A recent e-Marketer daily article talked about TV as "old media" and mentioned the decreasing influence it has in sales and the slowly decreasing amount of money being spent on television commercials as a result.
As a DVR queen, I agree. I love my DVR and rarely watch live TV--and its attendant commercials--anymore.
I do watch a couple of shows that I think are taking this "old media" in a great new direction. The first is the Sci-Fi Channel's series, "Eureka." I've adored this series for a while and was upset when they were in danger of going off the air before the writer's strike. When it came back (yea!) I immediately saw how they did it.
New sponsor. In this case, Degree deodorant. Degree sponsored a large part of the show and got prime commercial slots in exchange as well as custom commercials that only aired on Sci-Fi featuring sets and cast-members from the show. Airing these commercials during the show's time slot also meant that DVR Queens like me would stop fast-forwarding when we saw familiar faces & sets, and, since these commercials always immediately pre-saged the return to the show, I rarely bothered to fast forward through them. Brilliant!
The other series doing it right is "Fringe". I love the eerie splash screen that tells me ~exactly~ how long the commercial break will be. Only 60 seconds? Might as well let it run and grab a soda (meaning I see some of the commercial and hear all of it--things which would not have happened it I'd fast-forwarded it). I'm also pretty sure that Fringe sells smaller commercial blocks. They still pack in plenty of commericals, up to 5 during a 90-second break, but they waste less time on them. I like that. :-)
TV is not a dead media yet, but marketers need to learn to stop treating TV viewers like a captive audience--thanks to TiVo and the like they aren't. Make us WANT to watch your commericals :-)