TiVo has always realized that the use of their technology to skip commercials was going to be an issue. For years, they've tried to come up with new and innovative (sometimes more successfully than other times) ways to change the way TV advertising is done, to make it fit better in a TiVo-ized world. Three years ago, for instance, they tried an interesting strategy of having a sweepstakes that required you to get info from a series of commercials. The TiVo would automatically record and store those commercials, and you could watch them, answer the sweepstakes questions, and possibly win a Lexus (the commercials were for a new Lexus model). Earlier this year, they started testing a feature that would let users click for more info during a commercial to make it more interactive. Both of these approaches focused on making the ads more proactive on the part of the user -- which is great for targeting. The people who take part are obviously interested and, thus, well targeted. However, that still hasn't satisfied the industry who still has this fascination with untargeted advertising spread as widely as possible. That's why some of them still want to ban commercial skipping altogether. So, the latest TiVo move is an effort to appease those folks, by placing advertisements on the screen as you fast forward (which might sound familiar to some). This is, really, an expansion of the earlier "click for more info" program, because the banners that show up will be clickable and will lead to more info. Sometime next year, TiVo also hopes to add a commerce function so people can buy while they're watching. Whether or not anyone will use that (they're fast forwarding for a reason, after all, and it isn't to buy more stuff, but to watch the rest of what they're watching) is still a pretty big question. In the meantime, though, start expecting commercials as you fast forward through your commercials.
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