Will HD Set Top Boxes Change the Advertising Model for Content

I have been on Tata Sky + HD Set top box for over two years now, and my Television viewing habits have changed forever. I no longer watch anything live, may be with a rare exception of real breaking news, that too after I have got it on alternate channels like twitter etc.

Why do I do that?

  1. It saves me time, I do not have to watch advertisements, I can simply skip them, and watch only the content that I want to
  2. I get to decide when I want to watch what, rather than someone at the TV channel deciding it for me
  3. I do not have to miss any real life event or a phone call – I can always pause and get back to the program
  4. I hardly go to cinema halls as most films are on Television within1-3 months timeframe, I can record them and watch them at my leisure, and keep the favorite ones stored forever – giving away the collection of old CDs and DVDs

The cost of these setup boxes was quite high couple of years back but has come down drastically now which means they are going to be adapted much more and the companies selling them are also promoting them big time. Now what would this mean for the basic revenue model that funded the content and its broadcast till now – advertising. The real victim in this nexus of technology and consumer is advertising, that is the first thing that gets skipped, making advertisers loose the money they have put in buying those coveted spots.

I can already see that in-content advertising has started making in-roads, to the extent that even in daily soaps now the brands that do not pay are being blurred, though in such a amateur way that they actually end up attracting the eye. As the advertising advantages from between the breaks goes down, advertising may come back into the content, with scripts being modified to accommodate them or my the technology will evolve to force you to watch ads and you will not be able to fast forward them. As a consumer, which of the two devils I can live with, I do not know as yet and I would not speculate as the experiential things should not be.

Anuradha Goyal