Question: How are television networks working around the TiVo problem?
Answer: By doing something that radio has done forever.
The New York Times reports that live commercials (or as we call them in radio, "live reads") are making a comeback on network TV shows. Jimmy Kimmel (yup, a former radio guy) has done a live commercial for Quiznos (among others), and it turns out that the client is "ecstatic" with the result.
But when executed well, these live reads can be good for advertisers, and not harmful to stations, programs, or jocks. Howard Stern certainly didn't lose any ground with live commercials on his show, and advertisers like Snapple clearly benefited. In radio, WMGC's Jim Harper and the station's sales/marketing team have been leaders in creating a special category for his "platinum" advertisers. Not only do they get Jim's attention and great reads, but these clients who pay premium prices also receive other special treatment and services as well.
It's all in the approach, of course. If personalities put something into these commercials - and don't just fire them off or make them sound like they're shills for their advertisers - they can actually have some entertainment value. This is - once again - an asset that radio can leverage to put butts in seats and get bodies into retail stores, even in this lousy economy.
As I've posited in this space before, stations should consider using their top personalities to sell their own promotions and contests. If advertisers are going to pony up extra dollars for their celebrity, credibility, and their unique presentational styles, why wouldn't their home stations want to derive some of these same benefits, rather than having Mr. Big Voice do all the reads?
At a time when radio is looking to leverage its strengths, and find greater benefit for its existing assets, perhaps more attention to putting together programs where stations, personalities, and advertisers can mutually benefit should be pursued. It's going to work for television - and radio can do this better than anyone.