ABC’s President of Advertising Sales is a clueless moron.

ABC President of Advertising Sales Mike Shaw isn’t happy that DVR owners are able to fast forward past commercials and he’s been holding talks with various manufacturers about them including a feature in the future that would disable the fast forward function:

“I would love it if the MSOs, during the deployment of the new DVRs they’re putting out there, would disable the fast-forward [button],” Shaw said.

While MSOs risk losing some of their DVR customers if fast-forwarding were blocked, Shaw said the cable operators—who are beefing up their own local ad sales operations—“are in the same business we’re in.” “They’ve got to sell ads too,” he said. “So if everybody’s skipping everybody’s ads, that’s not a long-term business model for them either.”

That’s not surprising considering his job, but his explanation as to why he thinks there won’t be a backlash from DVR owners is enough to make one wonder what he’s smoking.

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.

“I’m not so sure that the whole issue really is one of commercial avoidance,” Shaw said. “It really is a matter of convenience—so you don’t miss your favorite show. And quite frankly, we’re just training a new generation of viewers to skip commercials because they can. I’m not sure that the driving reason to get a DVR in the first place is just to skip commercials. I don’t fundamentally believe that. People can understand in order to have convenience and on-demand (options), that you can’t skip commercials.”

Perhaps Mr. Shaw would do well to consider some of the polling on why people buy DVRs that’s been done. Terry Heaton points out one such poll that shows skipping commercials is the second most popular benefit of owning a DVR by 62% of respondents. Additionally “watch their program faster by eliminating commericals” was the fourth benefit cited by 55% of respondents. Terry further comments with:

What Mr. Shaw doesn’t want to accept is that time is the new currency and that his industry has done this to themselves. One-third of prime-time viewing is now devoted to marketing, and this revolt against that is driven by a very real need for people to manage a decreasing amount of leisure time.

The 30-second ad model is broken, folks, and we need creative thinking to find ways to overcome it—not crap like this from network executives. The horse has left the barn, and it ain’t comin’ back. Why can’t we bring ourselves to accept that?

My wife wasn’t real thrilled when I signed up for Wide Open West’s DVR offering back when we were still living in Canton, but she grew to appreciate it a bit more once she got used to being able to skip commercials with it. She’ll still occasionally mentions to me that she wishes she could skip commercials on the Charter service her parents have, usually right after a string of ads she finds highly annoying.

Link found via AdJab.

4 thoughts on “ABC’s President of Advertising Sales is a clueless moron.

  1. I would be unhappy, but grudgingly willing, to get a DVR that would be disabled from skipping over a commercial during “normal viewing” (e.g., if you’re within 5 sec of the commercial starting, or during the commercial, the FF function is disabled).  If I could not FF through a show to get to where I left off, or where the spot was I wanted to show someone, or to go to the credits to see who an actor is, etc.—I would toss the box out the window.

    I like skipping commercials.  I also acknowledge that the media creators need something to pay for the content.  Let’s see if we can figure out something that doesn’t involve crippling technology that’s so convenient.

    Frankly?  I’d rather double my cable bill, have the extra get paid to the networks involved (or that I watch) and get commercial-free TV.

  2. I wouldn’t buy one if I couldn’t do the 30 sec skip.  We still watch commercials, since we do see a couple seconds of pretty much each one when we skip, and will stop on something that looks interesting.  But, when you get the same damn commercial at almost every break, it’s time to skip it. 

    What they need to do is product placement.  Hell, it was pretty damn obvious the Ford product placement on Alias, but that didn’t distract my enjoying the show.  I don’t even mind the quick “this show sponsored by …” blurbs.  Just as long as I’m not forced to sit through the same long ass commercial. 

    From what I’ve seen, ABC needs to get it’s head out of it’s ass.  The other networks aren’t much better, but ABC seems to be the dumbest.  Well, maybe just b/c they’re the ones who’ve pissed me off the most.

    If they want me to watch commercials with a dvr and no ff, they’ll have to GIVE me a dvr for free.

  3. As soon as they disable the commercial skip/ff function on typical DVRs, people will just stop buying Tivos and ReplayTVs.

    I think there’s already several software solutions that allow people to set up Linux and Windows boxes to act as DVRs. 

    If the industry can’t even prevent people from cracking DVD codes, how the hell do they expect to prevent people from developing DVR software for their personal computers?

    Hell, I’m already thinking that I’ll end up hooking up a computer as a DVR, because you get the added bonus of being able to play a variety of media formats straight from your harddrive, rather than burning them to disk first.

    As someone else so elegantly phrased it, these guys are nuts.  The horse is well out of the barn.

  4. I assume you’re discussing stuff you recorded. If there was a way to ff through ‘live’ ads I want to know.  This has been happening since the VCR was invented.

    The comercial channels/Right in UK moan about the BBC (publically funded via licence compusory to any on who receives TV- you can own one to play DVDs/VCRs without a licence).  they say its unfair.  However their ad revenue is falling, and all they seem to show is game shows, soaps, reality shows and phone in quizzes.  All the innotive stuff is on the BBCV.  The BBC can make stuff that isn’t commercial because of guaranteed income.  I am glad for that.

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