A new patent application filed by Microsoft describes methods for “enforcing” advertisements in downloaded media. Traditionally, ads accompany streaming content and, by extension, restrict that content to a browser. But technology that could bring ads to downloaded content would open up new opportunities for digital distribution services, advertisers, and consumers, and could give DRM a whole new leg to stand on.
Microsoft’s patent application, titled Enforcing Advertising Playback For Downloaded Media Content, describes systems that are based both on tokens and DRM which would prohibit playing a media file unless its accompanying advertising is viewed. The technology is designed to prohibit fast-forwarding, editing, or otherwise circumventing the advertisements, though it is unclear exactly where the ads would be placed. Internet users have repeatedly announced their distaste for pre-roll ads in streaming content and video games, but users of NBC’s Hulu service reportedly don’t mind its TV-like interstitial ads.