Written by Media

ITV Luddites

OK – that’s not my headline. I lifted it from the editorial in last week’s Marketing magazine. They carried a story which I’ve only just got around to reading that says that ITV is trying to limit Freeview PVR technology.
With Sky+ being by far the market leader in PVRs, the Freeview consortium has been trying to put together a “Freeview Playback” specification that’ll allow promotion under a single brand-name of Freeview PVRs. So far, so good (As an aside, I can’t recommend enough the single-tuner Digifusion FVRT90/95. It’s only shortcoming is the aforementioned single tuner meaning that you can’t record one programme and watch another at the same time, but the software updates are regular, with bug fixes and new features beinig added all the time).
But Marketing reports that “a source” says that ITV wants to restrict the fast-forward speed to a maximum of 16x normal playback. This compares with 32x for Sky+, and 48x for the Digifusion FVT90/95. And of course both Sky+ and the Digifusion allow skipping forward a set number of minutes – I regularly skip three minutes at the start of an ad break and then fast forward the remainder. On the upside for ITV is the fact that sponsors’ credits become even more important, acting as a kind of “marker” for where you should stop fast-forwarding.
The Marketing editorial (not free online sadly) rightly points out that while PVR technology might be causing even more headaches for ITV with fewer viewers seeing their ads, making backwards technological steps won’t help matters. Removing features from devices is not a great idea in the consumer’s eye.