A hot potato: Virtually nobody likes ads, except for advertisers. So when a service that never used to have commercials suddenly starts to run them, everyone freaks out. So it is no wonder people are threatening to ditch TiVo now that it has officially confirmed ads will roll before recorded content.
Last week, we reported on rumors that TiVo was testing running ads before recorded content. Some users were seeing an advertisement when they tried watching recorded content from their DVR.
This week, a TiVo spokesperson told digital media website Light Reading that it is going ahead with the plan for the pre-roll ads.
"DVR advertising is going to be a permanent part of the service," the company representative said. "We expect to be fully rolled out to all eligible retail devices within 90 days."
The change will apply to all users running the TiVo Experience 4 software, including those with lifetime subscriptions. The ads will run when users hit play to start watching a recorded show. The company intends to roll out the commercials to users still on TiVo Experience 3 at a later date. So not updating to the latest software is not a way to avoid the ads.
The initiative is likely to upset many customers, especially those who have paid for lifetime subscriptions. TiVo is ready for the blowback, saying that users can skip the ads.
"DVR advertising is going to be a permanent part of the service."
"We have designed our new DVR advertising units with the ability to 'skip' ads anytime a customer hits' skip'" said the spokesperson. "This is part of our ongoing commitment to bring our users the best media discovery experience possible."
Of course, as expected, users on the TiVo forum are fuming. Many say they will be quitting the service.
"Like most, unless they remove the monthly subscription fee entirely, pre-roll ads are a nonstarter for me," said one long-time subscriber. "Not paying a monthly subscription to then have to also watch ads. Shame on you TIVO that's it for me after 10 years of TIVO. Your greed will be your downfall."
Of course, anytime a change like this comes along, there is a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth. I am old enough to remember when MTV (and many other cable channels) did not have ads. There was much outrage about that too. "Why should I have to watch commercials for a channel I pay for?" However, very few dumped their cable service.
We shall see how this plays out for TiVo. In the meantime, keep your thumb on the skip button.