Showtime Takes Annoying Ads During Movies Seriously

WHO: Showtime
WHAT: Showtime is promoting the upcoming shows by playing banner ads during movies that you paid to watch.
WHERE: Customer Service email
THE QUOTE: “While some viewers may be displeased with this tactic, we have found that a number of our subscribers appreciate learning about the premiere of a series in such a manner. Nevertheless, please note that we take your comments very seriously and have forwarded your concerns to the appropriate people. Thank you for writing to us.”

Comments

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  1. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    And they do it anyway! Who cares if you pay for it, you get money when you have people paying you and ad revenue at the same time! Happy Happy Smile Smile!

  2. Moosehawk says:

    I can’t imagine it’s that big of a nuisance. Is it just a banner running below the screen for a small period of time or what?

    If so I wouldn’t mind knowing what’s on later.

  3. mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

    If the choices are to pay and watch ads and not pay and not watch ads, guess which I’ll be choosing? Bye-bye, Showtime.

  4. KenSPT says:

    Oh my God, an ad during a movie !!! God forbid.

    Pick your battles Consumerist, if seeing an ad for Californication during a showing of Cool Runnings gets people all up in a fuss, we’ve got to find a way to mellow out America.

  5. FreemanB says:

    Next time you see this, send an email and CC every contact email address you can find associated with the movie, including the studio, distributor, director, etc. It may not help, but sometimes the people who made the movie get irritated about things like this. Particularly if it occurs during dramatic moments in the movie:

    “THIS IS–” Be sure to catch the premiere of The Comebacks this Saturday “–SPARTA!!!!” just doesn’t have quite the same feel to it.

  6. WNW says:

    “a number of our subscribers appreciate learning about the premiere of a series in such a manner”

    Never in my life have I met a person who didn’t find that type of advertising massively annoying. I’d be impressed if Showtime could produce one. I’m guessing the “number” that they are talking about is zero.

  7. arcticJKL says:

    The issue is not that there was an ad during a movie but that there was an ad during a movie that you PAID for.

    What you are paying for is an ad-free movie otherwise just watch regular TV.

  8. qitaana says:

    @WNW: Zero is a number, after all. =)

    I don’t get Showtime… my pet peeve is watching certain G4 shows like “Ninja Warrior” and “Ultimate Banzuke”. These are subtitled Japanese game shows. G4 starts running those little banners that KenSPT doesn’t think are a big deal…. and winds up covering the subtitles with them. =/ I want to know what cheesy line they’re pretending someone uttered after they’ve fallen while trying to hop up a few stairs on a unicycle!

  9. Honus says:

    Guise I’m super serial.

  10. Swervo says:

    @Moosehawk: I think just about everyone who has Showtime also has an interactive channel guide from their cable/satellite provider. I have no problem finding out on my own time what is coming up on the channel without interfering with the movie currently on.

  11. clevershark says:

    Ever notice how media companies keep answering this sort of complaints with “actually we find that customers enjoy having part of their view of the movie on a service they already pay for blocked so we can bombard them with advertising”.

    Who ARE these customers who “appreciate” and “enjoy” this sort of thing? Do they actually exist outside of marketers’ highly imaginative minds?

  12. woodenturkey says:

    bla that’s why i gave up on TV. All the damn animated banner ads running thru a show, or the station logo that takes up 3/4th of the screen. When I watch a movie I don’t want to be distracted by anything, it ruins the experience for me. And to all the people that say they might know about a new show, give me a break the beat you in the face with upcoming stuff between everything they show. The Disney channel is the worst, they will show commercials for themselves during a movie they produced 40 years ago.

  13. zentec says:

    @KenSPT:

    I think you’re missing the point. What this is about is how advertisers have tilted the cost/benefit equation. It used to be that with traditional broadcast TV, the consumer received programming and the only cost was the time spent for the commercials. But more and more, there’s poorer programming and more commercials. Those who were capable and saw benefit moved to fully paid TV because the equation there was better.

    Now, Showtime wants to change that equation and chew away a little more for themselves. Sure, it’s a promo snipe for their own program — right now. But who is to say that it’ll stay that way, maybe it’ll be a snipe for Coke, or microwave popcorn.

    I think the people who are upset see the program time as *their time*, and programmers need to take a hands-off approach to that time. It may be a little more intense because they are certainly paying money for that time.

    Would I be upset? I can’t say, I don’t subscribe to Showtime, HBO, et al because I see NO value to the $14 per month. For $14 a month, I can see a lot of movies I really want to watch via Netflix, not the same crap these people provide. But I can understand why they’re upset.

  14. ianmac47 says:

    @KenSPT:

    Say what you will, but its a premium channel they are talking about here. If showtime was included as a basic channel, sure, whatever, let them do what they want. But its not. Its a premium channel, included only on request, for which subscribers pay an additional fee. Its the sort of thing that makes people cancel subscriptions to premium channels.

  15. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    This practice to me is like pr0n pop-ups when reading something important like The Consumerist.

    I think it’s shit. I pay over $125/mo to gain all the premium channels, and they pull shit like this. I tolerate it on the lower rung providers like TNT, TBS, Etc that inundate you with commercials every 5 minutes, but the past few years have been getting worse and worse. Now those banners have sound that interrupts the show/movie and consume 1/3rd of the screen!

    It especially pisses me off with subtitled movies, when the stupid banner ad covers the text and you lose a minute of conversation.

    I’m ready to just unplug it and get my content from ThePirateBay. Then they can advertise all they want and TV will be free again…

  16. ptkdude says:

    These are called “lower thirds”, and I’ve previously ranted about them on my former blog. The Turner channels (TNT, TBS, and Peachtree TV) are out of control with them. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve told TiVo I no longer have them. As for Showtime, the first time I see one, I’ll be cancelling it. I’ll be sure to let them know why.

  17. ptkdude says:

    @zentec: For $14 a month, you can see 1.4 movies here in Atlanta.

  18. durkzilla says:

    If you are offended by Showtime presenting any sort of additional information overlaying the display of content that you have paid to view then CANCEL THE SERVICE.

    When their subscriber rate drops precipitously in a short period of time they will realize they screwed up.

    Personally, I find not spending the monthly subscription fees on HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc. and instead renting movies on DVD (from Netflix) works out about to be much cheaper and I get to watch movies I really want to see.

  19. DeeJayQueue says:

    @clevershark: NO. no, they don’t. But the companies have to justify the money that they’re getting from the people paying for the ad time in that annoying fucking banner, so they make up reports and bullshit polls that say people like it. Despite having channel guides an VOD and DVRs people still think that we enjoy having our pay cable service interrupted by ads. It wasn’t enough that we had to sit through 10 minutes of commercials to watch a 20 minute show, but now they’re putting bumpers and bugs and animated little fucking things all over the screen while the show is running.

    Why is it such a problem for me to want to watch my show without having something else jumping up and down trying to get my attention during it?

  20. mgy says:

    @qitaana: I once had an argument with someone who argued that 0 wasn’t a number, but a concept.

    We were drunk.

  21. woodenturkey says:

    @ptkdude:

    $14 at netflix is 4 dvds out at a time as many times as you want a month and unlimited PC views

  22. ptkdude says:

    @woodenturkey: Point taken. Netflix is out of mind for me since they still advertise with pop-ups.

  23. qitaana says:

    @mgy: Recommended reading: “Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea” by Charles Seife. An interesting read on how zero was heretical for a long while…

  24. davidc says:

    The idea of “paying” for a premium “movie” channel (or just a pay-per-view movie) is to watch said “movie” without commercial interruptions … otherwise, you just watch it on a normal station.

    Advertising, DURING the movie you payed for is unacceptable. Doesn’t matter the content of the advertising.

    I don’t subscribe to any movie service at all … I play World of Warcraft instead. If Blizzard decides to scroll advertising banners across the bottom of my game, then I will quit using that service and find another :-)

  25. badgeman46 says:

    What good is learning about a premier of a series, when you now know the screen of said series is going to be littered with visual clutter? It always ends up obscuring important visual cues, gestures, subtitles, etc. I make it a point to change the station when that crap happens.

  26. UpsetPanda says:

    @woodenturkey: Actually, $14 is 2 DVDs at a time as many times as you want per month and unlimited PC viewing. 4 DVDs a time is $23.99.

  27. JRock says:

    I don’t think you even have to consider yourself a movie snob to feel that an advertisement appearing during a movie like that would “take you out of” the experience, especially if it’s a good movie.

  28. Geekybiker says:

    What is worse is on FX, they like to have little sound effects that go with their pop up ads. So not only do they cover up the screen they cover up the dialog. F that. However this is because DVR’s are making regular commercials almost non-existent.

  29. Murph1908 says:

    @ptkdude:
    Agreed. TBS is the worst.

    This crap has got to stop.

  30. Trick says:

    Next these marketers are going to make me watch ads before a movie!

  31. I don’t know if I was watching a movie in 720p or 1080i, that advertisement would cut off QUITE A BIT of the movie.

  32. ornj says:

    I usually watch onDemand in which case I can see what else is on and I can watch it whenever the hell I want.

  33. woodenturkey says:

    @UpsetPanda:

    oops i was close

  34. richcreamerybutter says:

    @KenSPT: At what point are consumers (or anyone else) allowed to complain about ads? When did we sign on to be bombarded with advertising just by walking out the door?

    On a related note, I used to answer and/or forward viewer mail for IFC. This was around the time the burn-in logos started becoming standard for all the “tiers” (remember there was a time before this??). I felt terrible when a letter would describe the burn-in damage to the person’s HDTV (which I guess was pretty common at that time). I would forward these and follow up, but the response was basically, “oh well, the logos rank above damage to a few viewers’ TVs.

    Don’t lose hope when writing to complain, since I was actually one of those employees who took the time to respond personally and follow up, within the scope of my limited power.

  35. woodenturkey says:

    @ptkdude:

    ?? pop ups, you mean on webpages? i havent seen a pop up in years

  36. Trai_Dep says:

    They’re not ads, they’re promos. Geezus people, don’t confuse the two.

    As with movies (trailers are awesome, commercials make me force-heave into the (hopefully empty) chair next to me).

  37. mac-phisto says:

    remember when AMC used to be commercial free? ’twas my favorite movie channel.

    now they show commercials as much as any other turner station, turning an 80 minute movie into a 3 1/2 hour marathon.

    i don’t watch AMC anymore. :(

  38. HOP says:

    i don’t care for those banners….they usually cover up something i wanna see….the show “letters from iwo jima” was all subtitled ,and the station running it would flash a banner every so often covering the subtitle….

  39. firesign says:

    i have showtime and hbo. i’ve been considering dropping one of the two. looks like they’ve made the choice for me.

  40. urban_ninjya says:

    Sounds like boiler plate response. Especially since the guy writing it doesn’t have any authority to make those changes.

    The old, sympathasize, then say while other’s appreciate it, then the typical “we take your comments seriously.” and say the “appropriate people” will be notified.

    Perfect answers for when people don’t plan on doing anything about the problem. They never say who, exactly, is being notified, or if they will ever follow-up with you. Really all that’s done is add a +1 on a database of complaints. Do the +1’s add up to be more than the $$$ generated? Apparently not.

    I appreciate your concerns about global warming and how you feel like it is affecting our environment. A number of other people are enjoying the warmer weather, not having to use snow chains everywhere they go, and staying out on the golf course later. We take your concerns very seriously and will look into

  41. woodenturkey says:

    @Trai_Dep:
    WTF is a promo but a commercial for their product. good lord

  42. ptkdude says:

    @woodenturkey: Yes, that’s what I mean! And they’ve gotten good: they even get past pop-up blockers (the good ones, too. Not just the crappy one that comes with IE).

  43. theblackdog says:

    @woodenturkey: WHAT?! How are you getting 4 at a time for $14?! I’m paying $17 a month for 3 at a time!!

  44. theblackdog says:

    @theblackdog: Should have read further down the comments…

  45. mammalpants says:

    this is the first time ive even heard the name Showtime in years! im looking forward to not watching them for many many more!

  46. coelacanth says:

    This is what I don’t understand. They’re running commercials to reach people who are ALREADY PURCHASING THE SERVICE. Whether they LOVE the promo and come back to watch the advertised show, or HATE the promo and vow NEVER to watch the show, THEY DO NOTHING TO ALTER SHOWTIME’S REVENUE STREAM. So what exactly is the point?

  47. theblackdog says:

    This doesn’t make me miss cable at all. I hope I can convince the boyfriend to live the cable-free lifestyle when we eventually move in.

  48. sleze69 says:

    @KenSPT: This is actually an example of why the consumerist exists. Showtime was informed of the paradox of them running commercials during the middle of movies that people PAY FOR because they are uninterrupted. Their reply was, “fuck you, we are gonna do it anyway.”

    Having a bar on the bottom of the screen DOES distract you from the movie. Admittedly, it is less intrusive that 5 minutes of ads but it is still intrussive. People pay for uneditted AND uninterrupted movies on these “premium” channels and a banner ad is an interruption in that it interrupts your attention from the movie it is partially obscurring.

  49. Buran says:

    I’ll believe them when they STOP DOING IT. Have they? (I don’t get Showtime).

  50. Bald_Ben says:

    I subscribe to Showtime for two reasons: boxing and Dexter. They show these promos during boxing and it is annoying but I can live with it. If they were to show them during Dexter, on the other hand, I would be pretty irate, as I would if watched movies on the channel. I am pretty enthusiastic about movie watching, especially if it is in HD. I only like to watch movies in the dark and from a proper distance. I mainly watch Blu-Ray from Netflix (which has horrible supply problems right now, which, one would think, would be looked to before tipping the scales for blue ray–but that’s another issue…), so I don’t have to deal with this issue. If I did, I’d certainly find another channel to watch my movies on.

    @mac-phisto Those were the days. I’m saddened every time I see a good movie is playing on AMC these days, knowing it will be ruined by insane amounts of commercial interruptions. Also, they’ve gotten a bit loose with the definition of “classic” these days. When, exactly, did Volcano become a classic?

  51. stacy75 says:

    Whatever, I HATE HATE HATE that shit. I hate it during network movies, too. I hate it during TV shows. Hate. It.

    They always seem to put the ad banners on when there are subtitles you need to read, or maybe when they are showing a time/place title for the scene… Plus, it’s annoyingly distracting. And it jars you out of your escapism, which is why I watch TV/movies anyway.

  52. cde says:

    Wait, this was an ad for another show on SHowtime, or for a product? Cause the first is okay, the second is not.

  53. coelacanth says:

    @cde: The promo is for another show on Showtime. The point is that as a paying Showtime subscriber, I’ve already purchased *both* show they’re interrupting, *and* the show they’re promoting. To impact their bottom line, they would have to run their promos on HBO.

  54. clevershark says:

    @DeeJayQueue: the thing is, though, you’d think that they could come up with at least a better lie. No customer in the history of purchasing has ever thought “you know what I’d like? More commercials!” And no one believes that such a person exists.

  55. MaytagRepairman says:

    I removed Showtime years ago after they cancelled “Dead Like Me” to save a few bucks even though it received good ratings and I realized the remainder of their line up catered heavily to homosexuals.

  56. Amelia Subverxin says:

    So, if they’d rather have the number of subscribers that appreciate that feature, you obviously don’t belong to their preferred customer base and should cancel your subscription.

    Maybe then they’d take it seriously.

  57. elijah_dukes_mayonnaise says:

    @MaytagRepairman: So the banner ads come with gaydar?

  58. valarmorghulis says:

    zero is a number.

  59. karmaghost says:

    If you’re paying for the access to the channel and there is no product/service advertisements, why bother advertising for other shows at all? They have your money already! The only excuse for this, and it’s a poor one, is that they want to inform people of valuable programming so that they continue to pay for the channel.

    This is fucked up; more fucked up than NBC’s “X Minutes until Show Y” countdown overlay that they keep in the bottom right at all times during shows.

  60. spinachdip says:

    @karmaghost: Not to defend Showtime, because in-show promos are incredibly annoying and tacky, but in any business, retaining existing customers is as important, if not more so, than recruiting new ones. And they absolutely need viewers to watch their original programming, because that’s where they have to differentiate themselves from HBO and Cinemax.

    Obviously, if their viewer retention tactic alienates viewers, then it’s counterproductive, but their very business depends on converting casual viewers (i.e. ones who just watch movies) to regular viewers.

    To paraphrase one of the most important philosophers of our time, I’m not saying they should do it, but I understand.

  61. GlennA says:

    I’ve yet to see HBO do anything like this, which is why I still have HBO. I’ve pretty much stopped watching “commercial” TV due to this behavior by networks/channels. If HBO were ever to start doing this, then I’d have pretty much no reason to subscribe to any cable/satellite TV at all; I’ll just rent and/or buy all of the movies/shows I want to watch.

  62. attackgypsy says:

    Something to remember.

    YOU are not paying Showtime.

    Your cable company is. You pay the cable company to provide it to you over their system.

    So why would they care?

    Sounds dumb, but its the way these companies think.

  63. spinachdip says:

    @GlennA: Again, not to defend Showtime, but I’m not sure if it’s fair to compare program promos for HBO and Showtime. HBO’s original programming is more established as a brand, and the network has less need to for a hard sell to promote its programs. Showtime’s orginal programming is less mainstream, and the network needs to push it more than HBO does. Again, I’m not saying it’s right, but I understand.

    @attackgypsy: That’s silly. Showtime is an a la carte add-on, so cable subscribers can freely add or drop the Showtime channels. That’s like saying Acme Widgets doesn’t care about customers pay Lowes or Home Depot to access the widgets.

  64. Bald_Ben says:

    @spinachdip: It could work the other way though: viewers develop negative associations with, say, The Tudors due to invasive advertising during a movie.

    Also, companies do stuff all the time that’s understandable but not necessarily right. I think the idea is to advocate for the consumer view, not the corporate view.

  65. nybiker says:

    A number of years ago, I subscribed to Showtime. Then they started with the logo on the screen every 30 minutes for about 2 minutes. They also split the screen during the end credits so that they could show the “Showtime Extras” while the credits were squished below (the top right corner was just a Showtime logo). I complained to them as well as to Directv (I figured they could tell SHO to knock it off since if canceled SHO Directv would lose money). Well, nothing changed, so I canceled Showtime. Next Starz started with the same crap. I made the same complaints. No luck. So I canceled Starz and that’s when I started with Netflix.

    And if HBO or Cinemax start doing it, then they go too.

    What part of “premium” and “no edits” do these channels not understand? The credits are part of the movie. Directors don’t tell the DP to avoid filming a scene such that important information is in the lower right corner or even the lower portion of the shot. With the logos or even a “crawl” being there the channels have effectively edited the movie and not to its betterment.

    On a side note, I recently stopped watching (or even taping) shows on NBC and ABC since besides their logos, they started putting on the extra “New episode of xxx Next!” or “OSCAR countdown – 5 days” next to their logos. Did you see the ABC screen days before the Oscars or days before the Oprah give away?

    Sorry for the rant, but this topic just made me sign up just so I can my 2 cents (ok, maybe it’s 4 cents now).

  66. TechnoDestructo says:

    @KenSPT:

    It’s a premium channel, that you’re paying extra to get. You expect a higher level of service for the extra money, over what you’d get watching a movie on TNT or whatever the hell other basic cable channel.

  67. MercuryPDX says:

    I think the last time I paid for HBO I remember they had a “New Viewer Weekend” where it must have been unblocked for everyone. It’s was like watching a pledge drive for PBS between movies.

  68. Trai_Dep says:

    @woodenturkey: See my comparison btn movie trailers and movie ads. Same thing.

  69. Trai_Dep says:

    @MaytagRepairman: Yeah, I can barely watch Dexter, Weeds or The Tutors without all that hawt hawt m/m action. Have you even WATCHED TV in the past ten years?

  70. Trai_Dep says:

    Heh. Tudors. Tudors!

  71. dweebster says:

    @arcticJKL: Egads, I hate that advertising on the ripoff $50 basic cable stations we have. If I were to waste the money for Showtime and see this type of crap I’d cancel immediately and spend the money on a nice DVD or extra meal out each month. Hey Showtime – people have TV guides and still some level of reading ability remaining. Those stupid ads (even the damn watermarks) distract from the present content and should be banned outright.

    No wonder everyone and their horse has A.D.D. nowadays.

  72. kc2idf says:
  73. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @cde: Yes it’s for another show, and No, it’s not okay.
    If I want to know what else is on, I look at my guide, or I wait until AFTER THE MOVIE because that’s all they do between movies is commercials for upcoming shows.

    And I have a Tivo, blame me, it’s my fault.

    Seeing as how I’ll be able to download new episodes of Californication next season (legally or semi-legally), once I get them in HD, Showtime is off my bill.

  74. robocop is bleeding says:

    There is a direct correlation between the amount of annoying banner ads I see for a show and my lack of desire I have for actually watching said show. I am told that ‘Psych’ and ‘Monk’ are decent shows, but they cropped up seven thousand too many times during reruns of Law and Order on USA for me to watch to watch them.

    Also, what is with all banner ads for TV shows featuring the stars of the show looking like smug douchebags?

    Urf. If they did this while I was watching a premium channel, I’d be pissed too.

  75. cockeyed says:

    @robocop_is_bleeding: Psych sucks. Monk is funny, though.

    I really hate this new tatic by ALL stations of having the stupid little animations or banners or whatever popping up and telling me to watch a (usually) crappy tv show that I would never watch. Ya notice they usually only do this for their low-rating shows? Anyway, I hate it the most when they make sounds, because you wonder what the fuck is going on. It really makes me angry when these things interrupt my shows.

    I get showtime because my apartment complex has an all-included rent, so direct tv is part of my rent… I haven’t seen these so far, but I don’t really watch them anyway… The saying is true, over 100 channels and still nothing to watch.

  76. scoosdad says:

    I don’t presently subscribe to Showtime but if I did, you can bet if I started seeing these overlays on the movies I’d paid for, I’d cancel and let them loudly know why I did it. F**k complaining to the cable company, do you think Comcast cares enough to bring your complaint back to Showtime?

    @kc2idf: I think action on the “banner abuse” on these basic cable channels would be more effective if it came from the advertisers or even syndicators of the programs themselves and not from the viewers.

    Similar issue: our local Fox station at one point started to run split-screen promos for their 10 PM news (with announcer voice-over) on top of the closing credits for Seinfeld. If you’re familiar at all with the show, you know that sometimes the plot continues to play out right through the credits and sometimes even as a voice over on top of the production company end-credit. The news promos were essentially ruining the punch line of many of these shows.

    I sent an email to Sony Pictures Television (the syndicator) and let them know what was going on, and within a week the practice had stopped. I can’t say it was my complaint that did it, but if enough people complained to the major advertisers or producers of these program about this banner advertising issue, this might get fixed. The advertisers don’t want to lose you as a viewer and potential customer, and the program producers don’t particularly like it when their customers (TBS, for example) starts messing with the content of the program they sold to them to the point where viewers are complaining. (And don’t get me started on what Turner channels do to the credits of movies either.)

  77. axiomatic says:

    Everyone who said “who cares” is acting like sheep. If you are paying for a service that has never had advertisement before and then suddenly it does, you bet I’m going to cancel showtime.

    What do you sheep think the reason everyone was canceling XM Sat radio when Clear Channel started putting advertisements on a pay for network? THIS IS THE REASON!

    Sheep

  78. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @scoosdad: That’s a good strategy. And then you should cancel anyways. Cause fuck them, that’s why. Media consolidatin’ bastids.

  79. Atomike says:

    And don’t forget about Tivo! They plaster very annoying ads all over your front page constantly (and other serious infractions). Seriously, Tivo HATES its customers. I have never seen a company that has repeatedly treated its customers like garbage over and over again. They haven’t OFFICIALLY said so, but from what I’ve seen, I think it’s obvious that Tivo will be bankrupt by the end of 2008. Not worth the subscription price at all. What a junk company.

  80. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @Geekybiker: OMG, I hate that SO MUCH!

    One of the things I like about watching shows online instead of on TV is that the ads don’t come on top of the show. Commercial breaks, fine. Ads covering up the clue they just found? LAME.

    My beef with the ads online is that it’s the same ad for the whole show. How hard is it to show a different one?

  81. econobiker says:

    Noticed that Comcast adverstised for another upcoming movie within an On Demand movie- but the movie I was watching was one of the free ones.

  82. radio1 says:

    This practice sucks.

    I just hate crap like this.

    Even with the “free” On Demand stuff, you are still paying for that service. The same with DVDs. Christ on a cracker, you have my money. Don’t make my eyes bleed by adding commercials to it.

    Disney, Nick Jr. and dare I say, PBS Sprout are the champs of this. Yes my 32 month old sons loves your shows. But your shows (even PBS) are just commercials for your toy products. So, I have to 5 minutes of commercials before my feature length commercial begins… Ugh!

    The worst offenders of this is Fear.Net. Good God…! Ok, I’m used to the retarded game commercials for the first minute, but then they break right in the middle of the movie to do more advertisements? And that stupid knife slashing the bottom third of the screen?!

    Somebody save us!

  83. MaytagRepairman says:

    @Trai_Dep: I left Showtime only 4 years ago. At the time the L Word and Queer As Folk were being advertised hard by Showtime because they didn’t have anything else to advertise except Huff which apparently flopped (those shows you mentioned didn’t exist yet) and it was the only thing that distinguished them from other premium channels.

  84. scoosdad says:

    @Atomike: What do you expect for a company whose business plan is based on selling consumers hardware so that after building up a large enough customer base, they can then collect viewing data from those customers and sell it to broadcasters and advertisers, and also push ads back onto the hardware?

    I’d bet they make more money off selling that data than they do selling the hardware and subscriptions. Is their annual report published somewhere?

    Back to the original topic, wouldn’t it have been great if the new digital TV broadcast standard included a way for stations to carry that banner advertising in a separate layer from the program, and let you opt-out of it somehow? I’d pay a little extra on my cable bill for a clean feed of every channel so that it didn’t show the graphics. Plasma owners would buy into that just to remove the fear factor about burn-in of the logos. Ditto for a way of losing the announcer’s audio on some sports events (tho’ I have a way to do that already).