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September 2, 2014

ABC's radical new plan for video-on-demand

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 25th 2008 4:26PM
bettyAre you kidding me? In a bold new way, ABC has come up with a way to keep viewers from fast-forwarding through the commercials! Okay, it's only in the video-on-demand universe (VOD), but it feels like what was once a convenient, fast way to catch up on episodes of your favorite shows is now going to be invaded with ads you cannot avoid unless you walk out of the room.

In a move they're touting as a win-win, ABC/Disney announced today an arrangement that "allows local affiliates to participate in the fast-forwarding disabled VOD offering." The network agrees to provide episodes of their top shows for use in local advertising supported VOD services as long as those operators agree to disable the "fast-forwarding" capability so viewers can't zap through the commercials. There'll be ads inserted, both local and national, but not as many as the on-air broadcasts of shows like Ugly Betty, Lost and Desperate Housewives.

ABC has tested this VOD approach with Cox Communications in Orange County, California, where people surveyed were agreeable to the plan. According to the study, 93% accepted the advertising in exchange for free access to ABC shows on-demand. It's hard to believe that nine out of 10 people would be all right with not being able to use their remote to scan through a show, but the results are the results.

Clearly, the networks are investigating ways to keep our eyes glued to commercials. This new version of VOD is just the latest innovation.

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khamel

i bought my mom a lifetime tivo a few years back and she STILL forgets to fast-forward ads. if she even knew how to use video on demand (she has it but its 'too complicated') she would probably watch the ads even if she could fast forward them. alot of people (not the ones who are on blogs, particularly not tv squad) are so used to ads that they dont mind as much as i would - not that its a good thing just seems to be the case. as long as tivo doesn't start punking me out to the networks/directv i'm sticking with it.

February 25 2008 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike K

I've been catching up on the entire first season of Jericho on CBSs site, and the ads they have don't really bother me, because it's usually only a 15 or 30 second ad as opposed to 3 or 4 minutes of commercials. No worse than what I'd have to do if fastforwarding the DVR.

February 25 2008 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mark

Agree with Lisa - if you want to DVR a show u can ff thru commercials, but if you want ABC to cater to your needs and keep your DVR free for other shows there should be SOME type of give on our side - If I know I can access LOST or other ABC shows (don't watch many sorry), then I know I don't have waste space on my cheap, old, crappy, way to small a disc space DVR Comast "gives me" for 14.00 per month....but that is for a different area.

Thanks ABC I say

February 25 2008 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wuzandfuz

Eh, seems like a good deal to me. I'll just mute it on the commercials and read blogs for a few minutes, no biggie and not a bad trade for shows I'd otherwise have to download to see anywhere close to the original air date.

February 25 2008 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edd

I will not sit through adverts any more, or accept interruptions in my programming unless I cause them - sorry, I'm just too used to torrents now.

I will continue 'illegally' downloading myshows until the day I can legally buy Divxs or equivalents of episodes at approx $1-2 each (meaning if I buy all the episodes of a show, they get the same as a DVD purchase with NONE of the distribution costs.)

I'd like to point out that I've not only been introduced to more shows this way (House, 24, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT(forever my favourite show), Scrubs, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sunny, Flight of the Conchords), I've also spent more money on DVDs than I would otherwise.

.. although it's reaching a turning point for me now where I much prefer the convenience of Divxs to DVDs, and may give up on the disks altogether (blue-ray can sod off!). Meanwhile I'm waiting with an open wallet for download services.

February 25 2008 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jake

This won't interrupt live feeds that we can DVR and fast forward through will it? I am assuming that the VOD is a separate feature.

February 25 2008 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jake's comment
Ben

correct, this is just for On Demand, not DVR

February 25 2008 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doron

Comcast On Demand already has quite a few new tv shows on it. For example, I have access to all S4 Lost episodes for free. Not sure how if you can fast forward.

February 25 2008 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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