From well-regarded television industry journalist and future blogger Bill Carter:
Looking to strike a blow against the proliferation of digital video recorders, the ABC network, its affiliated broadcast stations, and Cox Communications’ cable systems are establishing an on-demand video service that would allow viewers to watch ABC shows like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” any time they choose.
The catch: It uses a new technology that disables the viewers’ ability to fast-forward through commercials…
Several executives involved in the project, which ABC plans to offer to other cable systems around the country, said the move was an overt attempt to staunch the use of DVRs like TiVo, which viewers often use to avoid commercials. That activity is increasingly seen as threat to broadcast television, which depends on ad revenue to pay for programs.
“This does counter the DVR,” said Anne Sweeney, the president of the Disney-ABC television group. “You don’t need TiVo if you have fast-forward-disabled video on demand…”
Ray Cole, president of Citadel Communications, which owns three local ABC stations, who is also the chairman of the board of affiliated ABC stations, was even more direct about the goal of the new service.
“As network and affiliates, we both have an interest in slowing down the explosive growth of DVRs,” Mr. Cole said. “This is about combating DVRs. As we developed this at every stage, there was an agreement that however we put this together, disabling the fast-forward function was key.”
A pictorial representation of ABC’s view of you, the viewer: