Re: repeating ads

Randy Pitman (
Wed, 10 Jul 2002 09:46:34 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Karen,

I don't think you're being whiny at all (or else I'm a major whiner too). In
the Jan/Feb '02 issue of "Video Librarian" I wrote a slightly
tongue-in-cheek editorial about DVD pet peeves (see below) touching on the
problem you mention (and others). I suspect that the technowizard who builds
the black box for DVD players with a workaround to get viewers directly to
the program will be this decade's populist hero.

Here's the editorial:

My New Year's DVD Resolutions

Well, it's that time of year again, when we turn over a new (calendar) leaf
and resolve to swear off cherry cheesecake, reduce our consumption of
great-tasting (but calorie-laden) microbrewery beer, troubleshoot the motion
detector light that turns off when someone or something approaches, and
pledge renewed allegiance to the Seattle Seahawks. Rather than simply spout
off various unrealistic resolutions this year, however, I've decided to make
a handful of conditional New Year's claims that, if agreed to by the
Hollywood studios, will benefit us all.

Number 5: I resolve to relieve our local Wal-Mart greeter for additional
breaks with the approximately seven hours I'll save each month if Paramount
Home Video, MGM Home Video, and others would agree that putting anti-theft
security sticky tape on three sides of a DVD is overkill.

Number 4: I resolve to turn my attention to the knotty problem--very
familiar to cosmologists and the late Douglas Adams--of a Grand Unified
Theory summing up (in Mr. Adams' technical terminology) "life, the universe,
and everything," with all the days I would save if only the studios locked
up the mice of those CAD whiz kids who create opening animated DVD menus
that are nearly as long as the films themselves.

Number 3: I resolve to ride public transportation for the next six months
wearing billboards hawking various B-titles such as Venomous (starring Treat
Williams) or The Operative (starring Brian Bosworth) and not smirking if the
studios would subscribe to a little truth-in-advertising regarding "Special
Features": namely, animated menus are not special, cast and credits are
about as special to most viewers as the ingredient list on a box of Special
K cereal, and in the real world, "trailer" is another word for--not
"special"--but "personal domicile."

Number 2: I resolve to watch the entire oeuvre of both Pauly Shore and Adam
Sandler in one 24-hour period--at considerable risk to my own sanity--if
Universal Home Video freely admits that six different versions of American
Pie--standard edition (rated), standard edition (unrated), collector's
edition (rated), collector's edition (unrated), ultimate edition (rated),
ultimate edition (unrated)--are perhaps a few more slices than we actually

Number 1: I resolve to scale Mt. Everest clad only in a Johnny Weissmuller
loincloth with a single Twinkie for nourishment if the studios agree to
remove the non-fast-forwardable opening copyright notices, including the
extra ones in other languages, such as French, that--for all I know--are
really saying "stupid Americans love Jean Luc-Godard. Ha ha ha."

Do I actually expect to carry out any of these resolutions? Well, I suppose
that would depend on whether or not the studios agree that the relentless
torture of consumers is not exactly sound business practice. But I honestly
don't expect to be saying "howdy, welcome to Wal-Mart" anytime soon.


Randy Pitman
Video Librarian
8705 Honeycomb Ct. NW
Seabeck, WA 98380
Tel: (800) 692-2270; Fax: (360) 830-9346
----- Original Message -----
From: "Karen Gorss Benko" <>
To: "Multiple recipients of list" <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 7:35 AM
Subject: repeating ads

> Hello all,
> I am cataloging the multi-part PBS documentary _Jazz_, and I found
> that I had to sit through at least seven of those short, slow-motion
> PBS advertisements for sponsors. Too bad, but not too surprising.
> Then after they finally got around to thanking "Viewers Like You,"
> the whole thing started over again! Does anyone but me think that's
> just a bit too much? We have this on DVD, and of course these ads
> are set up so that they cannot be skipped over or fast-forwarded
> through. I understand that these corporations sponsor PBS so that
> they can get the advertising--some of them, anyway--but would they
> really not give the money, or not give as much, if their ads were
> not repeated at the beginning of the DVD?
> Sorry for this kind of whiny post. When I first started cataloging
> DVDs I thought they were great, since there was no question of
> rewinding through three hours of feature film after looking at the
> end credits, for instance. Lately, however, they just seem more and
> more irritating. When I'm rewinding, at least I have control over
> the medium!
> Thanks for listening,
> Karen
> --
> Karen Gorss Benko
> Catalog Librarian and Russian liaison
> Williams College
> Williamstown, Massachusetts