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Ad-Skipping Apple TV

By Rizwan Ahmad - 27 July 2013 No Comments
Most of us (with an interest), by now, have heard of Apple TV. The company promotes this device as a means to access digital content from iTunes, Netflix, Youtube, or any one of a number of other services. Rather than being a real television provider, Apple TV actually just provides a means for playing media on your big screen. Recent versions allow you to stream content wirelessly from your PC or Mac, but aside from that, is there much difference between this pricey little box and merely plugging your computer into your TV with a cheap HDMI cable?

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Ad-Skipping Apple TV
Image Credit: Norio.NAKAYAMA

Something New
Perhaps. The latest Apple TV rumours indicate that the company may offer a live TV service, complete with the ability to skip through advertising breaks. Various media sources have reported that Apple wants to provide its users with this convenience whilst compensating television networks for any revenue that is lost as a result. It’s certainly a risky prospect, given that Dish Network was sued over similar technology last year.

But what effect would ad-skipping have on the existing television system if the new service took off? Seeing as a huge chunk of network revenue is made solely from advertisers, it is difficult to image that they would be able to survive. Networks even advertise on their own behalf, showing previews of shows, movies and programming schedule. Will users also be able to skip these commercials?

The End of TV Advertising
Scenario: Apple pays the networks a few cents each time a viewer skips an advert. The viewer is happy because they didn’t have to see the ad, and the networks are happy because they are recouping any lost revenue. Seems like a great deal for all involved, right? After a while, though, if uptake of Apple TV is high enough, advertisers may become annoyed that people aren’t actually seeing their commercials. If, in the end, the advertisers decide that TV commercials are no longer a viable marketing option, and therefore stop giving the networks any money to show their ads, then the networks will inevitably collapse because they are no longer receiving any revenue. Apple is hardly likely to continue paying if there are no adverts left to skip.

Home Surveillance
When given in combination with a whole host of other technology that is finding its way into our homes, perhaps Apple TV will kick-start a new way of thinking about advertising. Rather than paying to broadcast commercials to all viewers of a particular channel at a particular time, marketing executives might wish to use the kind of technology seen in Microsoft’s new Xbox One to tailor adverts to individual viewers. Rather than a break of a few minutes, there could be just one or two commercials played only to the most appropriate audience. Webcams inside devices could monitor their surroundings and decide, for example, to play a dog food commercial if there is a Labrador in the corner of the room.

To some, this sounds suspiciously like something out of Orwell’s 1984. To others, it seems like the logical end of our present path. After all, can we really expect networks to finance themselves without ads? What do you think?
About the Author:

Thomas James writes for iTechnician, an Apple repair provider in the UK.


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