Apple Is Developing Ad-Skip Technology That Pays Networks When Viewers Fast-Forward Past Commercials

Senior Contributor
07.16.13 9 Comments

Screenshot from 2013-07-16 08:10:02

If there’s one thing networks and advertisers hate, it’s ad-skipping. Currently, they’re trying to sue anybody selling ad-skip technology into oblivion on… somewhat thin legal pretexts. Apple, meanwhile, has just decided to stop screwing around and do the obvious: Pay the networks every time you skip an ad.

Call it the Pandora model of television, but it’s something so obvious, so simple, it’s kind of amazing it took Apple to realize it just might work. According to tech blogger Jessica Lessin:

In recent discussions, Apple told media executives it wants to offer a “premium” version of the service that would allow users to skip ads and would compensate television networks for the lost revenue, according to people briefed on the conversations… Television-rights owners have been reluctant to embolden Apple’s push into the living room, and compensation for skipped ads seems unlikely to be enough to convince them.

It’s understandable that the television industry is at least a little scared of Apple, a company that’s not shy about pulling a Bane on entire industries. But at the same time, one has to ask what they think is going to happen otherwise.

The TV industry can’t fight Netflix when it comes to streaming, as Hulu’s recent failure to sell makes clear. It’s also clear they don’t really have a plan once market pressures really come to bear; ratings are already low and within ten years there’s a distinct possibility that local affiliates, especially in rural areas, will choose to go off the air and use their antennas to provide white space broadband instead. It seems like making customers pay not to stream the content but to skip the ads would be a viable business model. So, do us a favor and think about it, networks. Especially since the sooner we no longer need to see funny animals talking to us about painful medical problems, the happier we’ll be as a society.

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