I’ve been thinking a lot about commercials lately. Since buying a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) a few years back, I have almost completely stopped watching commercials. I’ll find myself either PVR’ing a show to watch it whenever I want, or I’ll start a show twenty minutes later, ensuring I can skip through most of the commercials. No doubt about it, the PVR has made viewing television far more convenient and enjoyable.
Now the irony of this is that the commercials are the reason television exists. Without commercials, there would be no money to produce episodes of HEROES, LOST, SEINFELD, FRIENDS, ER. well you get the idea. Yet as more homes invest in PVR’s, DVR’s and the almighty TIVO, the future is unavoidable — Commercials are going the way the UPN network.
So what are networks going to have to do? Something they detest — evolve. Networks and Studios are going to have to start finding new ways to reach the audience, and one of the most interesting ways I’ve seen so far, are in-show product placements. In this TV addict’s opinion, product placement is far more effective then regular commercials. For example, who can name me the car that Hiro rented to go to Las Vegas in this week’s episode of HEROES? Or how about the computer that was being tossed around the writer’s room in Monday’s episode of STUDIO 60? (Check the comments for the answer).
Viewers, or at least myself (in this highly unscientific study) can recall products that I see within a show far more then the commercial that air during the breaks. Why? I’m not sure. But it’s obvious that I actually pay attention to the show I’m watching rather then ignore or fast-forward through commercials I don’t care about. (Note to the CW, please don’t make us endure another ‘Aerie Tuesday’).
Network Executives, this message is for your own good. I love TV, and know that advertising is what pays the bills. I just want you take a moment to think pro-actively. Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, commercials are dead. It’s time to think of new [and innovative] ways to convince me to buy products. I’ll be waiting for you, in front of my TV (a beautiful new Sharp Aquos that I only knew about thanks to ads in Entertainment Weekly!)