Some ads with your TiVo?

It was inevitable. The commercial-skipping device has gone commercial.

First, TiVo started offering ads on its main menu. Now, the company is giving advertisers the chance to grab the attention of fans of the fast-forward function. Its latest software release—due in March—will feature a fast-forward billboard that will appear in the form of graphics as users zip through TV spots. As TiVo’s Kimber Sterling described it to Adweek back in September, it will be "an opportunity for the advertiser to create a speed bump to get another chance to bring the person back into the commercial." 

Guess what? People generally don’t like speed bumps. And indeed, some TiVo owners are crying foul, saying the ad "intrusion" crosses the line.

On this one, AdFreak sides with TiVo. Who can blame the unprofitable 7-year-old company for attempting to diversify its revenue base as it feels the heat from DVR-bundling cable operators? Not to mention, it is trying to make nice with the networks and advertisers.

We’re not saying the fast-forward billboard is the solution. It’s probably a stop-gap until something better comes along. In the meantime, TiVo owners should get used to the fact that their Monday Night Footall and Desperate Housewives come with a price—a commercial message—and no technology is going to change that. Nothing in life is free. Unless you switch to HBO and stay there. Oh wait, that costs money, doesn’t it?

—Posted by Ann M. Mack