TBS runs the world's worst interstitial

When watching Family Guy on TBS, Jason Kottke was subjected to a horribly annoying interstitial ad that actually paused the content.

They paused the TV show, ran a little mini-commercial for some show that no one cares about, and then returned to the last two seconds of the segment before going to commercial.

On the other hand, you have to give TBS some credit for being so progressive: one hardly expects to see such a great advertisement for bit torrent on cable television.

TBS and their annoying interstitial commericials [Kottke]

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16 Comments

  1. Wow they’re getting worse. I thought they were bad enough before with quarter of the screen full of the cast of “House of Paine” dancing.

  2. You mean somebody was watching Family Guy and something random, unfunny and irritating suddenly popped up on the screen?

    How could they tell?

  3. This is bad, yes. It’s annoying and awful and destructive to the enjoyment of whatever show you happen to be watching.

    It’s also completely and totally expected. Broadcast TV networks (and basic cable channels) rely on advertising dollars to fund them. Advertisers are only willing to pay them on the assumption that people will see the ads they’re paying for. With the advent of DVR’s and time shifting, the ONLY way to guarantee that ads aren’t fast-forwarded or skipped entirely is to more firmly embed them into the content itself. We see this in a return to prominent product placement in shows (Nissan Versa in Lost. Survivors rewarded with a Home Depot building kit.) and in ways for the network to stuff them in to unrelated shows. Hence, the network corner ‘bug’, the interstitial, and now this. How long do you think it will be before shows are shot with little blue/green empty billboards built into sets, allowing local networks to key in whatever their local sponsor is, ala’ the TV-only wall billboards in baseball?

    Content WILL be paid for, one way or another.

  4. #3: How long do you think it will be before shows are shot with little blue/green empty billboards built into sets, allowing local networks to key in whatever their local sponsor is, ala’ the TV-only wall billboards in baseball?

    Wow, that’s pretty damn clever. If it’s unavoidable, get thee to the Patent Office!

  5. An interstitial is a transition — this is a hideous, typical “snipe.” I had to make these, and the douche I was working for wanted them (and logos, and branding) huge. I’d tell him “You’re at the halfway mark vertically…” and “you’re in the mouth area of a close-up…” but he didn’t care. There was no downside for him to make it as big as hell.

  6. Presumably to integrate it like that, the channel was paid much more money than they would be for regular ad time, so maybe it’s for the best.

    Also Dannysland, that is gold.

  7. Consider, for a moment, that this interstitial advertisement was for another television show, not for a product. This advertisement was not paid for by some external entity and, thus, discussion of the monetary value of interstitials doesn’t apply in the traditional sense. This is just a really annoying advertisement.

  8. I don’t watch cable or broadcast TV anymore, and things like this are what sent me to BitTorrent.

    Even on HULU and ABC the commercials they prompt aren’t nearly as disruptive or silly.

  9. How long do you think it will be before shows are shot with little blue/green empty billboards built into sets, allowing local networks to key in whatever their local sponsor is, ala’ the TV-only wall billboards in baseball?

    Imagine someone in LA watching a New York City crime show with billboards advertising a restaurant in LA. Trippy.

  10. Hmm,
    “Odd. Does anyone who watches Family Guy actually find Bill Engvall funny?”

    A better question would be:
    Odd. Does anyone who watches Bill Engvall actually find Family Guy funny?

    As for the quote in the original post “…for some show that no one cares about…”

    Sorry to tell you, some people like Engvall. Not very many shows you can watch with your kids in the room.

  11. What? Annoying and abrasive ads inserted into content?! Inconceivable!

    Note: We would like to thank Microsoft Windows Mobile for sponsoring mobile posting on Boing Boing. In the coming weeks, we’ll be using the system to post audio, images, text, and video.

    *coughs discretely into hand*

    My sense of dignified outrage is certainly getting overworked these days… care to help me out with that BoingBoing? No? No, I didn’t think so.

    /troll

  12. You know, at first I was outraged by this, but it could really be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully, this will make the rest of the world hate The Bill Engvall Show as much as I do and stop TBS from running those never-ending stupid commercials twice in every commercial break. Did they actually think this would increase the number of viewers of that lousy show? Maybe they should do the same thing with “My Boys” and “House of Payne”…

  13. I think the networks earned their ad-skipping and downloading viewers by gradually creeping up to the 40%+ mark of advertising versus content. I don’t mind the occasional commercial, but 9 minutes of commercials mixed into 21 minutes of programming is too much.

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