back to article Apple wins patent to pump ads to your iDevice while you're watching TV

Apple has been granted a patent for a "second screen" scheme for providing associated content – ads, info, and the like – to a secondary device such as a smartphone or tablet when you're viewing content on your primary display, e.g. your big-screen TV. Apple patent illustration for 'System and method for delivering companion …


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  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    The contemporary King James Bible

    And the Lord God decided to smite the people for their sins with seven terrible punishments..

    As they walked down the street they were surrounded by advertising.

    As they watched television they are subliminally exposed to advertising.

    As they surfed the web they were smitten hard by advertising.

    As they supported their favorite sports team they were blasted with advertising.

    As they listened to thy radio they were interupted with advertising.

    As they sat waiting for the main film to start they were forced to watch 20 minutes of advertising.

    And as they defacated they even had to read the advertising on the toilet paper, as it was the lastest place on earth that advertising had reached......




    Moral of the story : A man can't even shit in peace nowadays without someone coming up with an idea for advertising, how much worse can it get.

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: The contemporary King James Bible


    2. VinceH

      Re: The contemporary King James Bible

      "A man can't even shit in peace nowadays without someone coming up with an idea for advertising, how much worse can it get."

      It will be much worse when advertising is pumped directly into your brain, including while you sleep so even your dreams are filled with advertising.

      Only then will the question "how much worse can it get?" be difficult to answer.

      (But upvote, because the bible slant amused me)

    3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      A man can't even... was The contemporary King James Bible

      A man can't even shit in peace nowadays without someone coming up with an idea for advertising, how much worse can it get.

      I'd be more than happy to use a roll of toilet paper with the Apple logo on it.

      Icon for obvious reasons....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A man can't even... was The contemporary King James Bible

        Back in 1980 I (very briefly, we didn't get on) worked for the UK government. The toilets provided exceptionally thin and shiny toilet paper and every single sheet had the words 'Government Property' stamped on it. I kid you not.

  2. Tromos

    Like the ice pick...

    ...that the serial killer is using? Click here to add to basket.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Like the ice pick...

      Or the ingredients for that improvised explosive device the mad bomber is using in Die Hard 7 - I'm Too Old To Die From A Hard Shit.

      Of course, with good content, it could be handy - a few times I've seen myself spot an actor/actress and try to work out who they are, what they are from etc - but the thing is, this will never be the sort of content that gets put on a system like this, because an IMDB link isn't something you can monetize*.

      A lot of these patents really do seem to be the wet turds of the idea bank, thrown at the wall that is the USPO to see what sticks, and what slides off. Regardless, it all stinks of shit.

      Steven R

  3. ElNumbre

    Open your brain.

    Who is the creator of this invention? Bin Dunbefore no doubt.

    Still, between this and their fitness push at the moment, it's not increasing their wantability in this tent.

  4. Eguro

    I don't think I know anyone who has ever viewed a film and - as the place was being shot up, or the wake was progressing slowly and mournfully - gone "Those curtains - my God they are fabulous. If only there was some way for me to identify their brand and purchase some for myself."

    And frankly I don't believe that happens - and if it does I don't believe it happens enough to justify this gizmo.

    If I am to be distracted from whatever content I am consuming (that's the correct lingo, right?), I do believe I'd prefer it be by cake and coffee or something along those lines.

    As much as I love advertisements, I do believe that the money being paid to make those ads should help negate the costs for me for consuming content. So unless using this wonderful new invention means I'll be getting Netflix for free, I can't see this being anything I'd use.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "So unless using this wonderful new invention means I'll be getting Netflix for free,"

      Is that a porcine aviator up there?

    2. Eddy Ito

      Don't worry, I have no doubt it will be "personalized" and if you click the curtains it will show you the ones you searched on Bing for and purchased last week at Debenhams. It will then recommend other items similar to things you've recently purchased and naturally aren't about to buy again for some time such as a DSLR camera, automobile, dining set, etc. presumably because the profit on toilet paper and razor blades isn't big enough dollar wise. The 'big data' advertising bots obviously don't read their own corporate SEC filings because they clearly believe that "past purchases is a guarantee of future sales".

      On the upside someone has a patent on it and with luck everyone else won't bother to license it which means that as long as I avoid the offending products, I'm good with it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Serious or not...

      When you say "As much as I love advertisements..." - you are being sarcastic right? Either way - I would NOT swop a "paid for" Netflix for a commercial based "free" equivalent. As the original poster intimated in his post - it's already everywhere and we already waste too much of our time waiting for it to go away. Commercials might work for somethings - in exchange for "free" access - e.g. an app on a phone (I can ignore those - or least imagine I'm ignoring them). Ads on TV - unless I'm playing back and can skip - are consuming my life - pointlessly. I'm sort of pretending that "other stuff" - non advertising related - on TV is somehow more worthwhile - when a lot of it is not.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And that's why I'll never buy anything else from Apple.

    Oh hang on, no it's all the other stuff.

  6. Mitoo Bobsworth


    Something else to ignore.

  7. dan1980

    "When product placement is done well, such placements can enhance the viewer's experience," the patent argues. "For example, when the script calls for a character to drink a canned beverage, the character may drink a beverage from a can with a distinct, recognizable color scheme or logo."

    A few comments on that . . .

    • Product placement is almost never "done well".
    • Explain to me, exactly, how "such placements can enhance [my] experience". Please.
    • Fuck off. (Please.)

    Thanks ever so much.

    1. Hud Dunlap


      If memory serves. The first product placement showed up in the silent era. And no it didn't help the movie at all.

      1. dan1980

        Re: @dan1980

        It is interesting to note, however, that both Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) and SPI (Stolichnaya) complained about their products being used in 'Flight'.

        Using real brands is one thing - studies have shown that obviously fake, generic brands are distracting - but in doing so, you would generally use a variety of brands to represent the real-world diversity. After all, that's the point: to make it look real. Everyone drinking Budweiser all the time or everyone driving Fords is not realistic. Or, for example, if every router is a Cisco, every computer a Lenovo and every alien robot a GM.

        That's where the annoyance of product placement comes in because just as it is distracting if the producers use fake brands, it is also distracting if they just use one all the time.

        Even more noticeable is when specific features of a product are used - one that jarred was the use of a voice-command system in a Ford.

        What enhances the experience is making the world believable. That will usually mean identifiable brands being used but it should also dictate that multiple brands should be used and precludes conspicuous usage of whatever feature the company wants to promote.

        There is no way that showing a big, conspicuous, Cisco logo with a video conference enhances anything for the viewer.

        1. Tom 35

          Re: @dan1980

          It can be very effective...

          Hawaii Five-O " why don't you bing it..."

          Me "Oh for fucks sake you've got to be kidding" switch channel, never watched it again.

          1. dan1980

            Re: @dan1980

            @Tom 35

            Yes, that one was PARTICULARLY bad. Mostly because no-one in the real world uses 'bing' as a verb but also because of the closeups of the Windows Phone.

            It seems that MS are blatant even by the shameless standards of modern advertising:


            This probably tops is for me, though:


            Product placement is one thing; tag lines are quite another. It's delivered exactly as an ad would be. In fact, when I saw this clip I originally thought it was an ad. Perhaps the 'shame free' comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @dan1980

              Haven't seen Hawaii 5-0, but Ford's product placement in Warehouse 13's final season was actually kind of funny in how forced and awkward it was.

              I couldn't tell if it was done so poorly because the writers and actors were pissed they had to do it and made it as awful as possible, or if that was the best they could do and it was still that awful.

              1. Alan Edwards

                Re: @dan1980

                > Ford's product placement in Warehouse 13


                To be fair, they were pretty bad. Jinks saying 'I love my Prius' whilst sat in a Yaris tops it.

                1. no-one in particular

                  Re: @dan1980

                  >> Ford's product placement in Warehouse 13

                  > Toyota.

                  A perfect demonstration of just how well product placement works.

                  1. thesykes

                    Re: @dan1980

                    Of course, Apple aren't exactly averse to copious amounts of product placement themselves. The glowing half eaten fruity logos adorning every laptop, phone and PC in Grimm is amazing. It seems the police have spent so much in buying Macbooks they can't afford anything else, as they even take crime scene photos with their iPhones.

                    Hmmm, wonder what the odds are that, when an iPhone appears on screen, there are links aplenty to Apple, but no data found when Androids and Windows phones appear. OK, so the latter will be be pretty rare.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since Apple never license their crap patents...

    ...that presumably means I'll never be bothered by such scummy, intrusive and totally unwanted ads on Android or other non-Apple devices? Excellent!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Since Apple never license their crap patents...

      Yeah, good thing Google doesn't make 100% of their profit via advertising, otherwise they might be cooking up something like this themselves.

    2. Steven Roper

      Re: Since Apple never license their crap patents...

      My thoughts exactly.

      For once, Apple have applied for a patent that I'd be quite happy for them to have. I hope they enforce the living fuck out of it against any other company that tries to do this shit!

  9. stucs201

    I think I'll pay the people who came up with this a visit.

    But first I think I'll watch Jackie Brown and see if any helpful adverts show up

  10. JaitcH

    Not a problem ... it only affects


  11. Fluffy Bunny

    Apple wins?

    I don't think you can describe this result as a win for anybody. We don't want it and even Apple fanbois won't be able to stomach it for more than five minutes.

    Please just shove this back into the orifice it came out of.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    patents are irrelevant and you can try and sue my penniless company.

    Yet another fairly obvious idea is being hailed as a patent.

    Currently 2nd screen content can be distributed by the main content - this is simply suggesting that it is beamed from somewhere else "at the same time".... right?

    Seriously, when i can put in a patent for how to poor water into a glass.

  13. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    poor, ignorant curtain-deprived user

    Just wanted to see that again...

  14. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Ummmmm apart from the ......

    ...... punting of awful beer and dreadful curtains this is what Xbox Smartglass does, that was available almost 2 years ago. Even Sony offer something slightly similar on the Vita.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Useless software company strikes again !

    Always the same with Apple, if they can't compete, patent it!

    They simply impose their very own semi-useless software onto people.

    Just ask Siri !

  16. Scuby

    They're patenting something that I was working with back in 2000!

    Realtime Web Voting is nothing new. I used to work for a firm that handled Web and Tele voting for shows like Top of the Pops + and Football Focus way back when. Here's hoping Apple get sued for Patent Infringement on that one!

  17. DerekCurrie

    Mind Parasites vs Interactive Art

    This opens up creative avenues for those willing to take the time to make a media work into something interactive with the audience. That's a great thing, at least from my POV. It is a high form of art that allows the audience itself to improvise as part of the experience, making the media all the more unique to each viewer/participant.

    But then there is the parasitic marketing moron abuse of 'customers', aka victims. Turn what should be an art experience into just another demolition of the value of being alive by treating the audience as objects from which one extracts money. This entire approach to life is detrimental and cheapening in the extreme. I personally would never participate. Start shoving 'product' at me and I'll simply *gag* and turn it OFF.

  18. Fihart

    Ads -- death of TV

    Straw. Broke. Last. Camel's. Back.

    Rearrange into well known......

  19. JeffyPoooh

    Anything... long as it gets all/some of the ads off the big screen

    Having become accustomed to satellite TV and its PVR with the 30s skip button (tap, tap, tap, tap - done), it's a bit grating to be spoon fed advertisements on the Interweb. Especially ads that cover up parts of the video itself.

    I suspect it'll be a long time before I can "cut the..." er "...satellite TV link".

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