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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

With Limited Commercial Interruption

Occasionally an idea comes along that is so brilliant, so without flaws, that you wonder why exactly it hasn't already been put into place. This is one of those ideas. I'm not claiming it as my own, but I have decided to become its biggest campaigner. Let's begin.

I love to watch television. Whether its all-new or re-run, sitcom or drama, reality or scripted, educational or escapist, I love it. Like most people, I don't care for commercials. They spoil the flow of the show and they are largely a waste of my time. I also don't like paying for TV. I have tried surviving on broadcast only, with little success. I need the variety, and basic cable is a must. When I can afford it, I go for digital or better.

Cable companies want to make money. They have gone to a lot of effort to lay the lines and purchase rights to the programming. They are motivated by their desire to feed their families, drive fancy cars, and vacation in the Bahamas.

Businesses want to advertise their products. With the average pay-out per minute of commercial time climbing into the realm of scientific notation, their desire to get the word out is obvious. The more people who see the product, the more people buy it.

Now here's the plan.

What if you're TV worked just like your Google homepage? As you watch, channel surf, and mindlessly flip, it monitors your click-stream. Then it uses that viewing history to decide what products you might be interested in buying. It builds a list of those commercials most suited to you and puts them in a folder. Each month, you have the option of watching as many or as few of those spots as you choose. Every one you watch decreases your monthly cable bill by a certain amount. If you watch enough, your bill is zero. The businesses whose product you saw advertised make up the difference on your bill. Everybody wins. You get free TV with tons of variety, and you watch the commercials on your terms. The cable company gets to make tons of cash. Businesses get to advertise their products to their target audiences for a fraction of what they are paying now to blanket the market.

This is my dream. Please, share it with me.


Andy said...


Very good idea. However, I think the best you can hope for is simply a reduction in your monthly bill, as opposed to an outright elimination of fees (plus you'll still have to pay the lame local/state taxes that get formulated against the sum of your bill PRIOR to discounts).
May I propose a cheaper alternative? If you have a broadband connection, you can download most of the popular network shows and cable series via a newsgroup account (e.g. Tons of people around the world rip the shows from their cable hardware directly to compressed video, and upload the video directly to their newsgroup provider, which then gets propagated to all the other newsgroup providers around the Internet. As a bonus, they strip out the commercials before they post the video.
USENET/Newsgroups are a somewhat different concept than P2P file sharing software, and USENET predates P2P concepts by 10 years+. Plus, most newsgroup providers do not keep logs, so they don't know who's uploading and downloading what. The only thing they have to do is take down copyrighted content (like YouTube) if the copyright holder notifies them, which almost never happens.
Easynews charges $10/month for 20 gigabytes of downloads, which is the equivalent of about 50 hourlong shows. Add that to the cost of your broadband, and for less than what you're paying for cable, you can download most of the shows you want, commercial-free, and watch them whenever.
Mind you, I still have cable, but if I forget to record something, if the power goes out, if the DVR has a meltdown, etc, I can almost always snag the show I missed. Right now, I'm catching up on previous episodes of MythBusters, all via USENET.

Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!