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TV streaming and inescapable ads

Ellen DeGeneres' celebrity-filled Oscar tweet was also product placement for Samsung Galaxy.

Dish Network has cut a deal with Disney, which allows it to stream content from ABC shows and channels. In exchange, Dish has agreed to limit the use of controversial ad-skipping technology on its digital video recorders, for which it was being sued not just by ABC, but other major networks as well.

Dish’s "Auto Hop" lets you skip ads with the press of a button.  Jim Nail is an analyst at Forrester Research.  He says right now, broadcasters are getting around features like "auto hop" by playing defense. They're either suing Dish or disabling the fast-forward button. 

Ira Kalb teaches marketing at USC's Marshall School of Business and he says shows like American Idol are taking a more creative approach. Recently, the talent show experimented with splitting the TV screen: one part of the screen was behind-the-scenes footage of contestants, which is a fan favorite.

"At the same time they showed some advertising content, it was the logo of the company of the product. So formatting is another way to avoid ad skipping," he said. 

Then there’s old fashioned "product placement," which has been around forever, but is becoming popular again. Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries, says the future might be an amalgam of old and new. He points to Samsung’s coup at the Academy Awards: the 30 second ads, the product placements and then there was the selfie -- of Ellen DeGeneres and a  gang of movie stars -- which was taken on a Galaxy. It got millions of retweets.

"When you get that viral aspect to it which we did with Ellen’s tweet, that’s really where a message can live for a long time," says Sweeney.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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