ABC's Shaw To Ad Execs: Keep Ad-Skipping In Check
Toward the end of remarks to agency executives Wednesday, Shaw said the obvious: That the DVR fast-forward function benefits no one on the sales side--not the agency representatives arrayed before him, not the networks, and not the cable operators who distribute the zapping devices. They sell ads locally and are looking to make that an increasingly larger part of their business with the help of emerging technologies, he reasoned.
Then, Shaw made a pitch for the agency executives who buy time from the operators and are in frequent conversations with them to encourage them to find some way to slow down the widespread consumer adoption of ad-skipping. Perhaps the cable operators (who derive revenues from their customers paying for DVR service and ad sales) could slow the fast-forward functionality, or even disable it for certain programs at certain times, he said.
But then he said, "Maybe it's wishful thinking."
Broadband streams of shows are usually set up to prohibit fast-forwarding through ads, as is the case on ABC.com.
Shaw, president of sales and marketing at ABC, has expressed similar anti-DVR thoughts before and was speaking for himself Wednesday--not the ABC network or the parent Walt Disney Co., a source close to him said.
The source downplayed his comments and said his main point was simply that with commercial ratings coming, it's in every sales-sider's best interest to ensure ads are viewed as much as possible.
Shaw made his comments during a short delivery to agency executives at a development meeting ABC held Wednesday in Los Angeles.
As a network, ABC's hits shows such as "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost" are subject to considerable time-shifted viewing via DVRs and presumably ad-skipping.
An example of MSOs' increased interest in ad dollars came on a recent Cablevision earnings calls where COO Tom Rutledge said the company has held discussions with other large cable operators, such as Comcast and Time Warner, about creating a national network that allows for interactive ad buys. He did add that activation is not imminent and Cablevision wouldn't see any significant revenue in 2007. "In the long run, there's an opportunity there," he said