DVR, TiVo and the future of TV

At the beginning of the fall semester I decided it was time I had to get a DVR. My roomate and I split the cost which is a whooping $7/month. It has probably been the best investment I have ever made and I will never be able to live without one again. My parents have satellite and they get free PVR with their service, basically the same thing. That is where I first learned about it while living at home during breaks. I am not going to try and sell you on its greatness. If you don't already know you will soon enough.

If any of you read my first ever blog, actually that was preblog it was actually a weekly rant, about the music industry you know I have little patience for guys that get beat because they don't get with the times and create innovative ways to adapt their business models. While mp3s were blowing up the music industry was sitting around with their thumbs up their asses. We are at a similar crossroads with television. DVRs blowing up and one of three things is going to happen.

One, and I pray this won't happen and I don't think this will happen, is that lawmakers will outlaw "TV recording devices" as has been talked about. The second is the television industry does nothing and they take a seat next to the music industry and they have a nice cry together. The third is they get creative and continue to make money with new innovative techniques.
DVRs are blowing up which means less people are watching commercials. I try to never watch live tv for that reason alone, just pause a program for 30 minutes and come in and fast forward through the commercials. It is a much more efficient way of watching TV because a 30 minutes program usually boils down to about 18-20 mins of actual content. If hoards of people are buying DVRs and watching less commercials then advertisers are going to start to pay less money for those spots. Advertisers paying less means less dough for television. Advertising is going to have to incorporate itself more into programs.

If they want to be real smart here is the complete solution. Some people have an issue with DVRs because they think there is a privacy issue in that data about what they are watching and how long they watch it is sent back to Time Warner or whoever. I don't understand why they care but whatever. If I'm Time Warner I sell that info to the networks. The reason Google is so successful is because they know exactly who they are advertising to. If you googled ESPN there will be sponsored ads on the side trying to sell you NCAA merchandise. If the word basketball is used in an email you are viewing in your Gmail account on the side there will be sponsored links trying to sell you a Kobe jersey. They know something about you therefore they can advertise to you more efficiently. Well use this concept in television. They know what you are watching. Virtual images have been in use for a while now like the ads that appear to be plastered behind homeplate in a baseball game. Notice how they are crisp and clear and they change every inning. MAGIC!

Hear is where you apply the Google advertising scheme. If you watched 5 hours of Sopranos that week the ad behind homeplate is a link to a website trying to sell you the DVD from Season 1 of the Sopranos. Your next door neighbor may be watching that same baseball game but since she watched 5 hours of Sex and the City this week the ad that appears behind homeplate is a Foley's ad for Sarah Jessica Parker's new perfume. All you privacy freaks need to think about this for a second before you start crying foul. Guys, this means the end of commercials trying to sell you women's hygiene products and doctors trying to frighten you with the concept of a medically corrected erection. Now the networks can tell the advertisers both how much viewership their ad got and they can assure them that it was directed towards their specific market. In sports these virtual ads will be easy because they can be plastered on the field and on uniforms without too much interference. But how will they effectively incorporate this idea into things like morning talk shows. I don't have the answer for that but something tells me unlike the music industry they will.



2 Responses to “DVR, TiVo and the future of TV”

  1. Jeff Says:

    $7 a month is not an investment, that is an annuity. An investment would be a one time payment of $300 for a TiVo that included the subscription. And I doubt that you have a contract that locks you in to the $7/month rate therefore you were not ahead of the curve on your “investment”. just my 2 cents


  2. Hujo Blogger » Blog Archive » Bloggerific Irony Says:

    […] Well ironically enough this trend appears to continue. A couple of weeks ago I blogged DVR, TiVo, and the Future of TV comparing the effect of the explosion of digital recording devices on TV to the explosion of peer-to-peer file sharing on the music industry. Well on Friday Cuban blogged The future of the TV commercial is from the past focusing on the need for TV to reinvent themselves on the revenue side of their business model. His argument differs in that he believes commercials will continue to exist as they do today but primetime commercials will become live "reality" style commercials that will be too classic to skip over. […]

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