With all of the quality shows currently on the air, the common consensus is we're living in a Golden Age of television, despite the fact that both TV sales and cable subscriptions have been steadily plummeting like Jack Nicholson at the end of Batman. The reason? Streaming is slowly taking over.
This means viewers are becoming even more adverse to watching commercials than ever before, since the world is full of services that will provide the same content without them (not always legally). This has created a battle in which broadcast TV is having to fight for ways to get more advertisements into your eyeballs, whether you like it or not. And things are starting to get weird. As we speak, they are ...
6 Speeding Up Old Shows To Cram In More Ads
Sony Pictures Television
Even in a world of Netflix and, you know, torrents, about 90 percent of our TV viewing is still done via regular old broadcasts. So, most of the time when we're watching reruns of our favorite episodes of Frasier or Seinfeld, we're watching them in syndication on TBS or some local Fox affiliate. Did you notice that something seems ... a little off?
It might be because channels have begun airing reruns of popular old shows on fast-forward, just to cram more commercials into their allotted time slots. Oh, sure, they're not running them at double speed so that Ross and Rachel are zipping around their apartment, having a wacky, high-pitched chipmunk argument about their wedding. You would notice that. No, this is more subtle -- someone compared the original broadcast airing with the syndicated rerun of the same Seinfeld episode and found that the latter has been sped up by about 7 percent.
That may not sound like a lot, and it is, in fact, barely noticeable to the casual viewer, but it effectively shortens a 25-minute sitcom episode to just 22 minutes. On paper, this actually makes sense because commercial breaks have progressively been getting longer -- commercial breaks on cable are between one and two minutes longer than they were just a few years ago. The only way that channels such as TBS can accommodate the longer commercial breaks that have since become the industry standard is either cutting actual scenes or making everybody talk just a little bit faster. Or, you know, just making less money.
Sony Pictures Television
So, the comic timing is just a little off, the awkward pauses are just a little shorter, and everybody is moving at a pace that suggests they're on just a tiny amount of methamphetamine.
5 Making Ads DVR-Proof
Thanks to DVR devices such as TiVo, you can now watch any show on television and fast-forward through every commercial break. Have you ever wondered why it's a fast-forward button and not a button that just skips forward two or three minutes? Wouldn't that make more sense? Actually, the designers of TiVo absolutely could have made a skip button, but they chose not to because they were terrified that no network would support a device that could be used to circumvent commercials.
Instead, they included a fast-forward option, so that even if you skip the ads, you still kind of have to watch them. After all, a blurry McDonald's logo is still a McDonald's logo.
You make a great point, TV. I think I will eat seven Big Macs for lunch."
As such, some companies have started to develop commercials with the fast-forward viewing habits of DVR owners in mind, such as the one showing a super-slow-motion video of a Volkswagen that looks like a static advertising image while you fast-forward through it. Other companies such as Grasshopper phone system have created an ad featuring a mascot that never moves from the center of the screen, which eventually leaves you with a dime-store Jiminy Cricket image, burned into your retinas.
"You'll see me in your sleep! And I won't be friendly then."
Dish's Hopper DVR does have an ad-skipping feature called AutoHop, which can be set to automatically jump over every commercial break ... unless, of course, you're watching a show on any network owned by Disney, because the House of Mouse will not have its money fucked with.