Personal video recorders, PVRs, are hot. So hot in fact, they are making a significant contribution in the frying of consumers' attention spans.

What's an advertiser to do when the most affluent customers aren't compelled to watch TV commercials and are, in fact, actively avoiding them?

The problem is so acute former Turner exec Jamie Kellner was recently quoted:

“[Skipping commercials is] theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial . . . you're actually stealing the programming."

Wow! And I thought Hillary Rosen at the RIAA was peeved.

Of course, skipping commercials isn't stealing--or we wouldn't have VCRs. So despite Mr. Keller's understandable shoe pounding, marketers are still stuck.

How do we get our messages out to someone who wants to avoid them? Here are some ways we think you can avoid the TiVo (ad-skipping) problem, whether you are advertising on TV now, or plan to in the future.

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Tom Barnes is CEO of Mediathink (, a consultancy specializing in media and marketing strategy and implementation. Contact him at