Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Tivo's new ads

Tivo is taking some heat for their upcoming addition of ads that will be displayed while you fast-forward through commercials. While it is a little upsetting that they're making an unwanted change to the existing service (leading to the possibility that they will disable the 30-second skip command to force people to fast-foward through commercials in the traditional way to see these ads), I don't think it will be a big deal. As far as I can tell it's just an extension of the "press thumbs up to record" overlay they're already doing for TV-show ads. The ads will only be there when there's already an ad on your screen that you're fast-forwarding through, but this one will be legible.

This could even be a good thing for users. These new ads are potentially individually targetable and measurable (with a remote-control "clickthrough"). If it works out well (and admittedly that's a big "if"), ads like these can replace the more intrusive TV ads just like Google's and Overture's targeted text ads are replacing banners. I'd be happy to have a few ads on my screen while fast-forwarding if it meant that the Tivo knew when the commercial ended and would resume normal playback automatically.