Posted 1 May 2002 11:05:57 UTC on 2600.com
It was inevitable. The broadcast industry is now describing people who skip over commercials as thieves! And with new technology like HDTV and insane laws such as the DMCA, they may very well make it stick in the future.
Jamie Kellner is the chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting, which encompasses everything from CNN to TNT and is a part of AOL Time Warner. On Monday, an interview with Kellner appeared in CableWorld.
In response to a question on why personal video recorders (PVR's) were bad for the industry, Kellner responded: "Because of the ad skips.... It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming."
While most programming on American TV is so insultingly bad that nobody would ever need to steal it in the first place, there is great danger in permitting this line of reasoning to become accepted. If this is seen as a "problem," expect legislation forbidding any device that allows consumers to skip the sacred commercial. Kellner, however, is not completely unreasonable. When asked if he considers people who go to the bathroom during a commercial to be thieves, he responded: "I guess there's a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom. But if you formalize it and you create a device that skips certain second increments, you've got that only for one reason, unless you go to the bathroom for 30 seconds. They've done that just to make it easy for someone to skip a commercial." Heaven forbid.
The text of the entire interview can be found at
http://www.inside.com/product/product.asp?entity=CableWorld&pf_ID=7A2ACA71-FAAD-41FC-A100-0B8A11C30373. /http://www.inside.com/product/produ...-0B8A11C30373. /http://www.inside.com/product/produ...-0B8A11C30373.