IBM Patents In-DVD Advertisements, Aims for Rental Market
November 27, 2007 11:38 AM
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IBM's plans make some fans of rental movies queasy
You microwave your popcorn, you curl up on your couch and you fire up the latest DVD release, hot out of your local movie rental joint. As the story begins to take off, all of a sudden the movie freezes. There is no more movie, just a blaring commercial filling your screen. You blink in confusion, wondering what just happened. You reach for the remote, but you cannot fast forward through this commercial. Only after a few long moments does your movie resume. Over the course of the movie, you are forced to endure this process multiple times.
This is the concept behind a
new patent application
from IBM, which is either a genius business ploy or maniacally evil abuse of the consumer, depending on how you choose to look at it.
The patent details a scheme where the user could rent and purchase movies at either a standard rate, with commercial interruption, or pay a few extra dollars to avoid the annoyances. When a DVD is inserted into a player, the player will automatically check if it is commercial-loaded or commercial-free. If it is the commercial-loaded version it will either play embedded ads on the disc over the course of the movie, or connect to the internet to download new ads to embed in real-time into the film.
Though not exactly trumpeted by IBM, the patent, if granted could seriously shake up the movie industry.
Could the result be a miracle or would it be a disaster for all parties involved? The possible results from such a technology could be a very intriguing observation on human behavior, and the mindset of the average modern consumer.
On the one hand it could be a win-win situation for consumers and the film business. Movie studios could make a bit of much needed extra cash from advertisers or customers willing to pony up the extra fee for the ad-free content. Consumers might like it as they might be able to save a couple of dollars on the versions with ads, and it might not be worse than watching a tv show, if properly timed. Imagine renting new movies for $2.99 instead of $3.99 -- it is attractive proposition, despite the downsides. And movie studios could elect to front-load the advertisements, as is done in the theater to make sure the consumer sees them, but to provide less interruption.
On the other hand it could be seen as intrusive, and greedy in the consumer eyes and cut into sales and rentals, erasing any potential profit gains. Movie studios could implement the feature sloppily and ruin the watcher's experience and turn them off. They could also elect to ad commercials to releases of the current price and only have a higher priced version without them. And advertising companies might get poor reception from consumers who go to their fridge to get a soda or beer whenever the commercial comes on.
This technology poses a question similar to Fox and NBC's
buzz-generating free TV episode online service
, detailed at
, which includes embedded ads, similar to a traditional TV broadcast. However this technology goes one step further, by seeking to introduce ads into a niche they did not typically occupy. How these technologies, and others, such as
Walgreen's new DVD burning kiosks
, will effect the lives of movie lovers is yet to be seen, but it almost certain that they will bear an effect.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
11/27/2007 2:59:55 PM
The cost of the "premium" commercial-free media will go up. Guaranteed.
Now thats a big 'guarantee', you should open a big box store.. While normally i would agree with you,
Video stores are struggling in sales compared to what they used to be, and it is only going downhill. Most of the time, raising prices on already inflated prices for a product that is on the decline is not a good idea. Video stores need a way to bring people in, not scare them away.
Having cheaper rentals has the potential to do this, where as raising prices on products that the majority of people rent does not. Even with the higher margins, I really doubt they would see any higher profits.
Although i do agree 'eventually' they could raise the profits through the roof, that will probably be so far down the road that Video on Demand will have taken over the movie market by then.
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