Could pop-up ads be headed to your TV next?

According to an article over at” href=“”>Engadget, the next target for pop-up advertising might be your digitial cable service.

Since everyone loves pop-up ads on the Internet so much, a company called MyDTV is working on a system called ContentIQ that would bring them to digital television, as well. You could be watching a show and an ad could appear for a pay-per-view movie starting in a few minutes. Supposedly the pop-ups would only be for programming that matches viewers’ pre-defined “profile”, but obviously it could be used to insert advertising for anything, and in the post-TiVo age, this might prove a little too tempting for networks trying to shore up revenues.

Ugh. Just checked the MyDTV website and here’s what the official blurb had to say:

How does it work? CONTENT IQ’s unique architecture connects directly to programmers’ production systems. This enables access to the most comprehensive, real-time program information available – including segments within shows. MyDTV, Inc. automatically generates metadata from this information and continuously broadcasts it to the viewer’s digital receiver. When upcoming programming matches the viewer-defined profile, a recommendation pops-up on whatever channel the viewer is watching. The viewer can then click on the recommendation to access the desired channel or continue watching current programming.

A top 5 cable operator rolled out the MyDTV solution in Southern California. The usage and positive impact on churn rates and PPV were impressive:

  • 87% used the MyDTV solution
  • 83% switched channels at least once when prompted
  • Churn rates improved by 35%
  • PPV buy rates increased 40%

A Mel Gibson fan is watching a news program. An on-screen message recommends the viewer watch “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” which will air on a PPV channel in one minute. The viewer may then choose to click on the alert to tune to the movie. The viewer is happy because he saw a recommendation to see his favorite actor and is willing to pay the $3.95 to watch the movie as a result.

Oh yeah, I’m definitely not looking forward to widespread adoption of this technology. Hopefully there will be a way to turn that crap off seeing as I never used PPV services on my cable system as it is.

6 thoughts on “Could pop-up ads be headed to your TV next?

  1. If all it’s pointing PPV (or cable movie networks), I agree.

    Now, if it were configurable to warn me about shows that I ask for, sort of a Poor Man’s TiVO … that would be cool.

  2. My digital cable already does that. I can go into the program guide and ask it to remind me about future programs I want to watch. When the time draws near it pops up a box asking if I want to switch to that channel or not. Of course, if I’m not watching TV at the time then it doesn’t do a damned thing, but it’s a nice thing to have for when I am.

  3. So then all we need is a “popup blocker” for our TVs/cable/TIVOs then.

    Iv had TIVO for about 1 1/2 years now, love it TV would suck without it.
    I might arbitrarily or accidentally see a commercial now maybe 1 or 2 for every 5+ hours of programming I watch.
    I never miss a show I want to see, I can watch an hour show in about 40 mins, so end up watching everything I want to see and spending less time doing it.

  4. I loves me some Replay. The skip-30-seconds-sight-unseen feature was the tie-breaker, although I’m itching to roll my own PVR from open-source components.

    What I really miss is the VCR programming signal they have or had in Germany. Much to the chagrin of the advertisers the stations dropped the signals during commercial interrupts and the smarter VCRs stopped and restarted accordingly.

  5. How about if we’re not Mel Gibson fans. Can we push a button to give him a small jolt of electricity when the ad pops up? Now that would be cool!

  6. Yeah, my cable box does the same thing—though the pre-popup time is only 5 minutes, which makes it easy to miss.  Problem is, I can’t say, “Remind me in perpetuity of whenever Justice League is on” or something like that—I have to go to each individual broadcast and request an reminder.

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