NBC Bitch-Slaps 'Heroes' Viewers With In-Program Ad


So last night, we're three quarters through yet another now shitty episode of the once-brilliant Heroes and what do we see a few minutes after a commercial break? No, not one of those banners that promotes some new show that will likely suck or some news tease that will make it impossible for us not to "stay tuned for more" at 11. No, we see a big black banner fill the bottom fourth of the screen touting the new Denzel Washington, Russel Crowe movie American Gangster. WTF?

So this is what it's come to, people. The nets aren't going to take any more of our ad skipping shit and they're now going to bombard us not only with annoying in-program promotions but with ,annoying, unskippable in-program ad banners. Apparently taking a cue from YouTube's video advertising efforts, NBC is going to get is ad revenue no matter what it takes.

While we can't fault a media company for protecting its revenue stream, it's beginning to reach the point of insanity. Watching a show recorded on a DVR is now going to be just as annoying as watching one live with commercials. Maybe worse. With old-school commercials, at least you could miss the ads by getting up to take a piss or grabbing something out of the fridge. No longer. And this isn't the last (and likely it's not the first) we'll see of these DVR-fighting tactics. Protecting that revenue stream is a very powerful motivator.

Sorry, we didn't get an actual screenshot of the banner.

Written by Steve Hall    Comments (11)     File: Television, Trends and Culture, Worst     Oct-30-07  
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Yeah, Heroes sucks now and it's swathed with ads. Gawd damn you, NBC! *shakes fist*

Posted by: Angela on October 30, 2007 12:52 PM

A. HEROES did used to be brilliant, but now almost COMPLETELY SUCKS. We used to do a podcast on it, but the season finale was so disheartening that we just plum stopped caring.

B. The over-content ads are infuriating and cause insta-conditioning making me automatically despise whatever it is that they're inserting into the programming.

C. If an ad looks funny, compelling, interesting, different, unique or like it's own programming I WILL WATCH IT rather than fast forwarding through it. Maybe the key is to have screenwriters and sitcom writers work with the advertisers to write a series of commercials that feels like content rather than manipulation.

D. Heroes sucks.

Posted by: Chapin on October 30, 2007 02:24 PM

Heroes was great last season. This season it's a little quirkier. As a (mostly) recovered comic book geek, I enjoy it and find it entertaining, but in a different way than last year.

With that said, the networks need to realize that they're screwed and find a new model. What's really interesting about the ad that ran there is that I thought NBC was the network that understood the best out of any of them. When they left their deal with YouTube (that deal was smart too btw) to make Hulu, it seemed that they were on the verge of grasping that their shows have the potential to be great traffic drivers to websites where people can watch them and they can make money on ads there as well to help compensate for lost revenue on the TV stream.

What ads like that do is appall viewers who feel that they are being bombarded with ads, which makes them turn them away from shows and watch either other networks or other media.

Posted by: James Gerber on October 30, 2007 03:11 PM

What's sucks about it? They've found a creative way to keep Superman(Peter) & Bizarro (Sylar) from using their nigh-omnipotent powers too much and screwing up the balance. They've got HRG doing sinister secret agent stuff, but with a much more defined motivation. Claire's dealing with flying daddy issues by getting a flying boyfriend (who's starting to sound a wee bit like Magneto). Hiro's screwing with Space-Time (or is he unknowingly protecting it)PLUS-Maya and Alejandro are like the Wondertwins from Hell! I have to say that this season may not have as many things to reveal, but every superhero fan knows that the real action starts after the origin story is out of the way.

Posted by: a. lankford on October 31, 2007 09:22 AM

Have you already mentioned the blatant product placement for YooHoo in Bionic Woman recently (another shite show)? If not, here's how it went down: a secondary character not only holds up a bottle so the brand is clearly visible (he pauses before picking it up, to make sure he's holding it right), then refers to it in dialogue ("...like figuring out how many words you can make with, I don't know, YooHoo..."). Twice. ("Nine, actually").

I will now always associate YooHoo with very bad bionic teevee.

I expect Heroes to follow suit: Peter flies past an American Airlines branded plane en route to "Montreal". HRG suddenly switches to DKNY branded glasses, "because they make feel better about myself" etc.

Posted by: Zesty Pete on October 31, 2007 09:53 AM

Luckily it was only on Heroes so it didn't really distract -- in fact it almost gave me a reason to look at the screen. But mostly it just gave me another reason not to tune into this show anymore. I was on the fence when I heard all the hype about Veronica Mars coming onto the show, but that plot fizzled out quickly and now I'm out. Somehow I can't see ABC sticking these ads into Lost -- but then again they don't really need to. Here's a tip: make better shows, hire better writers and execs -- thus you get more viewers, thus you get more ad revenue without resorting to annoying tactics. Is it really that tough? I do have to hand it to NBC's ad agency for making the shows at least look like they would be good.

Posted by: john on October 31, 2007 01:46 PM

I've got to say Lankford you make it sound a lot cooler than it actually was. Just goes to show you it's all in the execution.

Posted by: john on October 31, 2007 01:51 PM

Um, American Gangster, distributed by Universal, same company that owns NBC. So it WAS a promo. It's called "synergy".

Posted by: Chris on October 31, 2007 02:21 PM

At times like this, I remember my first exposure to in-show advertisements. It was the 1984 World Cup, and NBC got a sponsor, Budweiser, to advertise during the game. Not at commercial breaks, but during the game. So at certain points, the screen showing the game would shrink, and we would have a border surrounding the game, for Budweiser. At the time, I thought it was a novel way to do things (and at the time, it was).

I don't particularly mind in-show advertisements. I just wish they wouldn't cut off parts of the show to do it.

Posted by: Gene Platt on November 2, 2007 11:40 AM

This is why I download the show instead of streaming or watching it on TV: No Commercials or annoying ads, and I can watch the whole thing without "Buffering" or splitting the episodes into 'parts; like what nbc.com did last time I went there.

Posted by: Vance on November 11, 2007 05:36 PM

This is why I download the show: Easier and less annoying.

Posted by: Vance on November 11, 2007 05:37 PM

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