Magazine article USA TODAY

Are Commercials on the Way Out?

Magazine article USA TODAY

Are Commercials on the Way Out?

Article excerpt

In the future, commercials may disappear from television and radio, according to James H. Snider, a consumer-education expert who made a study of the impact of new technologies on shopping for the World Future Society. He believes that advertising-financed media will fade as people switch to interactive media, which enable consumers to separate promotional material from the information or entertainment portion of broadcasts. Already, he notes, TV viewers are using their VCRs to record shows and then skip the ads during playback.

New technologies emerging during the 1990s and early 21st century will empower individuals to make more informed shopping decisions because they will be able to access far better, unbiased data concerning products and no longer will be forced to look at promotional materials. Fostering this change will be two developments--automatic billing and the convergence of media.

A prime advantage of promotional information today is that its cost is bound in with that of the item being promoted, so the consumer does not have to engage in a separate transaction to get information about the item. With automatic billing, for instance, it is possible to purchase many information services when paying the telephone bill. …

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