I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere in broadcast history, we the people began rallying against these mini-adventures that interrupt our favorite shows. It probably happened when networks started ramping up the number of commercial minutes per hour. Back in 2009, TNS Media estimated that commercial messages take up 36% of a prime-time, hour-long show. Wow.
If you’re one of those people that would rather surf the channels rather than watch another artsy ad for a new car, Aristarchos LTD has an app for you. It’s called Commercial Break and it’s new for iOS (Android coming soon.)
To make it work, you have to choose the show you’re watching from a list on the app. Right now it only works with 10 major networks in New York City and a few extras like TNT and USA up and down the East Coast. Then, when the commercials start, you can you go surfing, go into the kitchen for a snack, go run around the block – whatever you think is a better use of your time.
When the show comes back on, the app sends you a message. Better hope you haven’t strayed too far because you only have seconds to get back to the TV.
Look, I appreciate the effort that went into creating this app and I wish them luck. I also really appreciate that they included me in their press release distribution list – I love TV and apps so it seems like a good fit. But there are two things about this app that bother me.
First is this graphic from the app download page.
I am very unhappy that they’re using a trash can as a symbol for a TV commercial. And then they emphasis it with two references to “can’t stand this.” So harsh. The people who make TV commercials – writers, directors, actors, crew – work hard to turn out an entertaining and informative product. And some commercials are funnier than your average sitcom.
My second issue is this note on the app page: * Free for a limited time
So, instead of watching the commercials that pay for my favorite TV show, I’m supposed to pay the app developer to help me skip them? What’s wrong with this picture? How about you? Would you pay to skip the ads on your favorite shows? Not me. Not me.