If you’re a fan of near-future science fiction, possibly of the cyberpunk genre, you might be familiar with many different kinds of terrifying ways that writers and artists have reimagined advertising in the future, whether it’s using subliminal messaging to invade Phillip J. Fry or Spider Jerusalem’s dreams with infomercials, or the world of Neal Stephenson‘s The Diamond Age, in which everyone has a 3D printer in their kitchen, capable of creating, molecule by molecule, any product they see advertised on its screen in a matter of minutes.
TiVO and PayPal, however, want to make sure that just because nobody has nanotechnological 3D printers sitting next to their toasters, they can still order whatever magically absorb-ing one-piece loungewear set that also cuts vegetables and makes their computer run faster they just saw during reruns of Law & Order.
Soon, apparently, if you own a TiVo DVR (man, remember when TiVo meant DVR?) or get TiVo through a cable service provider (nothing for Comcast or Verizon customers, as both are CSPs that use third-party cable/DVR boxes), you can expect to see interactive commercials that will allow you to “instantly purchase products with just a few clicks of the remote after an easy, one-time account setup.”
That one-time account setup will be, I assume, to make a PayPal account and link it with your cable subscription. Says TiVo GM for Content and Media Sales Tara Maitra, “PayPal’s expertise in online payments, customer service, and working directly with merchants and sellers makes the entire payment process easy and trustworthy and will create a valuable experience for TiVo users and advertisers.” Which is nice and all, but customer service is not something I would consider to be one of PayPal’s strong suits, and you don’t have to go very far to find somebody who has a PayPal horror story.
TiVo says it’s going to start looking for advertisers who would be interested in creating interactive ads, just in time for everybody to skip over them so they can get back to watching their stories this fall.
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