The recent deal between Disney and Cox is interesting to me. They are going to disable fast forward functionality on VOD. It's an effort to preserve an endangered species (aka the 30 second spot)
I'm not opposed to ads. I want content creators and distributors to make money. We have portfolio companies that are counting on ad sales.
But I think anytime you force the consumer to do something unnatural you are going to lose. At the very least it will bum out that user and that can't be good. And forcing someone to watch an ad (especially for time-shifted/prerecorded content) seems unnatural to me.
I think we need to find creative solutions here. NNN is rolling out some new pre-roll campaigns at VODCars that integrate the pre-roll and the show itself. And Wallstrip has done a masterful job integrating product placement in some of their shows. NBC is reducing their 30 second prerolls to a 15 seconds and YouTube is going to reduce it even further.
DVRs and VOD is a platform for innovation. We can do a lot with these platforms to make sure the economics work. New ad units are starting to emerge and there are a lot of lessons (good and bad) that can come from the online world to the cable/satellite/iptv world.
We shouldn't go backwards and turn off functionality or make the consumer experience worse. It's too late. The genie is out of the bottle.