TiVo & The Pop-Up Ads, Why?

In the early days of digital video recorders when folks like Michael Lewis would write tomes in praise of TiVo and its ability to skip ads. We seem to have come a full circle – now TiVo is experimenting with pop-up advertisements. Funny – how life turns out! The way I see it, TiVo is saying, well my ads are better than network ads. Perhaps – but to me, if you are charging $12.95 a month for the TiVo service, I feel, ads are intrusion into my time and space. I did not sign-up for that, and hence don’t want it.

Musing about this, I wondered if TiVo will be able to serve ads on the Comcast network? If no, then isn’t that service a better option for consumers. No device to buy, and no ads and a price point which eventually might be lower than what TiVo charges. I had suggested a premium strategy for TiVo. That idea won’t fly. This experiment runs the risk of antagonizing the TiVoted. Engadget says, they are still testing the ads, and it will be sometime before all users experience the misery. “One slightly mitigating factor: apparently you’re allowed to banish the ad by pressing the “Clear” button on your remote,” Engadget says.

PVRBlog is none too happy either and they write, “The way the ads appear now, it almost looks like your TiVo has been hacked by an outsider. TiVo’s UI and software engineers do some beautiful work, agonizing and testing each and every option, and customers are used to the friendly, eye-catching software, but this looks like something they were forbidden from working on.” There is more fear and loathing in TiVoLand. I think this might give alternatives, particularly Microsoft Media Center to gain traction with more independent minded folks. TiVo has to make decision, and soon: it has to either be an ad-delivery mechanism, or a service that makes television’s passivity more enjoyable. It cannot do both.