12 June 2011

Can't be Arsed with the Adverts

[I'll soon be moving to a new blog in my new Travel-Lists website. Rather than simply close this blog, I'm intending to change the title and use it for occasional off-topic posts. Consider this as the first of those.]


TV remote control
I started watching the new drama series Camelot last night. It looked quite promising.

Then, 15 mins in came an ad break, and I gave up on it. Pity.

It's not that I don't watch commercial programmes. I do... but thinking about it, I realised that I don't watch things I want to watch, or, as in this case, things I expect to be drawn into on commercial TV. I realised that on commercial/satellite channels the only programmes I watch are movies & programmes I've seen before or don't care about.

The reason in simple enough.

As ex-TV camerman, Jeremy Hoare, dryly pointed out on twitter: "#cantbearsedwiththeadverts If it wasn't for the adverts you wouldn't see the programme - been true since ITV started in 1955."

True, but satellite, and to a slightly lesser extent, terrestrial commercial TV has been 'Americanised' since then. I haven't sat there with a stop watch, but it often feels like there's more adverts than content. They seem to appear at 10 minute intervals, all sychronised (+10 mins, +20 mins, +30 mins, +40 mins, and usually in the last few minutes before the top of the hour) so you can't easily channel-hop from adverts to content.

(I don't know about TV but I can't help comparing with the license terms for Classic FM (UK's first national commercial radio station) when we launched in 1992 - we were allowed six minutes of advertising per hour max, in 3 x 2 min breaks. I expect the lobby groups have had those regs 'Americanised' since I left in 98, but probably not by much.)

So, like most normal people, I get up when the adverts come on, and wander away. But, and here's the important bit, since I already know the movie, or don't care about the programme, I'm under no pressure to return in good time. It doesn't matter if I miss the first few minutes of the next content section, or the next section, or the rest of the programme. Adverts can break the flow of the programme as much as they like because I HAVE NOTHING INVESTED IN IT.

Five or six advert breaks of between 2-3 mins mean that at least 15 mins in every hour is advertising. 25% ffs! Reduce it to 10% and I might watch new content on commercial/satellite TV.

Meanwhile, if I get the urge to watch Camelot, maybe I'll wait to rent or download the box set.

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