

  29. Connor

    Content for free?

    Somehow I don't see them giving stuff away for free instead it will be added on top of everything else. We'll still have to pay for the content, we'll still have advert breaks, we'll still have product placements and also this new technology too. This is an additional source of revenue for the content providers and of no value to the consumer whatsoever.

    Indeed as others have pointed out, why are content providers still relying on adverts when consumers WANT to pay? Take Game of Thrones for example. It cost $60 million to make the first series, yet it made $33 million back in DVD sales in the US alone in less than six months, despite the fact that barely anyone watched it on TV and it was also one of the most pirates TV shows ever. It seems that content providers have the whole dynamic wrong.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Dropper
    Pint

    Necessary Evil

    Unless we want to go the way of subscribed services for everything - and believe me that will drive the cost of watching TV through the roof - then some sort of advertising is necessary. Of course if you're someone that doesn't like TV, then 1/good for you and 2/wtf are you reading this article for.

    I suppose if you like American Idol, Fear Factor, Survivor, The Bachelor, Desperate Whores and other shite "reality" TV shows then you guys are in for a treat. Because if decent TV isn't paid for in some way, that's all we're getting.

    My own feeling is that IPTV will eventually replace all TV in some form or another we'll pay like $8 per set of channels to fund service providers and pay for the content itself by tolerating webbernet style popups and banner ads. No more need for antique devices like DVRs and cable boxes, no more 1990s style waiting for a particular day/time to watch a show. We'll just watch the entire season of whatever as soon as it's ready, then watch anything that's already been produced while we wait for the next season of something good to air.

    Buying your own storage is so last decade. You lost ownership of your content years ago without realising what was happening, virtually every DVR can be remotely wiped by the manufacturer as soon as you connect to the internet and of course downloadable content has been discussed here before. Better just to say fuck it and rent at a cost that makes sense. It's never going back, anyone that thinks that by screaming enough we can compete with lobbyists might as well give me a gram of whatever they're taking.

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: Necessary Evil

      Well there has never been a correlation between "good" TV and "expensive" TV.

      Maybe a donation based model for television will work in the future.

      Or perhaps we'll move on to some model where we all pay into Arts just like we already pay for science.

      The TV-tax model actually isn't to bad, comparing it to the mixed model German public TV stations have, the BBC has a much broader range of topics. A multi-part prime time show about astronomy would be absolutely impossible here. Even shows like "Only Connect" or "Countdown" won't be done here, as it's far to niche. (We used to have "Countdown" in the early 1980s on an early commercial channel, but nobody remembers this.)

      1. Dropper

        Re: Necessary Evil

        The Beeb is pretty unique. In the US we have public TV that is funded by private donations and .. commericials from companies that support the product. They usually air BBC/ITV/etc shows because British TV is a lot more affordable than US TV, but they do have a few good shows of their own too.

        I agree that money doesn't necessarily buy the best, but the truth is unless they replace US actors with British replacmenents (complete with fake accents to make them acceptable over here.. weird but true) then the cost of producing a good SciFi show or drama is way and above what Downton Abbey or Red Dwarf costs. Actually that's something more and more networks in the US are doing, and while it's pleasant to see a familiar face, it makes you double take when they start talking in bad US accents. A few seasons in and they get it down, but by then they're usually earning US wages anyway.

        I like the idea of paying an "Arts" tax, and maybe that would work back home (UK). But the US, which produces a lot of TV and movies we all enjoy, would never go for it. PBS does get a little from the government, but nothing like the funding the license fee provides.

        1. This Side Up
          Pint

          Re: Necessary Evil

          "I agree that money doesn't necessarily buy the best, but the truth is unless they replace US actors with British replacmenents (complete with fake accents to make them acceptable over here.. weird but true)"

          Now there's a challenge for technology - automatically convert US accents to corresponding English accents and vice-versa (plus Scottish <> Canadian, Welsh <> Mexican etc.)

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: Necessary Evil

      > Unless we want to go the way of subscribed services for everything - and believe me that will drive the cost of watching TV through the roof - then some sort of advertising is necessary

      No it won't. You will just have to be picky about what you consume. It's pretty easy to replace an overpriced cable subscription with a much cheaper set of streaming video subscriptions from Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix. First run material really isn't that expense and a lot of reruns are dirt cheap an nearly free (as they should be).

      This isn't just theoretical anymore. You can take your collection of Tivo Watchlists to Amazon RIGHT NOW and see what the pricing would be like. It's no great mystery.

      1. Dropper

        Re: Necessary Evil

        I only watch Hulu Plus and Netflix, there is no cable in my house. But that was kind of the point I was making. I meant that paying HBO/Starz fees for channels would be exhorbitant - you pay $16 or so for 8 channels which is okay if you only want to watch 8 channels, not so great if you want to watch more. The better alternative is precisely what you propose, but unfortunately that doesn't pay for new content, just the service. Producing enough content to provide the kind of variety we have now costs a lot more than the licensing fees Netflix give Hollywood and TV networks. If we want something decent it has to be paid for, I don't care how myself, but I'll take banner ads running at the bottom of movies or shows over commercials that interrupt what I'm watching. But that's just me. If paying $1-$2 per episode for ad-free programming is something you'd prefer, then that's cool too. What I can't stand are the freetards that think we can get decent TV for nothing. That somehow the entertainment industry gets rich all by itself. They can't get it through their thick heads that their reasoning for ripping off movies and TV amounts to nothing more than "if my neighbours pay for it, I don't have to."

  31. Martin 47

    So, if I understand this, if stream a movie it will have adverts placed in it but if I pirate it, then it won't?

    Doh!

  32. David Pollard
    Joke

    Apply the Dove photo-restorer?

    Announced just last week, Reg readers will recall that free software from the manufacturers of Dove "removes all manner of retouching". All we need is the movie version.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/08/dove_photoshop_action/

  33. TEQ

    Bill Hicks had it right.

    By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing… kill yourself.

    No, no, no it’s just a little thought. I’m just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they’ll take root – I don’t know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself.

    Seriously though, if you are, do.

    Aaah, no really, there’s no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan’s little helpers. Okay – kill yourself – seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke, you’re going, “there’s going to be a joke coming,” there’s no fucking joke coming. You are Satan’s spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It’s the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself.

    Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, “he’s doing a joke…” there’s no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend – I don’t care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking makinations. Machi… Whatever, you know what I mean.

    I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, “Oh, you know what Bill’s doing, he’s going for that anti-marketing dollar. That’s a good market, he’s very smart.”

    Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags!

    “Ooh, you know what Bill’s doing now, he’s going for the righteous indignation dollar. That’s a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We’ve done research – huge market. He’s doing a good thing.”

    Godammit, I’m not doing that, you scum-bags! Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

    “Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill’s very bright to do that.”

    God, I’m just caught in a fucking web.

    “Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market – look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar…”

    How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don’t you?

    “What didya do today honey?”

    “Oh, we made ah, we made ah arsenic a childhood food now, goodnight. Yeah we just said you know is your baby really too loud? You know? Yeah, you know the mums will love it.”

    Sleep like fucking children, don’t ya, this is your world isn’t it?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft has been working on this as well. They never made it past the part where Clippy is on the screen saying, it looks like you need to buy [insert product here.]

  35. NomNomNom

    I like the ads but the movie ideas are terrible

  36. JDX Gold badge

    Just wait until they can do it for audio...

    Normal person watching

    "Hey Billy do you wanna shoot some hoops after school?"

    Reg reader watching

    "Hey Billy do you wanna come and re-compile Mint after school?"

  37. Naughtyhorse

    Why is this news?

    I recall a gag on HIGNFW when Angus was still presenting (so ages and ages ago) it about this tech being used for sports events:

    ' so the ad would read "drink budweiser" in the states,

    and " drink heineken" in the UK,

    and "this is just a television set, do not be afraid" and in Albania.'

    Thought it was a dumbassed idea then, and see no reason to change my mind now.

    It was a bit odd to quote the beer thing in Skyfall - as the only comments i have seen regarding it are negative. Bond drinks a diluted martini (cant see any other reason to shake it, than to make the ice chip and melt). It's fair enough to say that maybe he should not be portrayed as smoking 80 a day(H&S), or loudly declaiming that poofs can't whistle (Political correctness gone mad!). but no pretentious martini? then you might as well be watching a stalone movie!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is this news?

      bond drinks a vesper, and the shaking is to cause the ice to melt and chill the drink... but a vesper is NOT very diluted... Strong stuff!

      But Heineken... watery beer... ewww...

  38. heyrick Silver badge

    Artistic freedom is another concern

    As already happens when programmes are "sponsored", the content and freedom of a programme maker can be curtailed by the morals of the sponsor (or their thoughts about their target demographic). If advertisers get in on the game too, this may lead to more pandering to satisfy the whims of the money givers; which might seem logical in first place but remember the product is not made for the sponsors/advertisers but for the viewers.

    End result? A diluted version of the original vision that is chock-full of embedded advertising, so much so that watching "adverts" might be more interesting. Or, specialty channels on pay-TV that offer rehashes of programmes from the '70s and '80s (which will become known as "the golden years of television" due to programmes lasting longer than five minutes without a recap and having coherent plots).

    <sigh>

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Artistic freedom is another concern

      Product placement is one thing. I'm getting a bit sick of the "peeking over the top of the Dell monitor shot" though.

      The the problem is that "seamless integration" is not the same as "framing the shots and content" around a product.

      I think the thing about the 70's and 80's was that the stories were better (at least the ones we still watch) but the production values were much lower. I wonder if that made them cheaper to produce? Are we just spending too much on the content for adverts to support?

      I suspect that the end result is that if ad ratio gets too high people just switch off and stop consuming the content because it becomes an unpleasant experience.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At last, a valid use for copyright law.

    This is entirely prohibited by the copyright laws, which give the authors "moral rights" to insist their copyrighted material is presented in its original form, without tampering. If they do this to anyone's content without their explicit permission, they will be sued into oblivion.

    Which is the best place for them and their stupid, crass, obnoxious idea.

  40. This Side Up
    WTF?

    Why bother?

    "... about how they continue to fund these multi-billion-dollar global content initiatives at the same time as satisfying the needs of people who aren't prepared to really pay for them,"

    I for one would be very happy if they didn't make these multi-billion-dollar movies at all. If people aren't prepared to pay for them then they shouldn't get them. It's called supply and demand.

    Anyway just because a product appears in a film or tv show, why should that fact make me want to buy it. So what if James Bond drinks Heineken instead of Vodka-Martini? I still prefer Rebellion IPA or Black Sheep or Exmoor Gold ...

  41. Anonymous C0ward
    Pint

    I haven't seen Skyfall yet

    But they've got Bond drinking Heineken instead of Martini? That's terrible!

  42. MJI Silver badge

    A few thoughts

    Advert makers

    Sorry I quite like the work of Ridley Scott (Npy & Bicycle Hovis advert), also everyone likes Murray Walker. But then I am sure adverts were better quality and more entertaining then.

    Product Placement

    Depends on the show, I watched a couple of episodes about a find a racing driver contest big P at the beginning.

    I stopped watching due to large black rectagles wobbling about on the cars, on the clothes ect ect. Look the programme mentions the game name, we all know what the hardware is and we know who makes 370Z STOP INSULTING US.

    This is one of the most sickening things on UK commercial TV, they will hide a brand within a show, a real brand, like sponsorship on a car, then during the advert breaks pile us with shit.

    Oh to upset shITV

    GT Academy - a show where players of Gran Turismo competed for a chance to take part in an endurance race, and they blocked out

    Sony

    PS3

    Nissan

    Playstation

    Gran Turismo

    But shITV won, I stopped watching.

  43. Adrian 4 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Wait .. are you telling me there are still people who watch TV ?

  44. MrXavia
    FAIL

    Won't work...

    I keep my content watching & searching separate, right now the ads I get a laughable, and that is on search engines...

    Altering content, well that is just wrong......

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like it!

    This isn't bad at all! But I disagree with the 'people want content for free'. I would rather pay for content if it was convenient. But it isn't, the legitimate channels are still slow, restrictive, expensive, etc. But I'm probably in the minority. Maybe most people would just take the free option even if there was a way to torrent any movie they want for $10, legitimately, and end up with a good copy downloaded that they could watch on any device, any time, forever.

    But the companies won't do that because they're afraid of piracy. Paradox anyone??

  46. Tom 35 Silver badge

    They will do that same they always do

    They will add more and more ads, until they have stuff wall to wall, and they will cut corners on making it look right until people can't stand them any more and they don't have any value so they have to add even more ads.

    How long until they start changing dialogue too.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Your next-door neighbor, however, whom the all-seeing intertubes know to be of more modest means, sees the same hijinks – but they're taking place with a low-rent Oster 6706."

    ...and the TV at the homeless shelter shows them using the bottom half of a spatula and a rusty pair of pliers.

    1. Andy Christ

      Even more creepy,

      I had just added the Oster BVCB07-Z to my Amazon wish list before coming across this reference on el Reg so it really had me freaked!

      The 6706 might be not-so-hot, but the BVCB07-Z is still pretty cheap, at least here in the States, when compared to real premium brands like Vitamix or Blendtec, which retail for about four to eight times as much as the Oster, gulp! But I just did my 2012 taxes so even that spatula/pliers combo is out for me right now. :(

  48. Idocrase

    Even less incentiveto ever watch tv again. At the moment it's easy to block adverts on the pc and my android phone, but i stopped seriously watching television several years ago (its hooked up to a media box instead), with the occassional foray into bbciplayer etc. But if this becomes the norm, I'll just stick to DVD's and downloaded material stripped of ad content. (i forsee it taking about two weeks for someone to crack the filter on such modified content when it becomes targeted...)

  49. Dr_N Silver badge

    They use product unplacement on French TV

    Any factual programme output on the publicly funded stations (which so advert) have all shots with any product names or company logos mirrored to try and obscure them.

    Not sure if that's a BBC style editorial stance, or the paying advertisers calling the shots...

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: They use product unplacement on French TV

      That annoys me MORE than product placement

  50. Danny 14 Silver badge
    WTF?

    I must be so niave, I had no idea people fell for this crap. Heineken sales went up after sky fall? Really? Sure it wasn't a super sale instead?

    Nuts

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember back in the 60's

    Many Quinn Martin Productions shows had only brand of vehicle. Every car or truck, old or new, was a Ford.

  52. pewpie
    Mushroom

    Just another reason to fire up TPB. Keep em coming, you suit pricks. Eventually you will have nothing but adverts to show, due to all your artists starving to death. All because of your bluesky boardroom dog-shite.

  53. Stuart Elliott
    Big Brother

    Coming soon...

    AdBlock for DVD and BluRay.

    1. haloburn

      Re: Coming soon...

      Sky and Virgin will probably charge you not to have it

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Argh

    US News footage already removes/replaces logos in shot (even in street scenes) so that people who don't pay them/competitor networks stand less chance of getting on-screen. There have been a small number of attempts in Europe too, but it generally causes a stink because it's fundamentally egregious, editing what is presented as actuality. (US TV news networks are no longer under any obligation to tell truth, after the Reagan era, the UK ones are.. a problem that caused Fox some difficulties with the UK media regulator).

    This would seem to be tailor-made to cause problems with that sort of problem. Also.. it's absolute pure Philip K. Dick stuff, which is even more disconcerting.

    Right, I'm off to adjust my Mood Organ.

    xx

  55. haloburn

    Everything an actor does or uses becomes an Advert

    And would therefore make all actions have to adhere to advertising regulations

    1. Tequila Joe

      Re: Everything an actor does or uses becomes an Advert

      Hah! That would put them in an apparently difficult position to meet the criteria "...advertising in all media is legal, decent, honest and truthful, to the benefit of consumers, business and society"*, unless, of course, we have more manipulative censoring of the media?

      *http://www.asa.org.uk/About-ASA/Our-mission.aspx

    2. haloburn

      Re: Everything an actor does or uses becomes an Advert

      Come to mention it I always thought tobacco companies were getting past the advertising restrictions by funding films and TV shows that show actors smoking to make it cool. Wouldn’t this make smoking in films and on TV be classed as advertising and product placement and come under the advertising regulations?

    3. haloburn

      Re: Everything an actor does or uses becomes an Advert

      Also if anyone has seen the film "get shorty" you will probably have noticed that there isn't a sequence in the movie that doesn't involve characters lighting up, seriously it's constant.

      check http://www.smokefreemovies.ucsf.edu/problem/brand_id.html

  56. Wade Burchette Silver badge
    FAIL

    Dear Advertisers:

    You just don't get it, do you? It is not ads that we dislike, it is your methods. People are tuning out ads because they are annoying and blatant and in too many places and so your solution is to make advertisements more annoying, more blatant, and in even more places. It is like a cycle that you started and don't realize that the only way to fix the problem is to stop the cycle and undo what you did to start the cycle. If you see the same thing again and again, you are desensitized to it. If you want your ads to be more effective, we need LESS of them, not MORE. Product placements need to be subtle and realistic, not blatant and everywhere. Furthermore, you need to treat your audience like people and not like subjects.

    Show less advertisements, but charge more for the ones you do show. Those will be more effective because people will be more likely to pay attention. But you won't understand. You live in a world where textbooks tell you what to do. I live in the real world where the by-the-book approach tends not to work.

  57. Ted Treen
    Happy

    Ads in general

    Some ads - like the ones in Technology mags (and even the ones appearing on El Reg) I don't mind, as I find them informative, but I am aware they're trying to sell me a product.

    What I do like is the straight-forward technical description of the product and its capabilities.

    No. I don't accept this as gospel, but what it does do is generally give me sufficient data to decide if it's an appropriate product to add to my comparison list, from which I do further investigation to decide for myself which is the best option for my requirements and budget.

  58. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    SPAM: and the worst kind

    Product placement is the worst kind of spam.

    It's like those CSI "focus on samsung then pan" ads inside the series.

    I HATE IT.

    The problem is, who are the producers making the series and movies for? Not for consumers, that is clear.

    This reminds me of mobiles (or cell phones). Nokia had great ideas, but their perceived customers where the carriers. Apple copied (and patented) their prototypes and released them... and where is Nokia now?

    The same will happen to big producers.. as they are not making a good product for us, but for others.

  59. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    NO!

    Any of you remember a Stallone movie called "Demolition Man"? I liked it, it was nice brain candy. The thing is, there was a sequence in the middle where Stallone's character is told about the Fast Food Wars, where various fast-food franchises fought it out and now the only restaurants left (let alone fast-food franchises) are all Taco Bells.

    In and of itself, it was annoying but not painfully so. No; what was painful was what happened when the movie made it to Oz . There is no Taco Bell down here - there was Taco Den, but it died in the late 80s. So what happened? Someone digitally replaced all of the Taco Bell logos with Pizza Hut logos and re-recorded (badly) the "Taco Bell" sound-bites to "Pizza Hut". Never mind the lip movements.

    Very jarring, very annoying, and is why I didn't buy the Australia DVD release but instead bought the US one.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: NO!

      in the future you'll bootleg the DVD and instead it will say in a robotic voice <INSERT ADVERT HERE> as a placeholder instead.

    2. Adam Over
      FAIL

      Re: NO!

      Yeah, I watched that a few months ago. It had been years since id seen it. As soon as i heart pizza hut I nearly fell out of my chair. Had to download three additional copies before I found the original. What a stupid idea.

  60. Fihart

    There's a place in Hell....

    ......for the likes of Mr Popkiewicz.

    In it they are forced to watch TV consisting of 15 minute ads with 5 minute breaks in between during which programs are shown.

    1. Miek
      Linux

      Re: There's a place in Hell....

      I suspect that the idea of Hell (for an advertising shill) would be being forced to watch TV without any adverts at all, just thinking of all that airtime not being monetised will drive them crazy.

      On another note, do you think that Hell would accept these bastards ?

  61. Miek
    Linux

    ""The whole industry has rallied to find ways in which to make advertising more compelling and deliver more value to the audience,"" -- Sadly, for all their efforts, they came up with nothing and so we are back to just yelling the brand at the audience, hoping it will lodge somewhere in their brain.

  62. beep54
    Meh

    Movies, fuck em

    Why in God's banger's Hell should I fucking pay to see ads. Well, I don't. I don't even have a TV anymore.

  63. CaptainBlue
    FAIL

    Refreshing the parts other beers cannot reach

    Like my eyes. I wasn't aware of any Heineken product placement in Skyfoal so it must have failed the memorable test. Unlike Audi in I, Robot.

  64. moonface

    Thanks for the heads up.

    This will save me any confusion in the future. When wondering why celebrities only have slightly better cars and kitchen units, than mine while watching MTV Cribs.

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