COMMENTARY: Commercials Are Terrible

26 Mar

I am not opposed to advertising in order to create interesting art. This practice has a history as old as art itself, or at least as old as giving people a lot of money to paint and then asking that they maybe try to get your good side when they do a picture of you.

But I do not like commercial breaks. No indeed. And this is why I do not have cable television any longer. And it does not bother me one little bit. I have Netflix, and I have the internet, and by and large I don’t mind video or banner ads, but interrupting my viewing in order to try and sell me something for progressively longer periods of time just isn’t cricket, and it’s getting worse.

Commercial pods are getting longer, and networks are trying to drive live viewing with shorter and shorter TV seasons. That’s fine with me—my favorite shows are mostly on after a few hours and I’m more than happy to drop $2 per episode to catch them, because you know what? That is not nearly the price of a cable bill, and it’s all ad-free.

Cable services are expensive, finnicky, and suffer from some of the worst customer service in any medium. HBO produces crackerjack TV shows and it has no advertising revenue at all, so I think we can dispense with the “ads pay for your content” argument. I, world. I pay for my content. If I don’t like it, I stop paying. It’s that easy. All the McDonald’s ads in the world can’t make me go to McDonald’s; soon enough advertisers are going to figure that out and stop buying most of the shows I like altogether, and that will be fine with me, because they will still exist in some form, somewhere.

Anyway, HBO is thawing on the subject of a la carte service, and it would be nice if they came around. Also if I could buy my internet service from somebody who doesn’t also sell cable, because I suspect you can only get the good internet if you buy their too-expensive cable packages.



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