Monday, May 08, 2006

Digital TV recording to change tv advertising

The implications of digital recording for traditional television advertising can be seen in data collected by TiVo, which has 4.4 million subscribers: when its customers watch recorded programs, they skip 70 percent of the commercials.

This has not escaped the notice of advertisers. Josh Bernoff, a principal analyst at Forrester, predicted that "next year, you'll see significant decline in TV ad spending as a result of digital video recorders."

The television industry has not figured out how best to respond. Four years ago, Jamie Kellner, then head of the Turner Broadcasting System, remarked in an interview in CableWorld magazine that viewers who used DVR's to fast-forward past commercials were committing "theft," then a moment later described it as "stealing the programming." He did allow trips to the bathroom as a noncriminal exemption.

James Boyle, a law professor at Duke University, said that broadcasters offer a program knowing that only a fraction of the audience watches the commercials. Advertisers, he added, buy nothing more than "an option on a probability."

What if the authors of the work were to fully exercise the protections of copyright and impose control over the copying of their creative work?

The Times mentions Professor Picker of the University of Chicago: Randal C. Picker, a law professor of the University of Chicago, pointed to the commercial availability of network programs at places like iTunes as another enormously important change to be considered by the court if a case like Sony were litigated today.

How to pay for free television is the overarching but unanswered question, Professor Picker said. Speaking as a viewer, he said: "I want the other guy to watch advertising. But we can't all not watch.

[from the New York Times]


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