ABC’s Shaw needs to get real

In one of the most preposterous and asinine statements I’ve read since covering the whole new media space, ABC President of Advertising Sales Mike Shaw told MediaDailyNews that skipping commercials ISN’T a driving factor in the purchase of a DVR. In the words of the immortal Frank Barone, “Holy crap!”

The Shaw statement came as a justification for the network discussing with cable operators the notion of adding technology to set-top DVRs that would disable fast forwarding during commercials, so they could “run as intended.”

“I’m not so sure that the whole issue really is one of commercial avoidance,” Shaw said. “It really is a matter of convenience–so you don’t miss your favorite show. And quite frankly, we’re just training a new generation of viewers to skip commercials because they can. I’m not sure that the driving reason to get a DVR in the first place is just to skip commercials. I don’t fundamentally believe that. People can understand in order to have convenience and on-demand (options), that you can’t skip commercials.”
What absolute poppycock! Mr. Shaw apparently doesn’t read research on the subject or simply ignores it, because it doesn’t fit his paradigm. Here’s a graphic from the folks at eMarketer on why people use DVRs.

Why people use DVRs

What Mr. Shaw doesn’t want to accept is that time is the new currency and that his industry has done this to themselves. One-third of prime-time viewing is now devoted to marketing, and this revolt against that is driven by a very real need for people to manage a decreasing amount of leisure time.

The 30-second ad model is broken, folks, and we need creative thinking to find ways to overcome it — not crap like this from network executives. The horse has left the barn, and it ain’t comin’ back. Why can’t we bring ourselves to accept that?

There’s a lot of experimentation with program sponsorships, and I like that model. Whether it will provide the kind of revenues broadcasters need is questionable, but at least the concept begins with accepting certain realities about life. New options yet to be created certainly won’t be created, if this kind of reasoning is the best the networks can offer. Bring on the right-brainers!


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