Friday, June 22, 2012

Advertisers Happy, Viewers Not 

News that Time-Warner cable has patented a function to disable fast forwarding on digital video recorders makes for an interesting PR challenge.  Time-Warner invented the technology for advertisers so viewers won't skip over ads.  However, that is precisely what viewers want to do.  Who wins?  Viewers won't, but the cable company has put itself in a position of pleasing one stakeholder group at the expense of another.  From a bottom-line perspective, it us unlikely Time-Warner will lose many viewers if it rolls out this technology, and that is almost certainly what the company is counting on.  If it does, the company might need to think again.  However, the economics of cable depend on keeping both eyeballs and advertising, so there is no easy solution.  One job of public relations will be to balance the tensions.

Hmm, this is very interesting that Time-Warner cable is willing to do this to their viewers. It's also interesting this was announced close to the time Dish and its Auto Hop technologies came about. I'm definitely all for commercial-skipping, so that's why I am a proud owner of a Hopper DVR. It's awesome that Dish is going with what their viewers want, and are giving us the option to watch commercials or not, on the shows it does work for. I actually feel like I'm watching a TV show now, since 20 minutes of commercials are skipped over in an hour show. My coworkers at Dish and I are definitely curious to see how this all plays out for Time-Warner.

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