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Google Television The Almighty Buck News

Google Patent Proposes $2 Fee To Skip Commercials 434

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the annoying-isn't-evil? dept.
theodp writes "A day after Google debuted its new Google TV website, the USPTO issued U.S. Patent No. 7,806,329 to the search giant for its Targeted Video Advertising invention. Among other things, the patent proposes having viewers take 5-10 minutes to 'fill out a consumer survey and perhaps to provide additional information such as a mailing address survey before starting the program' to avoid having to watch 10 minutes of commercials. 'As another alternative,' the patent continues, 'the broadcaster may offer the users an option to pay $2 (such as through a micro-payment system, such as GBuy) to exchange for skipping all commercials.' More from the patent: 'The system may allow a user to skip all of the promotions that they want to skip, but may also require the user to fully watch at least four promotions before the program will continue. Likewise, the system may require the user to follow activities that generate a certain amount of advertising revenue or advertising points (e.g., that may correspond directly or indirectly to advertising revenues) before the program will continue.'"
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Google Patent Proposes $2 Fee To Skip Commercials

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  • Is $2 too much? (Score:5, Informative)

    by yuna49 (905461) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @11:42AM (#33794944)

    I looked at current advertising costs [tvb.org] to see whether $2/episode is justified. Right now advertisers pay about 3.3 cents to put an ad in the face of a 25-54 year-old adult during a prime-time show. In an hour-long show, there are about sixteen minutes of non-program material, though some of that is promotions for other shows and local advertising. Let's say that ten minutes of every prime-time hour includes national advertising. That means advertisers are willing pay about thirty cents per show; two dollars seems like gouging in comparison.

  • Alamo Drafthouse (Score:5, Informative)

    by shawnmchorse (442605) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @11:48AM (#33795022) Homepage

    Case in point: The Alamo Drafthouse [drafthouse.com]. They play first run movies (as well as cult films and other such), serve food and alcohol, and have actual pre-show video entertainment (not commercials). If a movie isn't playing at the Drafthouse, I generally don't bother going. It's not worth putting up with general obnoxiousness of the large corporate theater chains like Cinemark.

  • Re:Greed (Score:4, Informative)

    by takowl (905807) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @11:52AM (#33795084)

    I hope in time commercial-less media is the norm.

    In glorious soviet UK, we have four major TV channels [bbc.co.uk] (and minor channels, national and local radio stations) without commercials. This costs £145 per year [tvlicensing.co.uk] ($230, or ~$20 per month). In fact, the radio channels and website can be used for free, you pay if you have a TV (although I wonder if this will change in the future).

  • Re:Alamo Drafthouse (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:01PM (#33795226)

    Case in point: The Alamo Drafthouse [drafthouse.com]. They play first run movies (as well as cult films and other such), serve food and alcohol, and have actual pre-show video entertainment (not commercials). If a movie isn't playing at the Drafthouse, I generally don't bother going. It's not worth putting up with general obnoxiousness of the large corporate theater chains like Cinemark.

    Good point. Portland, OR has the McMenamin's establishments that operate in a very similar manner. I reckon that most major cities have something similar. The clientele is more polite (don't insist on texting and annoying every patron behind them) , the menu is far superior, and there's good beer. What's not to like?
    Even the small town I lived in a few years ago had a small, locally owned theater that offered an experience that was superior in every way to the multiplex chains that have so fucked up the cinema business. I confess that I still hit the big theaters once or twice a year, for something that I just can't stand to wait for, but that's a tiny fraction of what I used to do. I've sent my message. How 'bout y'all?

  • Re:Greed (Score:5, Informative)

    by aardwolf64 (160070) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:17PM (#33795456) Homepage

    The whole commercial thing goes back a long way. Television used to be free, over the air. Consumers were promised that paying for cable would keep the content commercial-free. Then the media companies got greedy, and stuck advertising in there anyway... It's not like we have much of an alternative.

    I don't watch shows until around 15 minutes after they come on, so that I can start at the beginning and fast forward through the commercials.

  • Re:Greed (Score:5, Informative)

    by uniquename72 (1169497) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:19PM (#33795482)
    I managed a movie theater for a few years in the '90s. It cost about $60 to show a movie -- primarily in utilities and employee costs. Tickets were $5 a piece for an adult, but most of that went to the studios. So if 12 people came to a movie and all bought something at the concession stand (which made about $5 on average per person), we broke even. Of course, since most of the shows had about 125 people in them, it was a money-making machine. The vast majority of our money came from selling overpriced popcorn and soda.

    Today, the theaters themselves are the ones who get paid off of pre-movie advertising -- that's on top of vast mark-ups on concession items. Meanwhile, ticket costs have tripled in the last 15 years, and movie studios are making record profits [torrentfreak.com] -- particularly given that there are additional revenue streams like product placement, DVD sales/rental, fees from TV, etc.

    So no, ticket costs without showing ads would certainly not be more that $10. In fact, pre-movie ads are almost entirely unrelated to ticket prices.
  • Re:Greed (Score:5, Informative)

    by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:42PM (#33795776)

    The whole commercial thing goes back a long way. Television used to be free, over the air. Consumers were promised that paying for cable would keep the content commercial-free.

    No we weren't. This is looking at the past with rose tinted lenses. A few channels may have been SOLD as commercial free, but that's not why we bought it.

    My TV had 13 buttons on it, I could program them and tune them to 13 radio frequencies. What cable offered was 32 channels, all without snow/noise and I wouldn't have to maintain an aerial on top of my house. I was USED to commercials on most of those stations I received (not 13, I think I could receive about 3 on a good day) But I was sold on the fact that I wouldn't have to bother with an antenna, it would always be clear, and I'd get a lot more. Prism and HBO were big selling points.

    (As an aside, boy I miss that TV. After it was 13 or so years old, My little sister once tried to get the cartoon characters out and tossed a rock at it. Slight crack in the center we got used to. 13 years after THAT it finally gave up the ghost in a rather ghostlike fashion by shooting blue plasma out the back)

    But back on topic, I don't ever remember being sold on no commercials except on channels like HBO.

  • Re:Greed (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:02PM (#33796016) Homepage

    You can.

    Get a Satellite dish and receiver that is supported by them and buy your channel subscription. Buddy does it with his C band dish.

    He pays for $110 a YEAR for 38 premium channels from Starz, HBO and Cinemax.

    It's been this way for decades.

  • Re:Greed (Score:2, Informative)

    by ran-o-matic (667054) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:09PM (#33796124) Homepage
    Broadcast television is still free, over the air, and have always had commercials (in the case of PBS stations more subtle, but still there). I don't remember anyone promising me that cable would eliminate commercials. Provide better and more reliable picture quality and add choice, yes, but not change the actual programming delivered.
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @02:01PM (#33796932) Homepage Journal

    'cause a 777 STARTS at $205 million
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_777 [wikipedia.org]

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