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30 Seconds Going Faster Than Ever

A few years ago, at the dawn of the Tivo era, Jamie Kellner, CEO of Turner Broadcasting said:

[Skipping commercials is] theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you’re going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn’t get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial . . . you’re actually stealing the programming.

He was afraid that 10 years from now, when everybody who has a TV also has a tivo-like device, nobody would ever watch a commercial again. And he wasn’t alone. Lots of broadcasters were bemoaning the death of their business model, as they do whenever a new technology emerges. As it turns out, though, they were all wrong.

[A] lot of people with digital video recorders are not fast-forwarding and time-shifting as much as advertisers feared. According to new data released yesterday by the Nielsen Company, people who own digital video recorders, or DVRs, still watch, on average, two-thirds of the ads.

8 Responses to “30 Seconds Going Faster Than Ever”

  1. BobG Says:

    It depends on the ads; some of them are better than the regular programming, others really suck. If they want people to watch commercials, make a better product.

  2. AlanDP Says:

    I don’t. I don’t watch even a single split millisecond of an ad if I can help it. I even tape shows and go read a book while they’re taping so I can watch them later without commercials. I hate commercials.

  3. #9 Says:

    Considering the programing they should be paying us. By the hour.

  4. chris Says:

    Turner’s career peaked when he won the America’s Cup.

    He used to be worth around $8 – 10 Billion (as I recall), and he recently said that his current net worth was less than $1 Billion.

    I don’t recall whether he was part of the AOL-TimeWarner debacle, which was an unmitigated economic disaster, but he was certainly along for the ride.

    He may have voted against it, I just don’t recall.

    He also pledged $1 Billion to the UN, and I believe that he continues to make payments on it.

  5. SayUncle Says:

    I think some shows are incorporating ads into the shows. Also, alphie had a bit a while back about how folks buying ads were putting coupon codes in the ads. the codes could only be seen by those with a DVR pause button.

  6. _Jon Says:

    This statement:

    Your contract with the network when you get the show is you’re going to watch the spots.

    is compelling, but wholly inaccurate. Such a “contract” does not exist between the network and the viewer – the “contract” exists between the network and the producer (e.g. studio that sells the show).

    The viewer has no obligation to watch the show, therefore no obligation to watch the commercials. Extended from that, even if the network is broadcasting shows on the “assumption” that the customer will view the ads, such an assumption is not a contract. It is merely a business model that the network has chosen to use. They could use other methods to generate income and produce a profit for their holders. The network has chosen an interstitial advertisement business model. That does not obligate their viewers in any way.

    He’s wrong. Or he’s misguided. Or he’s a moron. Or all of the previous.

  7. Brutal Hugger Says:

    Chris, it’s worth noting that Ted Turner didn’t say this. The quote is from Jamie Kellner. Turner is just the name of the company.

  8. Xrlq Says:

    Whoever it was is a retard. We might as well accuse him of theft, on the theory that saying something that stupid “robs” us of a few brain cells.

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