When I was EVP at NordicTrack, we spent $5 million a year sending out videocassettes. Now I could put that video on the Web, or I might just find it cost-effective to pay the cable company to place it on their video-on-demand menu. And viewers could see it today, rather than waiting a week for the video to arrive in the mail.

If we start controlling the commercials a household sees and make ads totally or even partly independent of the programming they're watching, some of today's low-cost avails may become prime time. In a household that sees limited television but only watches at 1 o'clock in the morning, a marketer might be willing to pay prime-time rates to reach that person.