by Mike Masnick

Would You Pay $1 To Watch A Commercial Free TV Show?

from the do-the-math... dept

The TV industry keeps struggling to come up with plans to "fight" the rise of DVR devices like TiVo. One plan would include the ability to view commercial-free TV shows on demand for about $1 per show. There certainly could be some demand for this... but not that much if people just taped the shows "for free" (ignoring any service fees) via a DVR device. So, it wouldn't be surprising to find out that the other part of this plan would involve blocking devices from commercial skipping on certain programs, or even blocking them from being recorded at all. As some are realizing, however, this would likely be a big stumbling block for many users who would end up watching less TV because of it -- which is exactly the direction TV does not want to go in. Television is now competing with many other forms of media for attention. Stories about how the internet is taking away time from TV are pretty common these days. Putting up walls to make it more difficult to view TV doesn't do the industry any real favors. It simply drives people elsewhere.

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  • identicon
    TJ, 18 Jan 2005 @ 6:51pm

    Might if...

    If networks think people would pay a dollar to see most of the crap they currently turn out then they are more deluded than I think. Even for the better shows, e.g. Lost, a buck per would be too much for a throw-away viewing.

    IF quality shows were the norm, 25 cents per half-hour seems a balanced rate. But people would still expect to be able to time-shift and pause the show. There would still be a missing ingredient though. Pay just to skip commercials? Most people would say "feh!" But DVDs have shown that people eat up special features. Extend that 22 minute (including intro and end titles) episode of the Simpsons or Scrubs to 25 minutes with a few deleted scenes. Have a five minute behind the scenes clip afterward, with different cast/crew interviews and such each week. Maybe offer a unique web link with wallpapers or such. The content would also help build the library of extras for DVD release later. 44 minute shows would get beefed up to a full hour. The marketing would be "less than a penny a minute".

    Make it easy enough to use, and a well-executed format might get traction. But the media industry hasn't seen an opportunity it can't screw up, so I don't expect a good and well-priced version of this to happen in the next five years. It might eventually as 'net based content when channels are basically gone, alongside the version that is free with advertising in some tough-to-skip fashion.

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  • identicon
    steve, 18 Jan 2005 @ 6:58pm

    network programming stale

    Network programming is stale and cowardly. If I were a creative teley producer I'd probably have to take my programming to the internet. Streaming media and digital delivery are going to empower content producers and show just exactly how bad the network execs have been at finding hits.

    The network blue-meanies can get bent. They will never succeed at their efforts against PVR technology and TiVO. Infact they may find themselves at the wrong end of a legal battle.

    Hey if they would only run one commercial at a time, they wouldn't have so many people needing PVR's. Maybe the networks have just gotten greedy with the advertising time/cost/saturation ratio.

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    • identicon
      Mike Storm, 11 Feb 2005 @ 12:31am

      Re: network programming stale

      I am working with a company in Los Angeles who is shunning the network TV model. They believe in the future of streaming media/downloading content. They are creating an Original Series to be launched on the Internet. All I can say is this... it will be provocative, racy, and sexy. (NOT PORN!!) Think of a cross between American gigolo, 9 1/2 weeks and Miami Vice.

      They are currently building their business model and trying to establish whether or not to do subscription based or a PPV situation. After all, you need to generate revenue to keep a series going.

      The question is, will the public be receptive to this type of programming medium?

      Keep your eyes peeled!

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  • identicon
    Brian Shock, 19 Jan 2005 @ 8:07am

    No Subject Given

    I wouldn't pay a cent just to watch tv shows without commercials. The Fast-Forward button just isn't all that difficult to operate.

    On the other hand, I download most of my tv from the Web, and most people are usually polite enough to remove commercials from their files before offering them.

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    • identicon
      LEF, 19 Jan 2005 @ 11:34am

      downloadable TV

      Due to job/house changes, I had to live in a TV-free house for the past 9 months and other than the summer olympics, haven't missed it a bit. That said, I'm sure I still buy consumer products that are advertised on TV (without seeing commericals) so I'm wondering if this whole broadcast advertising model will eventually be replaced by other methods.

      suppose i should look into downloading a tv show or two, but haven't found a good app/site, anyone have suggestions?

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  • icon
    Rick Gutleber (profile), 19 Jan 2005 @ 12:05pm

    paying for TV shows

    If I'm going to pay for something, I want something I can watch over again. That's why people like DVD's of their favorite shows.

    I will not pay for a single viewing, seeing as how hardware failures, network failures or software crashes are virtually guaranteed to make me lose my money at some point in the future.

    I would gladly support a model that distributes shows freely like Bittorrent does but with the commercials still in. I don't hate commercials that much, but the fact of the matter is that no system like that will ever work. In fact, no system relying on DRM will EVER work, but that won't stop them from saddling us with this baggage for the next 20 years while TV viewership continues to decline.

    Just the fact that the networks can't even keep to a schedule has decreased my TV watching by about 50%. If I don't know when it's on, then it's too much work to find out. Period. The Simpsons has run for 16 years on exactly two time slots. They switched to Sundays after a couple of seasons. I know when it's on and can count on it. Therefore, they can count on me watching it. Futurama on the other hand got moved around and pre-empted so often that I managed to miss almost half of the last season and I was TRYING to watch it every time.

    The media folks are going to have to realize that the less convenient viewing is, the less many people will watch. If I have a TV show on my harddrive or DVD player that I can watch and pause and re-run to my heart's content, I will gladly pay. But take any of those features away and you've lost a customer. I simply won't watch. I'm got other things to do. If you want my eyes, then you need to work for ME.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2007 @ 10:33am

    When I watched broadcast tv I had to put up with commercials because thats how the station made its income. But now I pay for cable, so why do I still have to watch commercials? Big rip-off by the cable companies!

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  • identicon
    bakerrj, 8 Feb 2009 @ 2:37pm

    There are tv show's

    I didn't realize programs still existed. The menu says there is a show on but all I get is commericals. I go from channel to channel and it's nothing but Billy Mayes and Vince from "Scam Wow". Wankers who didn't realized there gold was worth so much, Realty TV, The reality is it's for losers who don't have a life. How did Discover turn itno how to fix uo a crap shack and sell it. How are those jerks off's doing now!!!!! The Obama coin.... what the f**k!!!! Losers wanted change....lol thats what is left out of peoples checks becasuse of this housing mess.... see how far that Obama coin gets ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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