The Case for a Skip Button on an Interactive TV

 I'm sure that those of you who watch broadcast TV have favorite commercials that you don't mind watching again and again ... you study them ... figure them out and get entertained.  Other commercials you detest on sight ... change the channel ... go get a beer, or take a pee.  So how about giving us a skip button on the remote?   It would allow you to just skip to the next commercial.   All other things equal, wouldn't you like that feature on your remote?   I'm gonna assume that i hear a resounding YES coming from all of you.

We should consider this from the point of view of the networks.  But first let's talk a bit about the technology changes that would be needed to make it work behind the scenes.  Commercial breaks vary a lot and are only partially synchronizd between networks ... but let's assume we are dealing with about a 5 minuet break.  The remote would need to transmit the skip signal through the set-top-box to the cable provider who would forward it in real time to the network serving the content.  Their server would need to know who was receiving the content and would need to skip that stream going to that listener to the next commercial targeted for that demographic.  Yes, it would need to have access to a giant database of listeners indexed by their set top identifiers and have a streaming task running for each of them.  Now why would a network want to invest in that kind of a computer?  Doa!  Targeted advertising! ... need i say more.  All other things equal I just noticed a line forming of networks wanting to buy one of these new targeted advertising streaming computers. 

We should consider this from the point of view of the advertisers. 

to be continued ...

...  you could also use the same buttons to skip within news stories to select those that interest you.


  1. tv
  2. advertising
  3. next commercial


Seth says
Another application for and interactive skip forward and skip backward button is to allow the consumer to select which news story they want to watch.   You know those leader previews of up-comming news stories ... and then a couple hours later you finally get to it.  Well they should allow you to just skip forward to the story that you want to watch.  The network would not need to give up advertising time either ... it could even work like youtube does now, where they show you a ad that you must watch before you see the content.  It could be designed as a win win situation.  Plus the network gets feedback about what stories actually interest their viewers.

Mark de LA says
seth 2012-03-10 12:01:32 15856
M 2012-03-10 09:58:16 15856
My DVR (from Xfinity) already has a FF button.  Sometimes they disable it for "On Demand" new shows. I rarely watch shows in real time except the news in which I go take a piss during commercials & sometimes during (;-.

Yeah i was thinking that tivo did part of this.  Not the other part though.  Look at it from the point of view of the advertiser ... the persons paying for you to get the content that you are enjoying.  I know i haven't fleshed all of that out yet on the item ... but that was the most important part.  Do you have any ways where this works for the advertiser as well as the consumer?  I do.
Like I said some programs disable the FF button forcing you to watch the adds.  In general I don't worry about the advertizers they always find a way to get through. How about selective spending cupons etc.

Mark de LA says
Advertizement will find a way.  I have noticed that the Internet is swimming with more advertizements that are hard to brush away because of their intrusion & lack of quit buttons. And, then there is this:
URL: ...
  • Google now wants to 'learn as much about people's private lives as possible'
  • Company has 'stopped' being a technology company focused on innovation
  • 'When Gmail displays ads based on things in my email it creeps me out'
  • CEO Larry Page on 'mission' to beat Facebook

  • Read more:
    ... About a month ago I noticed that Google searches just accidently seemed to run into more advertizements rather than the links displayed.

    Seth says
    On this item the agenda is to think about individual people wanting to select their advertisements ... rather than thinking about wanting to shun them entirely.   Advertising is a must need for modern commerce.  It is not evil.   This is a way for  individual people to be in control of the selection of what gets inserted into their awareness.  Same goes for news.  I also think this new selectivity is the trend in culture.  It is supported and driven by new capabilities in technology.   So, to me, it is a good thing that Google knows about me and is capable of directing advertisements to my particular interests.

    Seth says
    M 2012-03-16 11:10:40 15856
    Selective spending advertizement & word of mouth if unhyped are good.  I am not sure that getting our sub consciousness bombarded with shit to buy every day is the best thing to do. I'm not sure inflating an economy with more crap to buy is always a good thing. Over 40 years ago in an altered state I groked why unleaven bread was important to the passover ceremony.  It was the essence of the grain was NOT inflated with hot air making it look like there was more food than there actually was. The Host is real & needs no inflation.  Wonder Bread & Twinkies are the best examples I can think of in modern times.  Advertizement often serves the leavening of products beyond what really are.
    Good?  Bad?  Who Knows? - Is there an alternative? I ask?
    Good questions, though they are a bit off track for this item, which is about making advertisements more easily selected by the consumer ... and not increasing the amount of them in our culture.   It can also be said that the more a person consciously selects  advertisements, the less they are "sub consciousness bombarded with" them.

    That said, i agree, that our culture zigged in a wierd-assed direction when it trended to grow bigger and bigger factories supported by more and more advertising to buy things we need less and less.  

    Seth says
    ... i guess the advantage, for the consumer, of having TV commercials in their Facebook feeds, is that at least you can scroll through them with the swipe of the thumb.

    see mashable story re the comming TV commercials to Facebook

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