If you suddenly felt the urge to take a bathroom break or reach for the remote control’s fast forward button, you’re not alone. Let’s face it, commercial advertisements can be annoying, and most of the time viewers would prefer to cut straight to the high points when watching their favorite televised or rerecorded content. Attempting to harness this (not-so-secret) tenant of television culture, DISH Network’s newest DVR product, the Hopper, comes equipped with a commercial auto-skip feature to hop past commercial interruptions in rerecorded programming.
Predictably, the big four broadcasters, CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox are hopping mad, claiming that the Hopper is not only an infringement of content copyrights but also a serious threat to free, over-the air television. But what about advertisers? Should those in the promotions industry be angry that their labors are going to waste?
Who can say? Regardless, the Hopper has reminded marketers of a valuable lesson. We shouldn’t have to force television viewers to watch our advertisements; they should want to. As an industry, we should make the commercial interruption pill easier to swallow by creating compelling content that doesn’t waste the viewer’s time. The best response to the Hopper isn’t to yell foul, but rather, to raise the bar on our commercial advertisements higher than the Hopper can jump.