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Using horespower and other silliness

September 3, 2008

We use horsepower to describe car engines. That car has a 228 HP engine. This is true even though 228 horses have a maximum speed and adding more horses doesn’t make something fo faster, it only makes it go easier.

This is important to realize because we often use old technologies, and the things we know from them in new technologies. Take online TV. This blog has long argued a number of things about online TV. Like how it’s different. And how ABC is missing a huge opportunity.

ABC 1946 logoImage via Wikipedia

This post is because of this article: The title goes: Forrester: TV Ads Will Start to Resemble Web Ads

Web Ads, they say. Web ads are PODS that users are forced to watch when watching TV online. Some of them offer interactivity, but most of them are re-purposed 30 second spots thrown on the screen with a headline. When watching shows on Hulu, Fancast or the network.coms, users are forced to watched the ad. This ‘forced to watch the ad’ business is an attempt to circumvent DVRs.

The Forrester article asks the obvious question:

“Why would viewers, particularly those who have grown accustomed to zapping through ads on their TiVos and On Demand cable boxes, be willing to go back to non-skippable ads?”

The answer is price, says David Graves in his while paper hat costs $279: Personal TV: The Reinvention Of Television.“Personal TV With Targeted Commercials Will Take The Waste Out Of TV Advertising” says the subhead. Here’s the free exert.

“TV advertising has been suffering from media fragmentation and ad skipping. Under pressure from advertisers, traditional television networks finally team up with cable multiple system operators (MSOs) and telco services to build a modern ad-supported television delivery system called Personal TV. It will serve non-skippable, interactive targeted ads to the set-top box (STB) and insert them at runtime in both linear and video on demand (VOD) programs. Advertisers will use the system to send interactive ads just to their target consumers or to address a mass audience by inserting an ad at the same time in many different programs at a certain time of day. The benefit for viewers is a free VOD system. The full industry shift to Personal TV will take a decade, but given the impact of this system on media strategy and planning, marketing leaders should start today by joining one of the experiments.”

We disagree because we think he’s missing something. (Admittedly without reading the article since it costs $279 and we don’t have that kind of scratch to spend on a white paper)

Like our house on most nights, we think it’s missing the remote control. It’s the thing that clearly makes TV watching different from online TV watching. At ABC.com, I can’t flick away from Lost because there’s no where to go.

Sure I can check mail (muting the ad), but after a while, it’s quicker to just watch the damn thing. I’ll watch the ads because i know that a one hour show is really just 40 minutes.

But people like to flick on TV. It’s a well established behavior. To get people to give that up, I think, is gonna take more than cheap TV.

Especially since that’s what’s offered online right now! Anyone can watch virtually anything now, on demand. And they can easily take the feed from a computer and watch it on their TV. When watching TV, the ability to flick is critical.

We didn’t read the report, but we’re thinking that this isn’t thinking online TV all the way through.

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