It was about four years ago that Turner Broadcasting's chief, Jamie Kellner, made his famous statement
about people who channel surf during commercials or who go to the bathroom are "stealing" television. He was eventually ousted from Turner, but it sounds like his spirit lives on at ABC. Slashdot
points out that ABC TV execs have been talking about ways to ban people from using their DVRs to skip commercials
. Of course, if they did so, they'd probably have to license the patent from Philips
. What's amazing is that ABC execs actually think this is a reasonable strategy. In fact, ABC's head of ad sales actually claimed that consumers don't really care about the commercial skip feature:
"I'm not so sure that the whole issue really is one of commercial avoidance. 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."
Apparently, he wasn't paying attention to the backlash Philips got just for patenting this idea (even with no intention of making a product). How many times does it need to be said that pissing off your users is the worst
way to build a business these days -- especially in an age where there are many, many, many more choices for someone's time and attention?