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ABC Wants DVR Fast Forwarding Disabled 718

Anonymous CE Worker writes "The television network ABC is looking to develop technology that would disable the fast-forward button on DVRs, and allow commercials to run as intended on their channel." From the article: "Some research executives — even at networks with sales departments that acted differently — had argued before the upfront that ads viewed in fast-forward mode generated value for advertisers, since consumers were at least partly exposed to their messages. But Shaw said ABC was only interested in finding a way to receive compensation for un-skipped ads."
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ABC Wants DVR Fast Forwarding Disabled

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  • We can use blipverts! Just watch out for the exploding diabetics.
  • stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:05PM (#15676039)
    Why, ABC, do you want people to stop watching your programs?

    NEWSFLASH: If your channel is the only one disabling fast forwarding then people aren't going to bother watching your shit in the first place.
    • Indeed (Score:5, Funny)

      by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <megazzt&gmail,com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:28PM (#15676321) Homepage

      Whenever commercials come on TV, I SWITCH TO ANOTHER CHANNEL without commercials.

      I bet next they'll try to disable the chan up/down buttons, the mute button, and the power button during commercials. Then they'll try to mandate all chairs have restraints that are activated right before commercials come on. Ooh, and little things to hold open your eyelids and ears...

      • Over 60% of kids surveyed recently noted that computers were indispensible in their life and used them accordingly. (UK story on yesterday noted this)

        TV's were rated indispensible by something around 40% and dropping.

        Networks are BEHIND THE CURVE, & still trying to save the sales of buggy whips.

        Time for a mass cleanout of Network Execs, to be replaced by people who have grown up with computers, as the new era is already here.
      • Re:Indeed (Score:4, Informative)

        by loose electron ( 699583 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:10PM (#15676754) Homepage
        They won't have to prop open your eyes, they have a more subtle way to get it done.

        A little history first --
        This is the reason that many years ago, the networks worked together (sort of) to carefully time their advertising so that it all runs at once. You flip the channel, and all the other channels have their adverts running in time-sync.

        Cable channels made that a bit tougher to do, but for the most part everyone remains in-sync for ads.

        The more modern way of doing it --
        Lets not forget the gobs and gobs of "embedded advertising" that is out there. That Hummer on CSI-Miami is an embedded ad. Those Coca-Cola glasses on American Idol are another example. Anyplace that you can see a product name or brand name identity in a TV show is a paid advertisement.

        Sticking with the CSI example, the camera they used to take pictures with used to have no name on it. The show got popular, and all of a sudden it became a Nikon camera.

        • Re:Indeed (Score:4, Informative)

          by nsayer ( 86181 ) * <nsayer @ k f u . c om> on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:05PM (#15677450) Homepage
          The more modern way of doing it

          It's not even particularly modern. Why do you think James Bond's signature drink is a vodka martini? Because the movie producers made a deal with Smirnoff. In 1962.

          • Re:Indeed (Score:4, Informative)

            by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:10PM (#15678313) Homepage Journal
            "Why do you think James Bond's signature drink is a vodka martini? Because the movie producers made a deal with Smirnoff. In 1962. "

            Actually, in the books, his 'martini' is quite strange, from Casino Royale : "Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet (a brand of dry vermouth). Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel." He called it a vesper after a good looking agent. He asked for it to be served in a "a deep champagne goblet".

            I'd heard about the Smirnoff deal for the movies, but, I've never found anything yet to confirm it.

        • Re:Indeed (Score:3, Informative)

          by Triv ( 181010 )

          Anyplace that you can see a product name or brand name identity in a TV show is a paid advertisement.

          We work for the same company or something? Because tracking those product placements is what I do for a living. *Waves across the office at the only other slashdotter here.

          Anyway. That's not quite accurate and your terms are a bit skewed, though this particular aspect of advertising is rather new and the lexicon hasn't quite settled yet.

          "Embedded" advertising are traditional ads that appear wit

  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:05PM (#15676044) Homepage
    So long as it's just blocking fast-forwarding on ABC shows and not other channels, let me be the first to say that I have absolutely no problem with this.
    • Re:Fine by me... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 0xABADC0DA ( 867955 )
      When they took away commercial-skip on ABC I didn't mind, because commercials are the most entertaining thing on ABC.

      When they took away commercial-skip on Fox News I didn't mind, because commercials are the most informative show on that network.

      When they took away commercial-skip on Sci-Fi Network I didn't mind, because after watching 1000 commercials for "Mansquito" what harm is one more?

      When they took away commercial-skip on Comedy Central it was too late to laugh.

      Skip-bans are just a slippery slope to a
  • 1) ABC writes a big check to Tivo...
    2) Tivo pushes "innocent" bios update
    3) Suddenly you can't fast forward things recorded off channels with "ABC" associated with them.

    Problem solved
  • Whats the problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PB_TPU_40 ( 135365 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:06PM (#15676050)
    When I see an ad even in fast forward that catches my attention I usually rewind and watch it. Maybe I'm just weird, but I dont enjoy watching crap commercials for tampons etc., its not as if I use them! However good beer commericals on the other hand...

    More of the same ol' same ol' of screwing the consumer.
    • by Kithraya ( 34530 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:12PM (#15676131)
      I wish people in the advertising industry would get your point. There are commercials that I rewind to watch, especially if it's something I'm interested in buying. When I was in the market for a new car, I payed attention to nearly every car commercial I saw. But now I'm not in the market for a new car, and frankly don't care what kind of 4th of July sale is going on down at my local car dealership. I don't care about feminine itch products. I don't care that more moms pick brand X of juice box because it's better for growing kids. What I *did* watch was a commercial last night about Arby's having all natural chicken (compared to the other major fast food restrauants). I *do* care about the new brand of breakfast sausage made with maple syrup. Those commercials I watch, and frequently even rewind so I can see the whole thing. But *please* let me skip the tampon commercial. I don't use tampons, I don't want tampons, I'm not going to buy tampons.
      • by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:32PM (#15676358) Homepage
        Of course, if the advertisers actually take your advice and try tailoring commercial breaks to individual viewers' interests, they'll get reamed by privacy advocates for gathering the information they need to be able to do that.
        • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 )
          Actually, there are ways to do this while keeping sensitive data in the home. For example, Invidi Technologies [] is developing a technology where the settop box develops a viewer profile based on programs watched, geodemographics, etc. The advertiser then provides a set of ad alternatives, along with audience targets, and it is the settop box which is then responsible for selecting the appropriate ad.
      • by slagheap ( 734182 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:43PM (#15676470)
        But *please* let me skip the tampon commercial. I don't use tampons, I don't want tampons, I'm not going to buy tampons.

        Sure that's what you think now, but if you watch enough tampon commercials...

        Maybe next time you are at the store you'll think to yourself, "Maybe I *do* need some tampons."
    • Hooray Tampons!!! []

      You're right, it's just not as appealing as beer. []
    • That is exactly it. Most ad's on tv suck because of two things.

      1 - the ad company is unimaginative and simply does the same-old-thing.

      2 - the client wants this big ad campain but only wants to spend $29.50 on the commercial production.

      result crap ad that nobody watches, best example is every ad for some stupid pill or other pharma-crap.

      Ad's that get watch tons. VW unpimp ad's are typicalyl watched multiple times and have intense recall. Want a good example? the dod-bomb called they had a
    • Man Law! (Score:4, Funny)

      by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:28PM (#15676322) Journal
      However good beer commericals on the other hand...

      **scribes your post into large book**
    • by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:37PM (#15676410)
      I think what we REALLY need is a "uber-fast-forward button" so we can GET to the commercials! Given the quality of ABC (and most other) programming, the commercials are the only productions worth viewing
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:06PM (#15676056)
    If I'm watching a TV program on my DVR and I catch up to the live program, and am thus forced to watch the commercials, I get a little annoyed, but I live with it. If I were watching a pre-recorded program on my DVR and I was FORCED to watch the commercials because they decided to disable a primary function of my DVR, I would be pissed off, and feel very hostile toward the network and the advertisers involved.

    Sure, an important part of advertising is getting people to hear your message. However, it's also important not to inspire feelings of hatred toward you by trying to force your message down people's throats. If the net result of your invasive advertising is that everyone hates you, how is that a good thing for the advertiser?
    • How would you feel if, when paging through your favorite magazine/newspaper/periodical, you were forced to pause for 5 seconds at each advertisement, and it wouldn't let you change pages or skip directly to the article you desired? What would you think if the publishers were of the opinion that you were "stealing" content if you never glanced at any print ads while reading their content?

      Don't be tricked into thinking ABC broadcasts shows to make money. ABC sells the time of a captive audience (you) to adv
    • If I were watching a pre-recorded program on my DVR and I was FORCED to watch the commercials because they decided to disable a primary function of my DVR, I would be pissed off, and feel very hostile toward the network and the advertisers involved.

      I dare you to watch late night Comedy Central without timeshifting and fast forward.

      Sure, trying to look between the DVD boxes in the Girls Gone Wild commercials are OK the first 50-100 times you see them, but after that, good old fashioned free hardcore porn is
  • Right.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vondo ( 303621 ) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:07PM (#15676062)
    Because the only reason to fast forward a DVR is to skip commercials. You really want to watch that 20 minutes of the baseball game that is on before the show you were trying to tape. Or if you rewind to see something at the start of Lost again, you really want to re-watch the 30 minutes of the show you've already seen.

    Any DVR manufacturer that goes along with making a DVR less useful than a VCR is going to suffer in a huge way. In 1988 we had a VCR with a 30-second fastforward button.

    I'm not even going to get into how making someone watch commercials is wrong.
    • Re:Right.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Homology ( 639438 )
      I'm not even going to get into how making someone watch commercials is wrong.

      This is the commercial mindset: authoritarian and deceitful.

    • Re:Right.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OctoberSky ( 888619 )
      On the "in 1988 we had a VCR with a 30-second fastforward button" note, I had a TV that had a timer. If you clicked it once a 30 second timer popped up in the corner (would disappear until 10 seconds remained). If you hit it twice 60 seconds, 3 times 90 seconds, and so on. The only reason this existed was so you could set it to say 120 or 150 seconds (2.5 minutes) and go look at other channels and it would remind you that you had been gone for X amount of time and the commericals were probably over.

      There wa
  • Aw piss on 'em (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:08PM (#15676066) Homepage Journal

    ABC was only interested in finding a way to receive compensation for un-skipped ads

    Whoops, time to change their business model!

    Let me introduce myself. I'm an olde farte. I was a teenager back in the 1970's when they were laying the first cable around our neighbourhood. Back then people (the They as in "they say ...") said "nobody will pay for what they already get for free" and "nobody will pay to see advertising." Well... "they" were wrong as it turns out, people now pay upwards of 50$US for the honour of watching bad programmes and watching Enzyte Bob lose his shorts (tell me those floats in the pool aren't phallic, go on).

    Now it's the content providers who are insisting the viewer (those with satellite and cable) watch the advertisements they are already paying to see.

    <Stimpy>Ironic, huh, Ren?</Stimpy>

    Time for network execs and particularly the viewers to wake up and smell the coffee.

    • Re:Aw piss on 'em (Score:3, Insightful)

      by slindseyusa ( 942823 )
      Now it's the content providers who are insisting the viewer (those with satellite and cable) watch the advertisements they are already paying to see.
      I agree. This is a similar argument to the one for Net Neutrality. We're paying once, why make us pay again.
    • Re:Aw piss on 'em (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:17PM (#15676191) Homepage
      Whoops, time to change their business model!

      Sure, and better yet the business model already exists -- take your network to a pay basis like HBO or Showtime.

      The big problem with that approach for ABC, of course, is that it requires that you have decent television that people will actually shell out a few bucks a month to watch. I mean, "Grey's Anatomy" might be all well and good for a network show, but put it up against "Rescue Me" on FX or "Deadwood" on HBO and it's revealed for the lame-brained homogenized crap that it is.

      The networks should be the last people with any input into the technology that will define the future of the TV industry. All the decent television is elsewhere, either on HBO or SciFi or Comedy Central or other channels that were never broadcast through the air to begin with. Listening to ABC's bright ideas here is like, well, listening to the music industry when they tell us that the only legitimate way to listen to music is on a CD that we paid full price for and will never lend to a friend or resell ('cause that's just like stealing, you know).
  • by dsn1337 ( 965775 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:08PM (#15676068)
    they should get TV makers to prevent me from changing the channel when commercials start too.
  • Why don't they look to incentivise people to watch ads, perhaps develop a technology that tracks ads that are played back, and gives a rebate to people who watch a certain amount of ads, or gives them credits towards premium channels or whatever. Disabling the fast-forward button will just royally piss people off, and that is not good business.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Because it's far cheaper to hire incompetent Executives to demand stupid things from another industry and whine about it because nobody agrees with them.

    • by ameline ( 771895 ) <> on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:21PM (#15676243) Homepage Journal
      /flame ON. (and sorry for the meta discussion)

      What would it take to MOTIVATE you not to use the word "incentivise" ever again? Do you think that using (not utilizing!) large words makes you sound more intelligent?

      It makes you sound like a blathering idiot who doesn't know the language.

      Ok -- there -- I feel better now. My co-workers thank you for diverting my flames from them for the rest of the day. :-)

      P.S. I'm waiting for someone to post that incentivise is a perfectly cromulent word.
      • I'm waiting for someone to post that incentivise is a perfectly cromulent word.

        Incentivise is a perfectly cromulent word. Personally I find that utilizing large words embiggens us all. :-)

  • Big media wants to cripple technology so they can make more money? Say it ain't so! Next thing, you'll be telling me they can't figure out how to do it, so they're lobbying Congress to make it illegal.

    Unless you've been living under a rock for the last ten years, this announcement should come as no surprise. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

  • Screw that... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dh2000 ( 71834 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:09PM (#15676083) Journal
    I'll just stop watching TV... oh wait, I already did.

    No commericials, no annoying crap. I get more done, and if there is anything I want to watch, then I download it off of one of the many sources of free video.

    Quality and instant (yet horribly scheduled) access is the only thing TV networks have going for them, now.
  • Behold Technocrats! My mighty VCR powers allow me to FAST-FOREWARD!

    Not that I watch, much less record anything on ABC...
    • You know what's sad? That even though the Technocracy is a fictional element of an awesome RPG, it's becoming more and more real every day.

      Next thing you know, I'll start incurring Paradox when mundanes see me slinging fireballs around.
  • by Albert Sandberg ( 315235 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:10PM (#15676102) Homepage
    I purchase a LOT of dvd movies. these has DRM content such as the fbi warning and sometimes trailers or just film studio propaganda which is non-skippable on my sony dvd player (otherwise very nice)... what's up with that? we have to first buy the content, then HAVE to watch crap like that?

    yes I do understand that if I copy this disc I just bought I will get into trouble, yes, I known this since vhs cassettes in my youth thank you very much

    that will probably never change, but I think dvd player fabricants should enable skip option on content you paid for...
    • I use...I mean, a friend of mine uses DVD Decrypter with DVD Shrink to burn backup copies of all of the DVDs he owns so he doesn't have to buy a new copy every time one gets scratched. Now, I can't recall if it's DVD Shrink or DVD Decrypter that does this, but one of them actually removes all of that crap that forces you to sit through the FBI warnings and whatnot, so you can use the Menu or Skip buttons to get past them. This is especially helpful on those DVDs that don't even allow you to skip past the
    • We have a Sony with the same problem. Try this -

      1) insert the DVD and allow it to play automatically
      2) on the DVD box itself, hit the "STOP" button (the one on the remote won't work)
      3) on the remote, hit the "MENU" button

      This should bring you directly to the DVD menu without all the "crap" like the FBI/Interpol warnings and all the previews.

      Good luck!
  • On Screen Ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:10PM (#15676106)
    I can just picture it now. DVR is going to push TV channels to start putting on-screen ads up during the show (sorta like what you see splashed across every single frickin' page on the internet).
    • Re:On Screen Ads (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OhPlz ( 168413 )
      It already happens. USA networks (ugh) puts huge "Monk" or "The Closer" banner ads right over the bottom right corner of the program you're watching. I've seen some so bad that they take up the bottom third of the screen, usually near the end of a program.

      It's gotten to the point where I won't watch USA anymore, nor TNT or a few of the others like them. What's the point when I'm not actually allowed to watch the show?

      I can't understand why the show's producers don't fight the stations on it, the stations
      • by eln ( 21727 )
        Imagine if the Mona Lisa was 1/3rd covered by an ad for Enzyte (weird mental image there, huh?)

        Well, that would explain the smile...
  • Explain, please? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by keyne9 ( 567528 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:12PM (#15676122)
    Could someone explain to me how a skipped ad, in which the person has absolutely no desire to ever see the ad, buy the product, or otherwise succumb to feminine hygeine products, is any different than walking away during commercials, or can in any way be construed as "lost revenue"?

    If a person skips an ad (or, fast forwards it), they very obviously had no desire to ever submit dollars to that product/company, or would do so already without the ad in the first place.
    • by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:34PM (#15676378) Homepage Journal
      Advertisers are relying on a couple of things in their current business model: that inertia will keep a significant percentage of the viewership on that couch, passively sucking up the message, during the ads, and that ads are allowing them to influence the purchasing habits of a significant number of viewers even despite their better judgement. The quite obvious tactics of manipulation in advertisements work. Stoned dude sits on the couch and while he could just get up and walk away, or mute it and page through a magazine, the activity barrier is higher than just clicking through on FF, and so he sits there, and that taco ad works on him. I'm hungry, I want a taco. The whole point of advertising is influencing the decision of the viewer: making them buy something they didn't think they wanted (and probably don't need and will get nothing from). Does it work? Look at the stupid cars people drive, the rancid garbage they eat, the price they pay for bubbly sugar water.

      Advertisers are concerned about DVR fast forwarding diminishing the reach of their advertising and they are right to, it is diminishing the reach of their advertising. Advertisers pay networks for that reach so networks are justifiably concerned about the rise of DVRs impacting their revenue. ABC's arguments that people don't have the right and (most amusingly) don't really want to FF through ads are idiotic, but the counter-argument that ad-skipping is not going to mess with the business model of sponsored television doesn't hold water either.
  • Most of the people I know mute the commercials to make them easier to ignore. Are they going to disable that too?

    The future is becoming more and more like the one predicted on Max Headroom. Some day it will be illegal to turn the TV off.
  • I want technology to make these idiots steer their cars directly into utility poles.

    So they want to force viewers to watch obnoxious commercials? Here's some news, Mr. VP -- you can't. And the harder you try, the less success you'll have. You see, you have to entice viewers, not force. This is simply Proof #482 that these 'executives' don't understand that pissed off customers don't buy stuff. True, their real customers are the advertising companies, but stations live and die by their viewer numbers ("share
  • by Stalyn ( 662 )
    I'm pretty sure in my entire adult life there has never been a commercial that compelled me to buy a product. Actually, like many others, I've trained myself to pretty much block the commercial from my consciousness. Sometimes it may take 20 viewings of the same commercial to finally realize what the commercial is about. Until then it all seems like colors and moving figures.

    So can I sign-up to not have commericals? They aren't working on me it only seems fair. Or is there new technology coming out that wil
    • They're making sure that when you do want that chocolate bar or cup of coffee, it's the one advertised that you'll recognise in the store. Then you buy the advertised one because it's already familiar to you, you already know about it. It becomes the safe option, the others are unknown and therefore risky.

  • Unskipped ads only (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:16PM (#15676175) Homepage Journal
    I don't have a TV (on purpose, I find it save tons of time for me,) but my parents do, so whenever I go there I end up watching something on TV at least for a little while and I never watch commercials. How are these ABC executives going to prevent me from switching to another channel while the commercials are on? What about my ability to (gasp) turn the TV off or even (double gasp) go away from the box when the commercial is on?

    I trully believe that it is enough that my parents already pay for the dish service (ExpressVu in Canada,) and I trully don't care about the networks' desire to make money on commercials.

    (going on a tangent here)
    By the way, I really reduced the number of visits to the local movie theaters, I went to watch the Superman though and it was terrible experience: it was a 10pm show and people brought their 2-3 year old kids, a family right behind us had 4 of these things at the same time and it was impossible to get the parents to shut the little pricks up. And one of the parents at the end of the movie started yelling at me: you can't treat kids that way, what do you have against kids (the guy was from India I think, but it should be irrelevant in principle,) I told him he should have kept the brats at home and not bring them to the 10pm show that ended at 1am. He wouldn't stop yelling, so I asked him if he wants to take it outside, he didn't, oh well. And by the way, the movie was supposed to start at 10pm, but it only started at 10:20, and they went through all the garbage commercials and all the little good drones/zombies were watching those commercials as if their lives depended on them and I was studying the drones, they were almost drooling with those gigantic backets of pop-corn.

    I know why I don't go to the movies: little kids, big up kids, popcorn, noise, (oh yeah, one of those parents behind us left his cell on and was yapping on it for sometime during the movie,) commercials for anything, not just movies, then 20 minutes of movie commercials.

    Fuck the movie theaters. And fuck the ABC network producers, we already pay to watch their garbage and they just have to stick it to us with all these commercials AND now they want to prevent us from skipping the commercials.

    Man I am glad I don't have a TV at home.
    • by Erich ( 151 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:38PM (#15676418) Homepage Journal
      By the way, I really reduced the number of visits to the local movie theaters, I went to watch the Superman though and it was terrible experience: it was a 10pm show and people brought their 2-3 year old kids

      This is why I only watch movies at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas [] here in Austin. No children except at special showings (for Superman, no children under 6 and then only with parent). Even then, if they are noisy they will get thrown out. Also, no commercials and special movie-themed pre-show entertainment. (Unless you consider previews commercials, or 60's-era Car commercials before the movie Cars to be annoying commercials rather than fun pre-show entertainment... which I don't).

      Also, they have good beer. Hooray, beer!

      Seriously, if you like movies, the Alamo is a good reason to move to Austin. Or, at least, to visit.

  • Why not break the thumbs of all their viewers? No more fast forward problem!

    -- RLJ

  • Retard Alert (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrsbrisby ( 60242 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:16PM (#15676185) Homepage
    Maybe it's ABC, maybe it's advertisers, or maybe it's Nielson, but these guys all need to understand that the whole point of advertisements is to convert customers to their product.

    I'm not going to be converted to some life insurance, or a box of cookies, so why am I watching ads for those things? Rather, why are these people throwing money away on me if it's not going to turn into a conversion for them?

    I skip any commercial I'm not interested in, and that's an awful lot of them. If I woke up one day and my fast-forward button no longer skipped commercials, it wouldn't equal a new conversion for these guys. So they'd still be out the money for the commercial, and on top of that, the money they gave to the lobbyist to disable my fast-forward button.

    This is like saying spam-blockers are hurting the business of Viagra and timeshares. The people using blocking and deleting spam aren't going to buy viagra if just those spam-blockers were somehow less effective, and what's next, stopping the delete button from functioning when it's an advertisement?

    Does ABC really think that if only they could get us to watch more SPAM, they'd somehow make more money?
  • I was watching a Fox show "So you think you can dance" that was recorded on my Comcast DVR. There is a hack to add a 30-second skip feature. The show was completely destroyed and didn't even start properly for 45 minutes, which apparent with a secondary host introduction. I skipped literally 30 minutes of commercials. I rewind for the commercials I haven't seen yet and that looked interesting.

    I don't think that requring me to sit through 45 minutes of irrelevant garbage is a good idea. Same with races. I re
  • I want to disable... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by booch ( 4157 ) <slashdot2010&craigbuchek,com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:19PM (#15676208) Homepage that are pissing me off on the highway.

    ...cell phones of people in the grocery store with those stupid BlueTooth headsets.

    ...push-to-talk on cell phones.


    ...airplanes flying over my house at night that are too loud.

    Is there any reason why ABC should be allowed to disable someone else's equipment that they don't like, and that I should not be allowed?

  • by isomeme ( 177414 ) <> on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:19PM (#15676217) Homepage Journal
    Studies show that the net is displacing television as an entertainment option, especially among coveted younger viewers. I love the kind of thinking that responds to this threat by trying to make sure that television remains as unlike (and separate from) the net as possible.

    I barely watch TV anymore, and commercials are one big reason why. I'm so used to being able to choose exactly what I see and hear that I find the idea of passively accepting ads unacceptable; the annoyance level spoils shows for me. Note that I *am* willing to pay for programming; I'd just rather do it directly, through subscription fees, than have content force-fed to me on the remote chance it might make me buy something.
  • by darkone ( 7979 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:21PM (#15676246) Homepage
    I would say I see more commercials while fast forwarding with Tivo than live tv. If I am fast forwarding, I am staring at the tv, noting every commercial, to see when I can hit play. We often stop to watch funny or interesting commercials (like Apple's new ones). If I'm watching Live TV, I often get up for commercials knowing that I have 3-4 minutes (what happened to 2 minutes of commercials) until I need to come back.
      And what's with commercials being twice as loud as the show you're watching!
  • Shaw, pshaw! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yagu ( 721525 ) * <> on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:25PM (#15676287) Journal

    From the article, an opinion by the ABC tool Shaw:

    Shaw also threw cold water on the idea that neutering the fast-forward option would result in a consumer backlash. He suggested that consumers prefer DVRs for their ability to facilitate on-demand viewing and not ad-zapping--and consumers might warm to the idea that anytime viewing brings with it a tradeoff in the form of unavoidable commercial viewing.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong wrong! Mr. Shaw! What a tool you've turned out to be. People are not grateful for the timeshifting of their shows... they're grateful for being in control of their watching preferences. Some will watch commercials and will do so whether or not they can skip the ads. Others don't ever watch ads, don't ever want to, but happen to inadvertantly bump into ads every once in a while -- that's the best you're going to get with them.

    You want to piss off the customers? Disable the fast forward during commercials... Plain and simple... there will be a backlash.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:29PM (#15676327)
    When there were 8 commercials per hour, it was not be worth people's time to skip the ads.
    With 22 commercials per hour, it is not worth the time to watch the show live.

  • Surprising? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Profane MuthaFucka ( 574406 ) <> on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:31PM (#15676353) Homepage Journal
    Not surprising. The television networks clearly don't know a damn thing.

    *) they put their best shows up against the other network's best shows. Sun Tzu said to attack where your enemy is weak. Therefore, when otherwise perfectly fine shows are put up against a category blockbuster, such as Friends, or Seinfeld, they are killed quickly. Altering the schedule to put good shows up against the competition's bad shows would increase the number of viewers for that show.

    *) Sun Tzu also said that the place of battle must not be known to the enemy. I think that Thursday night at 8:00 PM is a known place of battle. If the networks were smart, they would have surprised their enemies and aired a good show on Tuesday night.

    If Machiavelli is your cup of tea, multiple violations can be seen there as well, such as a failure to heed Chapter XIX: "That One Should Avoid Being Despised And Hated".
  • Stupid Idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:33PM (#15676362)
    OK, so now instead of fast forwarding through commercials on my DVR, I just go back to flipping to another channel while commercials are on! Brilliant ABC!
  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:01PM (#15676677) Homepage
    ...and like Br'er Rabbit, we'll get away from them.

    They could be shooting themselves in the foot with this one because it so clearly subtracts a capability that everybody has had for nearly 25 years with VCRs. I imagine even FCC commissioners and congressmen fast-forward now and then.

    And if they succeed? TV becomes less watchable and just buying the show, more desireable. More and more people will give up on anything not enhanced by it's "live" nature (sports, Idol, etc) and just get the download (legal or not) or of course buy or rent the series on DVD a year later.

    Which means the production company still has a business model, but the TV network, not.

    "It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper."
                                                      - Rod Serling
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:04PM (#15676704) Homepage
    Should this ever happen, I will be cancelling my DVR and cable, and not watch any more TV.

    I can't tolerate live TV as it is, and I have occasionally rewound an ad which looked funny which I had skipped. (Like those great VW ads about unpimpin' your ride ;-)

    I won't watch yout (*&#^ Kotex, McDonald's, or Huggies commercials because I can guarantee I will ever be a consumer. Your ad contract with ABC does not extend to me.

    I wish advertisers would outgrow this belief that I am somehow morally/legally bound to watch the stuff I don't want to see that they paid someone else for. Pay me a few hundred extra/month, and I'll personally watch all of the ads during all of the TV I watch. Otherwise, go away!!
  • new idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hurfy ( 735314 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:32PM (#15676984)
    I think i'll read a book.

    Gads, this is already getting stupid and they want to pile on more crap?

    As if having ads every 5 min now (usually for their shows) and running a little ad in the corner for their next show and a logo that seems stuck to my screen just isn't enough....

    I used to get DVDs instead but even those are getting too annoying to bother with. I mostly buy/rent older stuff, much less annoying crap on em. People pay big for convenience, why keep making your stuff less so ?!?

    I made an interesting discovery when i was home during the day last week. Perry Mason must have a 100-year distribution agreement for no cuts...the commercials weren't even enough to go pee. I swear there were like 4 60-90 sec breaks the whole hour.
  • by Senior Frac ( 110715 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:37PM (#15677045) Homepage

    Oh please do this! I hope all channels do this!

    There would have to be some signal that "commercial starts here" and "commercial ends here," otherwise how would the DVR know when to disable fast forward? The OSS DVRs, such as MythTV, could key in on the signal and outright block the commercials entirely. Wow... sign me up!

  • by Jzor ( 982679 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:40PM (#15677094)
    Just slow the commercials way down so they play at normal speed during FFWD!@
  • PBS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Petaris ( 771874 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:01PM (#15677413)
    When I get sick of comercial television or just want to watch something with actual merit I switch over to WPT (Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin's PBS station) or to TPT (Twin Cities Public Television, in MN). They have short little recognitions for sponsors/donors but thats it. The pledge drives can be a little annoying but on the other hand if its for a show you like you get a good 6 hours worth of episodes to watch. And yes I do donate to WPT and to WPR (Wisconsin Public Radio), I'd rather pay for high quality shows then have to sit through commercial breaks that seem to be lasting longer and longer.

    Just my two cents,

    (I would expect lots of geek and nerd comments but I am posting to /. ;D )

  • A la carte TV (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C_Kode ( 102755 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:17PM (#15677617) Journal
    Never completely happen. The only fix is the following. An a la carte pay TV via Internet or Satelite. (can't use Cable because they have to much of their own content and will always try to force garbage TV they created on you) The problem today isn't commercials, it's the fact that TV sucks. If a channel was great people would pay for it without the need to be inundated with commercials. It's the reason I know so many people who pay for NFL Sunday Ticket. I hate garbage shows as much as I hate garbage commericals. I watch pretty much only four families of stations. History Channel(s), Science Channel, National Geographic, and the ESPN Channel(s). Any other stations my viewing habits are spotty at best. I used to watch the Discovery Channel, but it's filled with a ton of garbage now too. (those biker shows were cool the first 10,000 times...)
  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:30PM (#15677815)
    Here is a simple solution if ABC gets there way (other than not watching ABC). For every commercial you are forced to watch because your fast forward button is now disabled, send a letter (not email) to the company with something like the following:

    Dear sirs,

    I was forced to watch your commercial on my dvr last night because ABC has taken it upon themselves to somehow deactivate the fast forward button function. They state they do so to benefit their advertisors. Why your company and ABC believes it has the right to break a piece of equipment that I worked very hard to save for and to purchase, I do not understand. However, since that is your position and my dvr is no longer functioning correctly, I am no longer going to purchase the products you manufacture. Not only that, I am telling my friends and family to boycott your products as well.


    Then follow through on it. Most likely, you will get a letter back saying it is not their policy to do this, but ABC and that they have no control over it. However, companies take serious the threats of boycotts, particularly when they are on grounds such as these. If they have enough complaints, they'll pressure ABC to quit or they will pull their advertising. Either way, in the end, ABC will have to change the practice.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith