Would Satellite TV Providers Ditch Commercials?
from the interesting-battles... dept
With all this talk about the battles convergence creates, one potentially interesting one is whether or not pay TV providers would ever experiment with ripping out commercials from programs. Already, some “premium” channels come without commercials and satellite radio has tried the “commercial-free” game also. However, plenty of existing TV stations come with lots of commercials, leading to the possibility that a pay TV provider could, in theory, offer a DVR service that would get rid of commercials. That, at least, is the speculation after it was revealed that UK satellite TV provider BSkyB has received a patent for a DVR device that skips ads automatically or that can just record portions of shows (such as just recording a favorite band’s appearance on a music video station). Of course, it seems a bit questionable as to how this is patentable. Commercial skip technology has been around for a while, and is hardly “non-obvious.” Also, BSkyB responds in the article in a way suggesting they just got the patent to use it to charge anyone else who dared to offer such features, while having no plans to offer the feature themselves. Still, it does raise some interesting questions about whether or not part of the battle is going to come from pay TV providers (both cable and satellite) and the broadcasters. There have already been a few very public battles about how much certain channels cost to get included in a pay TV offering — and it’s not hard to see the cable and satellite providers eventually respond by threatening to cut out commercials to get some more leverage in the negotiations.