Two announcements from Time Warner today that should strike fear into your heart, as we move into a future controlled by corporations and inundated by advertising.
America Online plans to increase the intensity of advertising on AOL and Time Warner web sites. (You thought it was bad already? Chuckle. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.) Later this year, it will increase its reliance on “rich media advertisements” – video, audio, animation and 3D effects that can cause little race cars to break free from their pop-up windows and race around the screen or whatever else the marketing geniuses come up with. Stodgy old banners and buttons aren’t good enough any more. The goal is to increase your exposure to “TV-quality advertising” while you’re online. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Meanwhile, Time Warner is ready to limit the bandwidth available to its cable customers. Starting this fall, if you download too much, you’ll pay extra. This makes a certain amount of sense, but it will be a bitter pill to swallow for hundreds of thousands of cable Internet subscribers who thought that they could use their broadband access for broadband purposes.
Here’s something to think about. The entertainment industry claims it is ready to roll out rich content to us – movies and music on demand, delivered over the Internet. That’s the justification for the copyright terror they’ve unleashed. Their plans involve consumers paying to download or stream movies and music, moving huge amounts of data over the broadband pipe.
Time Warner is now setting the stage to collect fees twice – once for the movies and music, and a second time for the “extra” bandwidth that you’ll use to receive it. And other cable companies will follow suit, of course.
Really, the corporate focus on extracting money from consumers is just breathtaking, isn’t it?