Microsoft Patents System That Would Let You Pay To Skip Commercials

It used to be that streaming a show online meant you had to deal with a minimum number of ads. But those online ad breaks are now growing longer and longer, and you usually don’t have a method for fast-forwarding past them. That’s why Microsoft has patented a system that would allow you to skip ads — for a price.

Late last year, the Windows wizards received a patent for “Control-based content pricing.”

From the patent application:

In an implementation of control-based content pricing, a content server distributes media content to a client device in response to a request from the client device to receive the media content. A valuation application allocates a cost to the client device when the media content is distributed to the client device. The content server receives a view control input from the client device that indicates how the media content is to be rendered and the valuation application adjusts the cost according to the view control input and how the media content is to be rendered.

Essentially, you would download all the content, including ads, but the price would change if you skipped ads or watched the show more than once.

More from the patent application:

[A]dvertisers will be increasingly unwilling to have their advertising messages communicated with media content that a viewer can navigate to skip over the advertisements… Accordingly, media content providers need to provide alternate advertisement revenue models so that advertisers will continue to sponsor advertising messages being delivered with media content for consumer viewing….

For example, if a user initiates a navigation control input to advance past (e.g., skip over) an advertisement, the cost of a requested on-demand movie may be increased. Similarly, if a user initiates a replay of a sporting event, the user may be charged for the replay control input and for each subsequent view control input. This provides an advertisement revenue model that reflects user viewing choices and selections during playback of requested on-demand media, and enables targeted advertising and media content delivery, while maintaining consumer privacy.

We wonder if the system would allow people to skip mid-commercial, thus giving the consumers the ability to actively veto (albeit for a price) advertising that is particularly grating or repetitive.

Microsoft seeks patent on monetizing buttons of TV remote [GeekWire]