Jewish World Review June 18, 2002 / 8 Tamuz, 5762

David Grimes

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Watching enough commercials? | Here's a news story that is sure to have you sobbing softly as you dab your eyes with a Charmin Fresh Mate: Advertisers and TV executives are upset because viewers are fast-forwarding through stupid commercials.

Even more traitorous, one in five people who own a digital video recorder like TiVo or ReplayTV say they never watch any commercials, according to a story in The New York Times.

If you think industry executives might respond to this trend by creating commercials that are less loud, obnoxious, insulting, juvenile, pompous, arrogant, repetitive and/or downright stupid, you obviously have no idea how TV works. What the industry did was basically accuse habitual ad skippers of being criminals.

"The free television that we've all enjoyed for so many years is based on us watching these commercials," Jamie C. Kellner, chief executive of Turner Broadcasting, told the Times. "There is no Santa Claus. If you don't watch the commercials, someone's going to have to pay for television, and it's going to be you."

Those of you who have cable may be under the delusion that you already are paying for TV. For example, I pay $45 a month to a cable company whose name is not relevant (Time-Warner), and I don't even get HBO. Many of the 60 channels I get I don't watch, because they're basically one endless infomercial.

(Not watching all-infomercial channels is probably as heinous a crime in the eyes of the TV industry as fast-forwarding through a Mazda Tribute ad, the one in which the Jamaican-sounding announcer repeats the words "Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!" over and over and over again until you feel like throwing the remote control through the TV screen, necessitating the purchase of a new TV, which is probably the thinking behind the ad.)

You may be wondering why the entertainment industry (the name "money-grubbing, junk-peddling industry" was presumably already taken) is getting so worked up now about the issue of commercial-skipping when VCRs have been around for 20 years. As I understand it, these new digital video recorders are so easy to use that even people like me who have trouble installing a shower curtain can operate them.

Don't think I am urging you to run out and plunk down $400 for a new DVR (there's also a monthly fee of about $13) just so you can watch "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" without having to endure Buddy Lee dungaree commercials.

If commercials were better, people would watch them and everybody would be happy. At least that was my thinking until I found out that, during the last Super Bowl, viewers with digital video recorders were fast-forwarding through the game and using their instant replay function for the Britney Spears Pepsi commercial more than any other segment besides the winning field goal.

What we viewers would be telling advertisers is that we want more commercials featuring busty, under-talented singer/actresses engaging in soft-core porn.

Somehow, I think advertisers knew that all along.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


06/03/02 Throwing your vote to the dogs
05/08/02 Hey, Mom, could you spare a dime?: Parents' obligations unending

© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune