Consumer News

Ads Hopscotching across Platforms

Consumers are gaining control over TV ads, but more are popping up in social media.

Consumer News

Ads Hopscotching across Platforms

It may soon be possible to skip advertisements on television completely.  Ahh, but don’t think you can escape ads forever. What you may be able to avoid on your TV screen will likely be popping up more in your social media streams.

Efforts to give viewers more control over how many ads they have to sit through while watching television have been gaining momentum. Viewers first had control over commercials when they videotaped television shows on Betamax. Then TiVo and ReplayTV offered recording services that allowed viewers to tape their favorite shows and fast-forward through ads. Cable companies have been offering DVRs, which allow viewers to also pre-record shows and skip through ads. Now, Apple is reportedly pitching a plan to allow Apple TV customers to skip commercials altogether. (Apple would compensate advertisers for the lost viewership.)  Dish Network is offering a similar choice – it is marketing a digital video recorder called the “Hopper” that it claims allows viewers to skip ads completely, without having to even fast-forward through them. Alarmed, television networks went to court for an A court order that requires a person or company to do a particular act or to refrain from doing a particular act. Example? A court order prohibiting a company from using an ad that’s been deemed deceptive. prohibiting the sales of the device, setting off a lengthy legal battle.

Tulane University Law School professor Glynn S. Lunney told The New York Times the ruling might tip the balance of control over ads from companies to consumers. Lunney said:

As copying and distribution technologies have gone digital, consumers, not the content owners, are in charge of where and how they experience content. It’s hard to know where this sea change will lead us, but Dish’s victory is one more sign of consumers’ new authority over copyrighted works.

But as viewers gain more control over ads they see in television programming, they will find they may not be able to avoid them on increasingly popular social media sites.

Facebook will soon be running television-style commercials in its news feeds.  Bloomberg reported that the social media site plans to charge as much as $2.5 million for each ad.

This spring, Twitter opened up advertising to all businesses. Previously, a company had to be invited to tweet ads.

The social networks have gotten themselves into some hot water as they’ve moved toward monetizing their sites with ad revenue. Recently, Twitter apologized after using fake tweets from real users in ads. And Facebook found itself the defendant in a class-action lawsuit after it developed ads that featured users’ images without their full consent.

Meanwhile, the FTC can barely keep up with monitoring conventional advertising to keep false and deceptive ads at bay. How will it possibly keep up with the streams of ads on social media sites? Stay tuned, and watch for our tweets and posts (in between the ads, that is).

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