Friday, May 31, 2013

The Human Yawn

This is the last of my forays into the tube (for now), I don’t want to start repeating myself – there’s enough of that around already.

We’re aware that the ‘appointment to view’ has largely disappeared. TV caters for this with ‘catch-up’ and plus one services as well as repeats scattered around the schedule. A large percentage of us also have our own way of addressing the issue with our PVR/Sky+ type systems.

As much as is possible I avoid watching any programme shown on a commercial channel in real time or live. The reasons for this are not merely to escape the advertising, some of which I like (the new First Direct commercial is great art), but also to skip what I find most annoying about reality or documentary programming – the reminder sections. You’ve all seen these segments, normally occurring immediately after a commercial break, reminding you of what you’ve already seen and the central crux of the programme. Treating us all as if we’ve got attention deficit problems or limited memory functions, perhaps this is so as we clearly forget we shouldn’t bother watching factual programmes on commercial television.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Are you content?

Television was once the drug of the nation, it used to pacify us all simultaneously as we gathered around those life-changing events like the moon-landings, the 1966 World Cup Final, The Morecambe & Wise Xmas Special, Den & Angie’s Christmas Day bust-up, a serial killer being run over by a tram in Corrie......I could go on but you’d eventually notice the similarity in all of these things, they happened a very long time ago.

These days very few things provoke that ‘appointment to view’, we’d all rather time-shift or catch-up. It’d be debatable whether you actually saw that jaw-dropping, stage-managed performance live on Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor or whatever – you may only have cottoned on at a later stage on YouTube. That was certainly the case for Susan Boyle, a moment in time that programme makers have been desperate to re-create ever since. Yes, it went viral – it created talkability – but did it benefit the advertisers who were there in the moment?
In essence it probably did because even though more people saw it on YouTube or via Facebook shares it still helped to create the brand of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ which would’ve helped ad sales and possibly even share prices for ITV. More than this it ushered in an era where the TV companies joined the great content race, the battle to generate a blip of interest that would be emblazoned on a billion eyeballs. It became all about the content.

Friday, May 3, 2013

TV, or not TV?

I like to kid myself that I only watch intelligent Television, documentaries, debates, the news, quality drama. The truth is that I’m just as likely to vegetate in front of trash as the next person, sometimes it’s just too much effort to hunt down the good stuff.

I’m unnaturally obsessed by the obese, absurdly interested in travellers and continually astonished that people will bare everything to the cameras and an audience of millions. Combining fat and gypsy in the same programme title has been like ringing Pavlov’s bell for me, they could only have topped it by adding embarrassing in there somewhere – it’s clearly true so why not?

The simple fact is that these programmes are running out of steam, they need to tap a new vein. After watching a reality-doc that purported to reveal how travellers fund their lifestyles which then did nothing of the sort, instead reverting to the ‘let’s show more garish gypsy weddings’ formula, I’m pretty much done with that format. Ditto Embarrassing Bodies, Sex Clinics, Secret Eaters and those others that prey on closet-exhibitionists or the seemingly stupid for our voyeuristic pleasure.