Just a day or so after sealing the deal, new graphics have been pushed to DirecTV Genie boxes at warp speed to update bootup imagery and the screensaver with AT&T branding. Faster even than Verizon can drop DirecTV from their FiOS offerings. If only making NFL Sunday Ticket available to U-verse could be as efficient… (Thanks Joseph!)
Archives For Advertising
Disappointed that the ad-free Slingbox you purchased was suddenly inundated with banner ads and pre-roll video commercials? Well, you’re not alone. And two customers have taken these infractions to court via a class action suit.
“Sling Media failed to disclose that the use of the product would be contingent upon and subject the purchaser to unrequested advertising from Defendant. Since approximately March 17, 2015, Sling Media suddenly began broadcasting such unrequested spam advertisements to users of its Slingboxes. Slingbox has perpetuated a massive ‘bait and switch’ upon thousands of unsuspecting consumers […] who now need to watch the defendant’s ads to use their devices as promised.”
The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against Sling Media to produce and stream future original advertising through Slingbox without prior consent from purchasers. They also seek restitution and disgorgement of all profits garnered from the allegedly misleading business practices and commandeering of the devices, as well as interest and attorneys’ fees.
Perhaps Echostar’s Sling Media knew this day was coming… due to the introduction of the Slingbox M2, which looks just like the M1 yet is described as ad-supported. In any event, I won’t need to join the “class” as, for the first time since 2005, I am Slingbox-less — partially due to these gross intrusions.
Perhaps in conjunction with the introduction of a new Slingbox M2, we’re being told that Slingbox mobile clients for Android and iOS will soon be free -as opposed to the current $15 or original $30 SlingPlayer price points. Presumably the company can assume these costs in order to move more hardware and given the introduction of ad serving… well, all over the place. But here’s where it gets real interesting, as they look to the Amazon Kindle model: Echostar’s SlingMedia will provide an in-app purchase option to remove those ads. As to existing customers and the desktop or web clients, we’re just going to have to wait and see. But this is certainly an interesting twist for new customers looking to Sling for the most versatile TV everywhere solution.
As Tebow answered questions, two executives with TiVo Inc. traveled from the company’s San Jose, Calif., headquarters to Beverly Hills to meet with representatives from William Morris Endeavor Entertainment […] to explore an endorsement agreement – one that Tebow and TiVo later consummated and have maintained since.
As with much TiVo marketing, I wasn’t impressed back in 2012 when they signed Tebow. However, while TiVo’s outreach remains suspect in 2015 (1, 2, 3), they do seem more targeted and I sure hope they’ve moved on from the Tebow randomness given what we expect has been a poor ROI (if their stagnant retail numbers are any indication).
TiVo’s gearing up for a new round of television advertising targeting cord cutters with a pair of DVR birthing videos. Generally speaking, most ads that attempt to be clever and edgy are neither. I found the spots very mildly amusing, but think the company would have been better served with more focus on the product’s capabilities (like Virgin) – beyond a rushed description that refers to Amazon Instant or Amazon Prime Instant video streaming as Amazon Prime. (I get brevity in a 30 second spot, but this is the company that couldn’t always spell Roamio.) Further, while I don’t know if TiVo took this through a focus group, I suspect “record antenna TV” versus “record over-the-air HD” is a clearer, more powerful descriptor, plus you still have OTA in the product name and cord cutting references. They do wisely avoid TiVo Roamio OTA pricing options, as that’d consume the entire 30 seconds… not to mention, changes could be in the air. Ultimately, the commercial’s value to TiVo largely depends upon where exactly it’s shown along with the corresponding audience’s sensibilities.
Update! Roku has asked TechCrunch to remove an inaccurate statement and tells us: “Roku does not collect data from a customer’s WiFi network nor collect data from any other devices on a customer’s WiFi network.” Move along on, folks! Original story follows:
Assuming neither TechCrunch nor Roku misspoke, our streaming boxes (and sticks) will soon begin snooping on us. As Roku looks to generate revenue beyond meager hardware margins, they’re getting serious with measurement and advertising. And I get the need to monetize. However, the incoming ad platform piloted on Crackle is all sorts of creepy:
These interactive ads can also be personalized using data like a user’s location, as well as by tracking information collected on devices running on a household’s Wi-Fi network using traditional means.
Geo-targeting is a generally accepted practice to fine-tune offers, but sniffing my network to see what other devices I might be running is well out of bounds. Further, what other data will be passed along? For example, as Roku ramps up their analytics business, how might folks linking a Plex library or having installed an “adult” channel feel?
Well, as a follow-on, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Ha, just kidding, it’s all bad news… as those who accepted the prompt to download the latest desktop Slingplayer client in time for March Madness are now treated to an interface overrun with ads, as shown above. Going full screen or shrinking the window does reduce the chrome and ads; However, it’s still a startling spammy intrusion. If that wasn’t disappointing enough, Sling has seriously overstepped when it comes to their Slingbox 500 owners who shelled out $300 for the benefit of video pass-thru and television output now sullied by banner advertisement overlays. Initially, Sling is promoting new features. But we can guess where this is going. And not only do they drop the ad unit on top of your video, their implementation is flawed in that both sound and video are briefly interrupted as it clears. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the mobile apps – at some point will they too receive ads and, if so, would that result in dropping the $15 iPhone and Android fee?
(Update: Sling Media PR informs me that the Slingbox 500 overlay will not be used for third party ads and paid mobile apps will not receive ads. Further, they’d like to direct folks to this Multichannel article which covers their web and desktop player ad-serving position.)