Media analyst Tom Wolzein has made this statement in the past, but I thought he caught a clue and stopped spreading the meme. But he’s back with it: “The protection of commercial-financed television is both a logical, and an essential place for near-term government legislation,” Wolzien says in a Broadcast and Cable article.
From the piece: Wolzien has a plan: Regulate the DVR so consumers have to watch the commercials. It’s the only way to prevent the technology from destroying a $60 billion business. The government mandates all sorts of things in TV sets, after all—from UHF tuners to closed-captioning to HDTV. He sees networks feeding their signals with codes that tell DVRs whether the commercial can be skipped, giving “control of playback parameters to the content provider who sells the bulk of the revenue-producing advertising that funds that content.”
This is just the most blinkered piece of reasoning I’ve heard in many a moon. If you want to really kill “broadcast” television, force consumers to watch commercials when they have other options – and they will have other options, like HBO and scores of other channels that will have gotten with the PVR program and figured out other ways to bring advertising into television beyond the lame, dead-end 30 second spot format. (Not to mention internet video, for more on that read this). Harrumph.