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The new patent aims to disable the fast-forward function as well as the "Look Back" and "Start Over" features in programs that are saved on the physical DVR

Time Warner Cable (TWC) patented a technique for digital video recorders (DVRs) that may prevent viewers from skipping commercials.

The new patent aims to disable the fast-forward function as well as the "Look Back" and "Start Over" features in programs that are saved on the physical DVR. This would apply to network-based DVR and physical DVRs in subscriber homes.

"Look Back" allows TWC subscribers to access a program within three days of the premiere date if they forgot to record it, and "Start Over" allows the user to restart a show already in progress.

The reason for the new patent? Advertising. TWC worries that advertisers won't pony up the dough for advertisements if subscribers are just skipping them to get to their movie or TV show anyway.

"The ability to prevent trick mode functionality may be important for a number of reasons. Advertisers may not be willing to pay as much to place advertisements if they know that users may fast forward through the advertisement and thus not receive the desired sales message," said TWC in the patent. "Content providers may not be willing to grant rights in their content, or may want to charge more, if trick modes are permitted."

The patent may be difficult to uphold with DVRs that aren't controlled by the operator, but the multiple system operator (MSO) can stop subscribers from skipping commercials in cable shows they record using other devices.

TWC might have some issues with this new patent because subscribers will likely just go to other services like Verizon and DirecTV for DVRs that allow them to skip commercials.

Just last month, it was reported that Fox, CBS and NBC were taking Dish Network to court over a new feature that allows subscribers to skip advertisements. Dish ended up filing a suit to make ad-skipping acceptable with an official judgement.

The topic has raised much debate, where advertisers and TV broadcasters are looking for better methods of monetizing their content as more subscribers use DVRs.

Source: Fiercecable

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By Arsynic on 6/22/2012 10:51:40 AM , Rating: 2
Why can't advertisers just innovate and find new ways to reach consumers. What prevents viewers from getting up to go to the crapper or fridge during a commercial? Is there any proof that the commercials are effective? Half the time I can remember a commercial but don't know what product was being advertised.

Advertisers and networks need to innovate different ways of reaching an audience. What about product placements? These are more effective to me than the traditional commercials. For example, I remember craving Spicy Kung Pao chicken after an episode of Seinfeld.

They could even do targeted ads based on the viewers likes and preferences.

This is just a stupid solution to advertisers and carriers failing to innovate.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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