Apple TV service may compensate providers for commercial skipping

Apple's much-anticipated TV service may offer a unique take on skipping commercials. Instead of just allowing folks to fast-forward through advertising, the service will reportedly "compensate television networks for the lost revenue." The rumor comes from Wall Street Journal alum Jessica Lessin, who cites people (presumably more than one) who have been briefed on the matter. She adds that commercial skipping would be part of a "premium" service, suggesting Apple is pursuing a multi-tiered system.

As Lessin points out, DVRs have conditioned consumers to skipping. Any TV service that lacks commercial skipping will probably be a tough sell. But content providers have to be sold on the idea, too. Offering them monetary compensation is an interesting approach. Rumors suggest Apple's TV service is being held up by content negotiations, and skipping compensation may be a bid to push those deals over the top.

People seem to have embraced paying for commercial-free content through services like Netflix, so they may be open to shelling out a little extra for the ability to skip commercials. Even DVR users with cable or satellite service have to pay the piper every month. It will be interesting to see how the "premium" service is priced—and whether the standard service will be free.

One thing is certain: I'm never going back to watching commercials. Thanks to a long string of home-theater PCs, it's been years since I've had to sit through a full commercial break. I'd rather pay for commercial-free content than the ability to skip ahead, though. Perhaps Apple's service will be capable of skipping commercials intelligently rather than relying on user input.

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