Welcome to 2004

I am sure that most of you have figured out that the TiVo (or ReplayTV) PVR you got for the holidays is TV-commercial free.

How nice is it to watch TV when you want and commercial free? I have had a ReplayTV for over a year now and I love it. I also wonder why advertisers continue to buy spots on TV, since I haven’t seen a commercial in months.

Even when a sporting event is on, I always start the ReplayTV and then come back to the game in about an hour. Now I’m able to skip the commercials and just watch the game.

Local stations and networks need to figure out how to work around this trend, or there’s going to be trouble in the near future. In fact, studies show less people are watching TV now then ever before, yet stations and networks are asking for more money for spots.

So, if less people are watching TV and a percentage of those that do watch it are skipping the commercials with their PVRs, how are spots being sold for more?
I guess P.T. Barnum was right: You can fool people. Lucky for TV folks that advertisers seem to be very easy to fool.

Sooner or later these ad people are going to figure this out and quit buying time on TV. So TV executives better come up with some ideas to keep those ad dollars rolling in.

Never fear, people: I am here to help. Here are a few of my ideas to keep the money flowing into TV stations and networks:
- Have your news anchors wear the same suits that NASCAR drivers wear. You can stick sponsor logos all over the suits and then they will get great exposure in the newscast.

- Instead of Matt and Katie drinking out of coffee cups during the Today Show, how about a can of Coke or Pepsi? I am willing to bet that the soft drink companies would pay big bucks for that.

- Get Survivor to move from some far off place to the GM plant in Detroit. I am sure there could be some great immunity challenges done right on the assembly line.

- Sponsor network shows. Sporting events have done this for years (i.e., the MasterCard Colonial Golf Tournament). How about The Preparation H West Wing? Or The Flintstones Vitamins CSI? Who wouldn’t tune into Tampax’s Nightline with Ted Koppel?

- Take a cue from the Web and put pop-up ads in the middle of your newscast. So, while you’re showing that nasty car accident that slowed rush-hour traffic, a pop-up comes on for GEICO insurance.

Those are just some of the ideas I have to keep the advertising dollars coming in. I also think it is time more stations and networks look at pay-per-view specials.

Would you plunk down $20 to watch Katie Couric mud wrestle Diane Sawyer? I know I would. How about Dan Rather and Peter Jennings in a death-cage match for $19.95? Sign me up!

Maybe a shower cam in Monica and Chandler’s bathroom on Friends? How about the whole lovemaking scene unedited on the Bachelorette?
Sooner or later advertisers are going to wake up and figure out they are paying a lot of money for spots that no one is seeing. I urge TV executives to look to the future and figure out what they will do then.

As for me? I have to go watch last night’s CSI Miami, commercial free of course.
Happy New Year!