Fast-Forwarding Digital Cable

from the will-on-demand-save-digital-cable? dept

The cable companies spent an awful lot of time and money upgrading their systems to offer “digital cable” and only then did they discover that most consumers just aren’t interested. The problem, of course, is that from a consumer standpoint, digital cable doesn’t offer very much that’s compelling. You get a slightly crisper picture (this is debateable) with more channels and an onscreen programming guide. Of course, most users also point out that it’s also much slower to change channels – which is something that’s very noticeable to consumers, and is an issue on which they make buying decisions. Thus, it’s no surprise that cable companies can’t keep digital cable subscribers for very long. Now, however, they’re hoping that by adding some “on-demand” programming, they’ll be offering a feature that people will pay for. Of course, broadcasters hate the idea, and see it as the second coming of TiVo – stealing their revenue. This, of course, is short-sighted, because sooner or later TiVo-like programming is going to come one way or another, so arguing over it doesn’t help any. This article suggests that the networks negotiate with the cable companies to set up a system that compensates them for the loss of advertising revenue. It’s a start, but some of the suggestions (such as forced advertising aren’t going to do much to appeal to end-users). In the end, different broadcasters simply need to realize that the nature of television advertising is changing, and they need to deal with it, instead of trying to pass the blame off on the cable companies or (even worse) the end users. At the same time, though, the cable companies aren’t likely to offer a really compelling “on demand” solution, leaving people to experiment with the “full control” given to them by their own PVR device.

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Comments on “Fast-Forwarding Digital Cable”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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The short and long on advertising is that people DON’T WATCH IT unless it draws their attention. Nobody hangs out for commercials anymore … since the remote control was invented. Hell, channel surfing is even a recognized english term. That said, a good commercial. will keep me tuned in. Enjoy the Budwieser TRUE ads, IBM e-business, the 7-UP guy, ESPN’s self promoting advertising. On the otherside, I’ll flip as quick as I humanly can when I see a Bob’s Furniture commercial, a Microsoft MSN commercial, an AOL commercial, etc.

Word for the networks and for the advertising agencies out there. A good commercial will get people’s attention, TIVO or not. A bad commercial will get you dead air.

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