Popup ads on your TV
July 16, 2002 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Popup ads on your TV So, the media moguls have decided that they're tired of you ignoring their advertising...and thus, they will now insert popup ads into the live feeds. And you thought product placement was annoying. From Slashdot
posted by dejah420 (48 comments total)
 
Oh sweet Lord, dejah420, that sounds awful. On TNT, no less...

None of this might be happening if traditional 30-second commercials got more respect

Is it too late to promise to respect them from now on?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2002


Imminent death of television predicted...
posted by dong_resin at 9:27 AM on July 16, 2002


If this happens, I've got to believe people will watch less television. I, for one, will certainly cut back. Who knows, it could lead to a rennaissance for independant book stores and theatres. I can imagine Netflix will be doing quite a bit of business, as well.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:28 AM on July 16, 2002


I saw one of the experimental TNT pop up ads. Only one.
posted by plaino at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2002


"Hey, here's something that sucks on the web. I bet we could implement it on teevee."

Why "independent" book stores and theaters? I'd love to believe it, but wouldn't people who like crap seek out crap in a different format?
posted by yerfatma at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2002


When the Chairman and CEO of Turner broadcasting said skipping commericals was theft, he was serious. We all laughed, but the guy was pissed, and now this is what they have come up with.

Remind me never to watch TNT again.
posted by mathowie at 9:33 AM on July 16, 2002


You already put up with this when you watch sporting events on ESPN or news on FOX/CNN/Bloomberg, so the theory is you won't be bothered when the program only occupies 60% of the screen and ads fill up the rest.

P.S. I predict someone will make a lot of money selling a device that strips these ads out, too.
posted by briank at 9:33 AM on July 16, 2002


if this becomes rampant, i forsee the TV as a device dying as computers with video capture cards become more popular, and part of the popularity will be software that kills these popups. they never learn do they?
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 9:34 AM on July 16, 2002


I for one am getting so #@%_&( sick of pop-up ads it's actually cutting down my use of the net. It's not that closing an ad is really all that much work, it's that it takes momentary control of my pc and cuts me off in mid-sentence, or out of the cell I was in in excel.

It's just damned annoying and I wouldn't purchase something advertised to me via popup at gunpoint because of it.
posted by revbrian at 9:34 AM on July 16, 2002


I remember we were the first house on our block to get cable in 1982. One of the big draws was that there were no commercials! Why? Because we were paying a monthly cable bill. Whatever happened to that?
posted by goto11 at 9:36 AM on July 16, 2002


Hey, if they want to devalue their own product, let them cut off their nose to spite their face.
posted by jmccorm at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2002


skottkramer: One of the big draws was that there were no commercials! Why? Because we were paying a monthly cable bill. Whatever happened to that?

As I recall, there was a disconnect between cable companies who collected money for the feed and the people who created the content, in much the same way that there's a disconnect between your ISP and someone who has a web page.
posted by hob at 9:47 AM on July 16, 2002


Hold on. I'm paying for cable/satellite yet I have to deal with intrusive commercials?

Now that digital is here, why not just drop this ridiculous 500+ channel system and just bill me for the shows I watch. No commercials; no silliness. It would pay for the shows, give the networks an incentive to make good television, and keep my bills down.

The way cable/satellite is being delivered today is something like being billed $100 from the electric company regardless of how long you leave the A/C on. I don't like paying for the crappy networks and I especially hate subsidizing marginalized religious channels because of this system.

Sure, no one is going to stand for this, but if you like the USA channel you're probably not going to boycott it and eventually you'll just deal with it. Did anyone stop the movie theaters from forcing commercials down your throat after you've paid 8.75 just to get it?
posted by skallas at 9:51 AM on July 16, 2002


DOES THIS MEAN I CAN TURN OFF JAVASCRIPT ON MY TEEVEE?

Err, this is great, excellent news. Finally some sort of slow, methodical way of forcing The Television Audience, also known as Lazy Americans (tm), to turn that set off and try, well, reading.

Or maybe something more productive than reading-- like video games!

Yeah, that's the ticket.

I can't wait until these things start running on "news" channels like CNN and Fox News and make offical the Invalidation of Television News.
posted by xmutex at 9:52 AM on July 16, 2002


I for one am getting so #@%_&( sick of pop-up ads it's actually cutting down my use of the net.

Revbrian download mozilla, then go into the preferences. Under 'advanced' there is an option to disable all popups and popunders. It's the best feature I've seen in the new browser.
posted by mathowie at 10:01 AM on July 16, 2002


Omigod if they interrupt Friends I'll be like so totally pissed.
posted by almostcool at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2002


From the article:
The pop-up ads on TNT didn't spark a wave of angry phone calls or e-mails from viewers, said Koonin, who considers the ads a success.

Interesting - if enough people called, would they stop? Maybe this is our chance to stop this insanity (and saving TV from itself in the process)?
posted by Triplanetary at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2002


Now that digital is here, why not just drop this ridiculous 500+ channel system and just bill me for the shows I watch.

This is of course an idea so brilliant yet simple that the cable companies would be fools to not adopt it. Which explains why in the last 20 years, they have not yet adopted it (same goes for satellite companies).
posted by insomnyuk at 10:11 AM on July 16, 2002


I am going to go against the grain here and say that I like it! TV Networks must do anything they can to make money. Whether it be the FedEx Gator Bowl, product placements in shows or pop-ups. Without it they will eventually go out of business because of technologies like Tivo. Sure, many times I change the channel or go to the fridge when a commercial comes on anyway but Tivo is different.

Many people may become angry and turn to DVD's, books, sex etc... but there will still be a huge audience for traditional TV. They will put up with it to watch crap like "Friends" and "Dog Eat Dog". Eventually we'll all get used to it.

Remember that if you have a problem with it, you don't have to watch it. This will be the only way to change it. My guess is people will accept it.
posted by chainring at 10:12 AM on July 16, 2002


You already put up with this when you watch sporting events on ESPN or news on FOX/CNN/Bloomberg

True enough. If I heard "And now, from our Southwest Airlines goal-cam..." one more time during the NHL playoffs, I was going to puke.

I just try to avoid the Web sites that have popups as much as I can.
posted by adampsyche at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2002


Look at the movie going experience - you pay $8-10 per person to get in, obstensivly to watch "a movie". Along with that you now get, before the product you are paying for, rotating ad cards (some local ads, some "sponsered" by big companies like Coke) and short commericals. You then sit through 5-6 comming attraction trailers (and in some theaters, ads pretending to be trailers). THEN you get to see your movie.

If I show up 15 minutes after the published movie start time, skipping all the ad filler, am I "stealing" the movie?

While I doubt it will happen, it would be nice to have a non-ad "premium" channel, showing only what I want to see, and charging me appropriately for that content. Personal Pay-Per-View, maybe?

It will take a powerful media mogul to make it happen, or else it will rise up from the underground.

Of course, internet radio rose up from the underground, and the RIAA was able to kill it. I fear dejah420's Media Moguls will do the same.
posted by jazon at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2002


Everything should go to a video-on-demand type system. If you want to watch this week's Friend's or Will & Grace, you pay two dollars. Want to watch something else, pay for it. My digital cable now streams content, movies, shows, on demand, with Tivo-like features. If they are going to complain that I am skipping commercials with Tivo (which I am, laughing at Ted Turner), then let me pay for it without the commercials.

Just don't charge me from stuff I don't watch. Trinity Broadcasting Channel, baseball games from 20 years ago, the really-fast-left-turn-with-your-foot-on-the-gas channel, etc. I want television on my terms, which is why I use Tivo. Give me what I want, or I won't buy any more. I'm a white male age 18-45, plus I'm gay so I have high disposable income because I don't have a family, so they must do what I say. I am their demographic.
posted by benjh at 10:31 AM on July 16, 2002


If I show up 15 minutes after the published movie start time, skipping all the ad filler, am I "stealing" the movie?

Well, you'll still be able to savour the sight of your favourite superhero sipping at the movie sponsor's brand-name soda. (Product placement is such a bitch).
posted by astirling at 10:33 AM on July 16, 2002


chainring = Jamie Kellner : )

I've always had a question about this sort of advertising: Will irritating viewers make them buy things? If advertisers are so desperate that they rely on brutalist techniques like interrupting the programming with some floating ad, shouldn't that be a message to them that either their product or their advertising techniques suck?

The same goes with pop-up ads. Does ANYONE buy things from pop-up ads? Is there any data on their actual effectiveness? When I get a pop-up, I deliberately squint my eyes so I can't see the ad while I close it. This method of visual prophylaxis always reminds me of the slightly psychotic routines we are forced to adopt in order to shield our minds from advertising.

But then, I'm probably a bit more sensitive than most viewers. I was devastated when every channel started branding itself with the little logo bug in the bottom right corner of the screen, or when they started squishing the credits into an unreadable little box so they can show ads while they are running.

Sigh. I feel like going to the window and screaming: "I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!"

I'm just afraid that Jamie Kellner and his teevee executive buddies would shout "Then jump! We don't give a fuck!" from the sidewalk below.
posted by evanizer at 10:35 AM on July 16, 2002


My husband and I had already decided that once the little nipper was old enough to be enamored of the big electronic tit that is TV, we were going to unplug it and put it in a closet. It's no big deal to move a small TV back out for movies, games, etc. My parents didn't let us watch TV and his parents had a strict 3 hour a week rule...and we both grew up to be voracious readers, honor students and had tons of extracurricular activities.

If this goes into effect, it just means I'll unplug the TV sooner. The thing is, it's not like there's really that much that's worth watching on TV anymore anyway. It's all become pabulum and crap. If we have the TV on anymore now, it's mostly for cartoons, Nascar, (yes, I admit it...I'm enough of a redneck to like Nascar), and periodically for news...but I get more and better news on the net. As jmccorm said, let them cut off their noses to spite their face.

Let us remember however, that we as American taxpayers, subsidize these networks. No network has ever paid for it's use of the broadcast spectrum. Here's another article about it. (The colors are horrid...you've been warned.)

In theory, the airwaves - radio and TV - belong to the people. Under the government's former Fairness Doctrine, broadcasters were required to provide programming on critical issues of public importance and ensure a "reasonable opportunity for the presentation of contrasting views." In the late 1980s, Ronald Reagan deregulated broadcasting and, in the process, eradicated the Fairness Doctrine. (Remember how no 3rd party candidates are allowed to debate in elections? Hmmm?)

The 1996 federal Telecommunications Act pushed the public's airwaves further under the control of private commercial interests. Now, broadcasters can (and do) discharge their duty to air programs that address the problems and needs of the community by playing syndicated "issues oriented" shows such as "Oprah" and "Judge Judy".

So, I don't think it's terribly surprising that those same tax subsidized, self-privatized airwaves will be used to disrupt "programming" to deliver ads.

Oh, and this message brought to you by the letter Z and the number 23.
posted by dejah420 at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2002


I have had no cable/tv feed since I moved last month. Charter has to splice into the wire going by the house, and they seem to be taking their time. No problem here. Getting more work done around the house, watching all my documentary videos again. Reading more. All I really want the cable for is the broadband(BB) access. So I can game my ass off!!! It has long been my opinion the television basically sucks, aside from A&E, The History Channel, TLC and TDC there is very little else worth watching. What with shows like "The Osbournes" garnering ratings these days, it is no wonder I won't watch tv.
They can have as many popup ads as they want to, I for one, will not be watching them.
I agree with skallas, why not make every channel PPV and charge me for what I actually watch? I would save a lot of money, but then they will turn around and start charging me for actual bandwidth used on the BB side no doubt. DOH!!
posted by a3matrix at 10:46 AM on July 16, 2002


I simply won't watch channels or shows that feature pop-up advertising. I don't know how many others there are like me, but I hope there'll be enough to make an impact.

Example: When they started rerunning "Star Trek" on TNN, I started watching ... and lasted about 10 minutes. The constant barrage of ads underneath the image (which is unnaturally squeezed to accomodate the ad ticker) was unbearable. I've started collecting the "ST:TNG" DVD sets now -- they're expensive, but never again will I have to watch the ghastly TNN to see them.

Unfortunately, most of the teeming masses will probably just sit through it all ...

For everything else ... well, we're getting a TiVo soon. I can't wait.
posted by chuq at 11:10 AM on July 16, 2002


yerfatma said: "Why 'independent' book stores and theaters? I'd love to believe it, but wouldn't people who like crap seek out crap in a different format?"

You're right, yerfatma, thanks for calling me on that. I tend to prefer independant stores, but that's certainly not the only available option. My point was that, although people may like the crap on television, there might by a smaller supply of crap in other media. That may or may not be the case, but any decrease in television viewership has to be a good thing.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2002


when every channel started branding itself with the little logo bug in the bottom right corner of the screen

This absolutely drives me apeshit when its covering a relevant part of the screen, and when the always mediocre local tv stations do it with their logo and weather warnings, it makes some shows impossible to watch. It can be visually tuned out, and I don't find it bothersome for news channels that have lots of graphics on their already, but its the equivalent of going to see the Mona Lisa and finding a translucent "Brought to you By the Louvre" logo on top.

Widespread adoption of pop-up ads drove me to use mozilla more frequently on the web. I'm not as attached to TV, however, so the increased inconvenience might just drive me away. If only Tivo became an all-in-one TV ad-wiping solution. Every consumer would then buy a Tivo, until the media providers are economically forced to change their business models to a more flexible pay for-play service.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:30 AM on July 16, 2002


This absolutely drives me apeshit when its covering a relevant part of the screen, and when the always mediocre local tv stations do it with their logo and weather warnings, it makes some shows impossible to watch.

The Fox affiliate in the Twin Cities uses a map of all the counties in Minnesota to display weather warnings. The map is huge, and also transparent: you can see bits of the show in each county. This is a problem during the Simpsons, when Bart's shirt can make it look like the entire state is having an apocalyptic rash of tornado warnings.
posted by gimonca at 11:44 AM on July 16, 2002


Don't forget that there are only about half a million TiVo owners now compared to an average network audience of 30 million viewers. The networks don't really feel threatened by TiVo, et.al. just yet. They are, as Bob Thompson says in the article, just exploring different models of advertising as the traditional ones finally run out of steam.
posted by briank at 11:52 AM on July 16, 2002


I give the TNT network three Tivo 'thumbs down.'
posted by Dirjy at 12:08 PM on July 16, 2002


I wouldn't mind pop-up ads if the ads were at least targeted to the website's users. billboard.com is an example. While I didn't get any pop-ups today, in the past all you would see was ads for casinos. Can't the people who sell ads for the magazine sell ads for the website? I wouldn't mind ads for artist's new albums or even some unusable mp3 sites. They could even pop-up an artist's new streaming video or an interactive game (disguised as an ad). Advertisers need to get more creative. Remember those cool IBM banner ads that you could actually hit a golf ball in or play tennis? Those were great - and I even remember the advertiser.

Those who complain about pop-up ads on websites are spoiled. Why should you be able to view the sites content for free? This is why so many sites are trying to charge people for access. The sites can't survive without revenue. It has to come from somewhere. If you had a choice - pop-ups or no site - which would you choose?

With TV it's a little different - but the same. If you had a choice - pop-ups or no TV channel - which would you choose? Fortunately there are a lot of choices but they will change too. There are already DVD's that make you watch or fast forward through an ad before you get to the menu.

btw - The logos in the bottom of the screen is actually a good idea. There are so many channels now it helps to see easily identify what channel you are watching. Yes, the idea has gone a little awry.

Why is it we all hate advertising so much anyway? Advertising pays the bills for almost all of our entertainment choices. (No, I don't work in advertising or media)
posted by chainring at 12:09 PM on July 16, 2002


You really are some sort of network executive, aren't you, chainring? Tell us the truth... On second thought, I suppose that would be impossible if you were an advertiser, wouldn't it?
posted by evanizer at 12:14 PM on July 16, 2002


I was devastated when every channel started branding itself with the little logo bug in the bottom right corner of the screen

And here I thought it was just me.
posted by rushmc at 12:16 PM on July 16, 2002


i gotta say, i can't complain. at this rate, tv will kill itself and nobody will need those stupid bumperstickers.

prediction: when tv finally dies its well-deserved death, people will be able to pick up a copy of "Catcher in the Monsanto(R) Golden Rice(tm) Field" at their local bookrenter company. of course, you won't be allowed to leave the premises (under threat of death) because you might copy the book. you will also be given high potency short term memory erasing tonic to decrease the chance that you might remember the story and repeat it to someone else... and anyway, all good citizens in the future will be legally required to respect GE AOL Time Warner MSNBC CNN Disney Viacom (stock ticker $GATWMCDV).
posted by muppetboy at 12:19 PM on July 16, 2002


revbrian: "I for one am getting so #@%_&( sick of pop-up ads it's actually cutting down my use of the net."
Apart from using Mozilla like mathowie suggested, IE plus a free tool like Pop-Up Stopper works very well, too.
posted by c3o at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2002


My parents didn't let us watch TV and his parents had a strict 3 hour a week rule...and we both grew up to be voracious readers, honor students and had tons of extracurricular activities.

Not that I'm defending TV or anything, but I also grew up to be a voracious reader and an honor student with tons of extracurricular activities, and I watched LOTS of TV as a child. Loads and loads of 70s sitcoms and violence, with very little cultural stuff. I don't think the relationship between TV and an un-well-rounded person is quite so direct.
posted by JanetLand at 12:42 PM on July 16, 2002


why not make every channel PPV and charge me for what I actually watch?

could get expensive when each household member has disparate tastes in programming. could work if it's a household with parents controlling their offspring's viewing habits.

otoh, there are three adults, no children in my household and we pay $50 monthly for digital cable just so i can watch syndiBuffy on FX. PPV, at the right price, may not be such a bad idea for me.


also, what JanetLand said.
posted by tolkhan at 12:46 PM on July 16, 2002


Using Mozilla with along with Guidescope to block cookies and ads is the ultimate in ad free web surfing. And screw the cable companies for broadband, just use DSL if it's available. I don't have cable and never will. The last thing I need is another $50 a month bill to bring unwanted advertisements into my home. Pop up adds my ass.
posted by MaddCutty at 12:52 PM on July 16, 2002


Muppetboy, GE already owns NBC, hence MSNBC is owned (atleast in part) by GE.

Personally I would like it to be a system where I just order what I want to see, of course working in conjunction with TiVo. I can either order it in advance and have TiVo TiVo it, or have it stream on demand. Of course it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg.
posted by riffola at 12:56 PM on July 16, 2002


riffola: yes, i know. that's why i included them.
posted by muppetboy at 1:12 PM on July 16, 2002


Why is it we all hate advertising so much anyway? Advertising pays the bills for almost all of our entertainment choices.

I don't have a big problem with the way it was 20yrs ago when cable had no/few commercials and network had about 10min/hr. There hasn't been any fundamental changes to the medium since and TiVo hasn't taken over more than a couple percent of the market so the ONLY REASON for altering the model in any way is unchecked greed. That's what I object too.

If 10min/hr of commercials paid the bills in 1980 and doesn't today that's just poor financial management. I'm inclined to think that 10min/hr would pay the bills today too, just not with the outrageous profit margin that execs and stockholders now expect as the norm.
posted by plaino at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2002


Due to some confusion among my roommates and me, we don't have a television now, because mine is in storage and has been for about two months.

Honestly, I don't really miss it. I just find that it's something that it's not anything I'm interested in spending time on anymore.

Why is it we all hate advertising so much anyway?

Because so much of it is so intrusive and exists solely to convince us to buy products we don't need.

Because advertisers want to rewire our memories.

I'm reminded of an old Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin's parents are sorting through catalogs and junk mail... I couldn't find a copy of the comic but the text is here (scroll down). Pretty true, and pretty prescient (with its "If we don't buy products, the terrorists have already won!" bit, considering it ran in 1994).
posted by nath at 1:48 PM on July 16, 2002


What irks me about TV advertising is that I don't have the choice to opt out. I pay for cable, I bought the TV (well my roomate bought it, but you get the idea) and I still have to sit through commercials and potentially popup ads. I don't have anything against companies trying to advertise their products but the way they go about it alienates the people they're trying to gain as customers.

It is the onus of the advertisers to make commercials appealing to the consumer instead of inundating them with high volume ads that tick people off so much that they switch the channel. If you make commercials like the ones they make for the super bowl, people will be anxious to watch them.
posted by jaden at 2:04 PM on July 16, 2002


Because I love it to death, I will plug Pop-up Killer. Once you get all the pop-up servers from your most frequently visited sites loaded, you'll barely even notice them, unless you happen to browse on a computer without it installed.

Now, as for the TV, the new ads will probably be accepted by most people because they are too lazy to do anything about it and usually can't think of anything better to do than watch TV. I, on the other hand, have probably watched less than 5 hours of TV this month, so I doubt I'll notice much.

Now, what skallas mentioned (pay-per-channel TV) makes sense, almost too much sense, and my cynical ass predicts that even though people would go for it, it will go unnoticed for years as a way to reach new customers because the industry will prove unwilling to undergo such radical change (like the record companies ignored mp3 marketing potential until recently).

Does ANYONE buy things from pop-up ads?
If I ever see anything I want to investigate, I always navagte to the site through the address bar, i never give them a click-through.
posted by Hackworth at 5:36 PM on July 16, 2002


Um, that was a link to a dead program, Hackworth....
posted by rushmc at 8:35 PM on July 16, 2002


dead in development at xfs, but still avaliable for download and now open-sourced.

(I guess I should have linked sourceforge to being with)
posted by Hackworth at 9:24 PM on July 16, 2002


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