Dave on TiVo’s Pause Menu Advertising

Dave Zatz —  August 3, 2009 — 12 Comments

tivo-pause-ad

Regular readers know I can get a little cranky when it comes to TiVo’s advertising initiatives. So my quotes showing up in various AP-syndicated papers should come as no surprise. Unfortunately for TiVo, the reporter covering the evolution of television advertising called the week I was bombarded with pause menu mascara ad after pause menu mascara ad. Targeted advertising? Really?

Dave Zatz, a 37-year-old network engineer in Herndon, Va., isn’t happy about it because he bought a TiVo digital video recorder and pays a subscription to skip ads. “It’s obnoxious,” he said of the ads that appear when a TV program is paused. He said other ads have been on the periphery or appear on the menu page. This is the first time he’s noticed TiVo layering an ad on top of an actual program. He said he’s been wondering, “Who are TiVo’s customers?” People like him, or advertisers? “They’re getting paid on both ends.”

An interesting tangent… There’s been another flare up regarding the Associated Press’s intent to sell content excerpts online to bloggers such as myself. To quote the AP quoting me, I’m theoretically on the hook for $25. Forgetting fair use news reporting and commentary for moment, I gotta believe I’m entitled to some sort of waiver in this case. ;)

12 responses to Dave on TiVo’s Pause Menu Advertising

  1. A shout-out to Zach Epstein of Boy Genius Report who played matchmaker beweetn the AP reporter and I. Thanks, man!

  2. Great quote! I’ve seen the mascara ads, the acne medication ads, and the ones for weight loss. If those are “targeted” then I don’t know what TiVo thinks of me. But I should be glad they’re willing to cast the net so widely instead of interrupting me on a monthly basis to fill out demographic surveys.

  3. You didn’t pay up to the AP did you?

  4. Now I can see why they dropped my interview from the article. My interview wasn’t as synical as Dave’s ;). Maybe that’s because I’m a TIVo fanboy. The ads really don’t bother me and I’ve actually come to expect it (considering the fact that ads are everywhere).

  5. xdreamwalker, I didn’t pay. I assume a small citation of my own thoughts is reasonable, and surely falls within fair usage. Additionally, I’ve linked to two AP articles above as a sign of good faith. As the reporter didn’t link my blog, I also feel compelled to exert control over my digital identity.

    Alex, yeah you probably either have to love or hate something to get cited. I know you’re much more neutral and even-handed than I on this topic… which probably cost you.

  6. I think that the whole issue with the ads is way overblown. TiVo makes it pretty easy for you to opt into the ads that you want to see and their now playing ads aren’t any worse than the banner ads found on popular blogs who like to write about TiVo (ahem).

    Moving on to another topic, the thing that kind of rubs me the wrong way about the interview and even giving quotes to the AP in the first place is that they didn’t even bother to link to Zatznotfunny to say thank you.

    Zatz isn’t just some engineer, he documents and tracks stories about TiVo better than anyone, yet the AP refuses give him credibility as an expert on TiVo by not sharing some link love with him. I call bogus. It’s part of the old media way of thinking and a big reason why the AP is quickly becoming irrelevant.

    For those still wondering how new media is eating old media’s lunch, all you have to do is look at the two business models to see the difference. With the AP, news sites have to pay out tons of money for their content, must share their own content with the AP and they can’t link back to their own site if their content gets picked up by the AP.

    Zatz on the other hand syndicates a number of great writers on his site. They don’t do it for the bucks, they do it to be part of such an awesome community. He encourages other blogs to link and use his content in their articles without per word fees, he leaves all of your links in your stories, so that if your content is selected to be syndicated and it includes a link back to your site, it actually benefits the writer (meaning that writers can monetize/benefit from membership instead of having to pay.) He is also meticulous about providing attribution, whether the source of his story is a major newspaper or some kind of forum. Until the AP can figure out that acting like a good internet citizen can help their partners (instead of pretending like the rest of the internet doesn’t exist), it will be hard for them to maintain their relevance.

  7. Adds in paid services make homer grumpy. That is the kind of stuff that makes me fire companies. I get pretty tired of companeis like Tivo and MS, forgetting who they came to dance with and always instead trying make out in the corner with the advertising or IP tramp with the low cut skirt and no standards.

    I would say the AP can go to hell but.. .clearly they are way ahead of me.

  8. “They’re getting paid on both ends.”

    You know, I’d always been annoyed at the ads, but being the only game in town, whaddya do. I hadn’t looked at it that way (paid on both ends), so now I’m really annoyed.

    I’m telling you, Tivo, you’re biting the hand that feeds. All it takes is one good competitor, and it’s CURTAINS for ya! I’ve been loyal for 10 years, but I’m itching for a change. I do appreciate you giving me reasons to not feel bad about switching.

  9. the moment you stop relying on ads to offset cost of your blogs is the first time you gain any credibility on this issue. Oh and at least make the graphic at the top real.

  10. Zeo, I don’t run ads and charge a subscription fee. Not to mention, all ZNF content will always be free and ad-free via RSS.

    But this has nothing to do with my credibility, I am speaking as a TiVo customer. I don’t like the pause ads. You’re free to feel differently. But don’t ever talk down my beautiful Photoshop work. ;) Here’s a real pic for those who haven’t seen it in action.

  11. How about the ad spam in cable operators set tops? Like you don’t pay enough for the service, and MSO’s with I-Guide eliminate screen real estate and use it for a big ugly ad.

    Advertising rakes in so much money. Sad to say, but I don’t have high hopes for digging out of that hole.

  12. I personally dont mind the ads and have found them useful a few times, i setup a season pass for terminator SCC because of a TiVo ad and wound up loving the show. I probably would have never started watching it, if it weren’t for that TiVo ad.

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