Pop-up ads on TNT are ruining my Angel watching

by David Brickner

One of the minor accomplishments of my marriage is making my wife a fan of the WB TV show Angel. In fact, she was more broken up than I was when the show was surprisingly cancelled last year.

A few months ago TNT began showing reruns of Angel. Which is a good thing as my wife missed the first three seasons. We've been dutifully recording them on our MythTV system (that's like a Tivo for those of you who don't know), and watching two or three a night a couple of times a week.

TNT recently began placing pop-up ads when the show cut back in from a commercial break. My understanding is that they are doing this with other shows as well. These aren't the innocent little ads that identify the station, or maybe flash the title of the next show in the line-up. No, these ads are larger, have animation, and worst of all sound. The volume on the sound effects is higher than that of the TV show itself and often I miss pieces of the shows dialogue. The ads themselves, so far, have been for some Evel Knievel show and Nascar. I'm fuzzy on the details because I'm trying to hear the dialogue of my show, and not paying attention to the ad. I don't know why TNT thinks viewers of Angel and X-Files (another show the pop-ups appear on) are interested in Knievel or Nascar.

Here is a typical viewing session:

>Cut in from commercial
>Angel and Wes are looking at a book with a picture of a demon
>Wes: It looks like we are dealing *Vroom *Vroom demon. We should *Screech kill it by *Vroooooommmmmmmm.
>Angel: Great work Wes. Now we *Screeeeech life *Vrooooommm.

And then the scene ends and they go kill a demon whose name I don't know, using a weapon I've not heard of, to save the life of someone I'm not aware of.

Okay, my example had very strategic placement of the noises from the ad, but I'm trying to make a point. Aural spam during a TV show is a no no. Please TNT, stop.

If you agree then write to TNT or post a message on their community forums and let TNT know how you feel.


2004-09-02 09:05:48
Popups don't belong anywhere!
I completely agree - it's just insane. My wife is a big fan of the show Charmed, which is also syndicated on TNT.

Sometimes I personally don't particularly care when Angel gets interrupted because a) I've seen all the episodes and b) I have seasons 1-3 (and soon 4) on DVD. I'm not saying that to belittle our common annoyance, because it still p*sses me off to no end when I'm trying to watch a show I love.

However, there are no Charmed DVDs. They even did those same annoying pop-ups during a TNT produced version of a Stephen King movie (think it was Salems Lot).

I'm not sure why they think those stupid things are a good idea, but thanks to you, they'll be hearing from me!

Thanks again, great post! :-)

2004-09-02 14:06:44
other networks do it too
Hallmarks' "show to watch" bumper is big, but at least there's no sound.

Spike's ads have audio, as have some on animal planet.

its basically a TIVO-killer, intentionally so. speeding through commercials is worrysome, because not only do you not get the ads, you also don't get the "shows to watch" that keep you on the same network, so they throw those in.

but yeah, the audio sucks worst of all. i have similar problems on-line when AIM and some web pages have audio in their flash ads. its a hassle because i can only turn it off by either killing the app or going straight to the master volume, and affecting my mp3 listening.


2004-09-02 15:13:50
Fair Use?
I suppose the licensing agreements between the show producers and the networks take this into account (or are irrelevant if the producer and the network are the same company, as is increasingly common), but the modification of the presentation of the show by superimposing video and audio of ads seems to be exactly the kind of prohibited re-use of modified content (for commercial gain, nonetheless!) that is so objectionable to media behemoths when The Little Guy does it. (cf. Grey Album, This Land is Your Land, etc.)

In the future, perhaps TV show creators (and movie producers) with enough clout can gain some contractual assurance that broadcasts and rebroadcasts (substitute "broadcast" with HD-cast or Internet-cast or however we'll actually be watching video entertainment in a few years) will be free of such intrusions.

2004-09-02 19:06:46
And they think this is a _good_ thing

My amusing wife used to work for TNT. She said they've been working on this for a while. She left in 2001, and even then their producers had been trying to get master control to do this, but their moving bug equipment either didn't support sound or wasn't tied into the sound board the right way, so after big problems trying to make this kind of an audio moving bug work for a "super bowl countdown clock", they decided to wait until they moved TNT into a new building with a completely redesigned master control. They made the move last year sometime.

So, next time you go south down I-75/85 in downtown Atlanta, look to the big red buildings on the right after you pass under 17th street. That's where the machine that makes these damned awful moving bugs lives.

OTOH, those crazy Adult Swim kids are across the highway in the nasty old TBS building. We like them.


2004-12-02 16:01:28
Popups don't belong anywhere!
I totally agree with the hatred towards pop-ads during a movie/program. Especially those pop-ups that have audio! Sometimes the ads are so loud that you can't hear what is being said in the program you are watching...that's just plain wrong! Then there is another problem that has happened a few times. When their visual ad covers up sub-titles of whatever you are watching. I've also had the experience where the Watermark has been placed right over the score and time tracker of a sports game, making it to where you couldn't even tell how much time was left in the game....
The Networks would do well to take heed from what has transpired in the internet community...a real backlash against advertisers that use practices that purposely interupt consumers at an inapropriate time. Granted it is their programing and we don't have to watch if it is truly bothersome...which is the message that I am trying to get through to the brains that thought up this crappy idea...