I like watching TV. I watch TV shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, but the bulk of what I watch is via cable TV, where I use a DVR. The DVR is both because I want to time-shift and to fast-foward through ads.
Yesterday I read a horrifying post at VentureBeat about a firm called Watchwith. Watchwith has developed a way to insert ads onto TV shows. In other words, assuming Watchwith has its way, between the commercial breaks of a show we'll get even more ads that pop up during content.
This is terrible news for TV viewers.
It's bad enough that we already have ads for other TV shows covering the bottom 20% of our screen every 10 minutes, now we're going to have ads for personal injury lawyers or car dealerships appearing in the corners, too. It's the next step in the death of TV.
While I want to rant about how awful this sounds, I also have to admit that I'm part of the problem since I do fast-forward through ads. The appeal (to advertisers) of these 'overlay' ads is that you can't skip them without skipping the content as well.
In my defense, I only fast-forward through bad ads. Since my DVR doesn't skip the ads, I can see them as I hold my thumb on the FF button. It's not unusual for an ad to catch my attention, at which point I'll stop and watch it. For example, have you seen this ad for Honda?
I stopped to watch that one the first time it played, and will probably do so again. Craft a quality ad, or run an ad about a genuinely interesting product, and I'll watch it.
Getting back to Watchwith, I can only hope someone comes up with the equivalent of an ad-blocker for TV to combat them. It's the same battle we've seen advertisers and consumers having on the web, where advertisers throw so many awful ads at us that it becomes an act of self-defense to install an ad-blocker. Now that same behavior is (potentially) going to come to our TV screens.
Oh well, I should spend more time reading anyway...