Everyone hates TV pop-up ads

  • By Frazier Moore Associated Press
  • Tuesday, November 24, 2009 12:01am
  • Life

Somewhere in the universe of TV viewers, there’s got to be a person who actually likes those pop-up, on-screen promotions.

Someone who thinks, “Thank you, network people, for those useful, informative announcements that block what I’m watching to tell me what I’m watching, or tell me what I could be watching next, which will then be blocked by reminders of what I could be watching after that.”

At least one Web site, stoptvpopups.com, serves as a sounding board and support group for an outspoken few.

Viewers hate the detective hero of “Monk” rising from the bottom left screen for eight or nine seconds of vamping, followed by a ghostly but distracting text line that looms for several long minutes to accommodate even the slowest readers: “Monk All New Tonight 9/8C.”

The USA network’s motto is “Characters Welcome.” Well, that “Monk” message adds up to 21 characters, none of them welcome.

You shelled out hard-earned money for a big, magnificent flat-screen — and the networks seem to be poaching more and more of it.

An industry term for these ads is “one-thirds.” More telling terms include “snipes” and “violators.” They began innocently more than two decades ago, when CNN applied a small identifying logo (or “bug”) to the bottom right corner of the screen.

Other networks fell in line by similarly branding their news telecasts.

Then, on Sept. 11, 2001, the day’s torrent of news spilled onto a supplementary text crawl on the screens of CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel. It remains, a permanent fixture at all three networks.

After that, with viewers increasingly conditioned to absorb extra data on the screen, many networks asked themselves: Why not take the next step and blast the audience with promos — TiVo-proof and unavoidable — embellishing entertainment shows?

The only question for the networks after that has been: Just how big, protracted, animated and noisy can we make those promos before viewers flee to places like Netflix and Hulu, and take that one-third back?

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