Does it ever feel like there are more ads on TV than actual programming? We’re now learning that there may just be a reason for that. A practice known as “time warping” in the cable industry has recently come to light thanks to the work of some avid TV fans on YouTube, Reddit, and other websites. As it turns out, cable networks use all kinds of tricks to shorten your favorite programs and thus create more room for those advertisements. From speeding up an entire show, to carefully editing out small pauses in dialogue scenes.
While most people don’t notice the difference, upon discovering that their shows are being monkeyed with to make room for more commercials, many people are predictably upset, though largely unsurprised. But who can blame the TV networks as they deal with the time constraints of a linear format. With the next show scheduled to start at the top of the hour, an easy way to add revenue is to find a way to squeeze in another ad or two before then, and reducing the footprint of a show is one way to do that.
As television moves online, these problems and their associated controversies will go away. Netflix for example, relies on subscription revenue rather than advertising, so there’s no pressure to speed up their content to make room for an ad somewhere. Other content may be freely available if supported by ads, in which case an alternative would be to buy or rent the content, which would then be free from ads or other modifications. Rabbit TV Plus in particular provides a variety of ways for users to access content, and for content creators to monetize it, allowing each to choose what’s best for them. It also eliminates the need for the sort of tomfoolery that frequently rankles consumer advocates.
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