TV Networks, Studios Sue Cablevision For Helping Them Attract Viewers

from the shooting-yourself-in-the-foot dept

After Cablevision announced its plans to create a network-based DVR, it wasn't surprising to see TV networks throw a fit over it. It's even less surprising to hear that three major networks and four TV studios have now sued Cablevision. They allege fair use doesn't apply to companies that have licensed their content only for simultaneous rebroadcast, a point with which Cablevision disagrees. The bigger issue, though, isn't the legality of the service, but the TV companies' need to shut down a service that will make the public's viewing experience of their shows easier and better. The problem seems to be that they think this is a zero-sum game, that only one party can, or perhaps should, benefit here, so of course they want to set up a system that only benefits them. That's short-sighted, and when they end up hurting the end user, all they're really hurting is themselves. The current broadcast TV model is broken, and networks are struggling to adapt. It's obvious, though, that trying to shut down services to make it easier for people to watch their shows isn't the way forward.
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  1. identicon
    Clifford VanMeter, 25 May 2006 @ 11:01am


    I'm a partner in a small ad agency and I've been watching my industry drive itself into a full-fledged tizzy for the past few of years over the ability of Tivo users to skip commercials. Add to that the fact that the lucrative 18-35 year old demographic is deserting network and cable TV in favor of video games and the internet and you have set the stage for an industry-wide panic that is also at the core of small-minded legalistic efforts like this to limit the spread of technology.

    So while most of the big agencies, who are about as nimble as the Titanic was, are trying harder and harder to shove more and more ads down fewer and fewer throats, there are some agencies that are looking hard at alternatives. Sponsorships, product placement, viral marketing, buzz-marketing are all succeeding in getting customers without the unsolicited interruption of traditional commercial spots.

    Personally, I think we're headed back to a sponsorship model similar to shows of the '50s in the short term. How many of these "Brought to you without commercial interruption by..." have cropped up in the last couple of years.

    Over the long-term, we'll get to real interactive TV (more like a computer than an idiot box) you can also start adding direct ecommerce into the mix -- what we call V-Commerce. Like those jeans Sawyer is wearing in the latest episode, click on them and buy them. Want to book a vacation at the Hawaiian resort where they film Lost, click on any tree and order it up. These aren't pipe dreams, this can can be done right now with available technologies. We just need the right delivery systems.

    Advertising in its current form is mostly Spam -- unsolicited interruptions. We won't see a turn around in this downward spiral agencies and advertisers face until we can turn forced advertising into opportunities to buy by request.

    No amount of legal bitching and bullying is going to stop the roll of technology. Get over it, find new models or die the same slow lingering death as "commercial" television.

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