Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Commercial Conundrum"...

 How many folks out there pay 40, 50, 60 dollars a month for cable or satellite tv without even blinking an eye? ( ok, maybe a slight "twitching" )


 How many of those 100's of pay channels would you consider are just plain crapola? The "Gems Channel" or "HSN" come to mind, or any channel that you have absolutely no interest in whatsoever. Ask yourself this, how many of those channels do you watch regularly, 8-10 maybe? Even if you've got children of different ages living at home , how many channels are they watching when they're not on a social networking website? ( how many of those, do you really want them watching ? ).


 How much content do those channels actually provide, and how would you rate the quality of the programs? Do they switch over to those informative and entertaining "info-mercials" after midnight? When you are watching your "pay tv service" are your regular programs incessantly peppered by commercials? A lot of questions perhaps, but I tend to get inquisitive when I think I'm being hosed...

 In the 1960s ( back when all you had to pay for was the tv set and an antenna ) a typical hour-long American show would run for 51 minutes excluding advertisements. Today, a similar program would only be 42 minutes long, a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes of programming with six minutes of national advertising and two minutes of local. Some networks even use a 18 minutes of show, 12 minutes of commercial split... (wtf?)
 In other words, over the course of 10 hours, American viewers will see approximately three hours of advertisements, twice what they would have seen in the sixties. Furthermore, if that same sixties show is rerun today it may be cut by nine to eleven minutes to make room for the extra ads.
That favorite scene, in your favorite old show, has been cut out to make room for the "ShamWow"...

                            ( This asshat ain't no "Ron Popeil" )

 Short term memory loss aside, I've actually forgotten what the heck show I was watching by the time the commercial break was over.
( watched a movie on TBS, TNT or USA network recently? ).
Television commercials have taken on the ambiance of a college hazing ritual,... "Thank you sir, may I have another"?...


 The advertisers commercials are what "used to" pay for or "sponsor" the programming. Now, we're paying a monthly fee and in return we get...
an increase in commercials. That's right folks, we're "paying for the friggin commercials".


 I'll give the network people some credit, they have been considerate enough to devise a way to run little ads on the bottom of the tv screen so as not to break the continuity of your favorite tv show or movie as often .
( see the little people running around down there @ the bottom of your screen during that pivotal dramatic scene, thanks guys).
 Hey, just because you're paying for the television service doesn't mean you're allowed to fast forward through or circumvent any of the advertisements so thoughtfully placed for your convenience....

 What's next, some type of ultra bright, split second "flashcube" commercial that temporarily burns an image of the product logo into your retinas?  

  To be fair, there is a lot more programming available today then there was back in the good old days, and by sheer volume, more quality and variety. The problem is too many people trying to wring as much money out of the programs as possible,
( I believe it's called "greed" )
in the form of advertising and the inflated pay scale of people in the business. Have you checked to see what your favorite tv or movie personality made last year?  The folks in the entertainment industry are some of the most ridiculously over compensated individuals around, ( right behind most of our "elected officials" that is ).

 I highly recommend a "DVR" or "Tivo" to anyone paying for television, not only can you skip through the commercials but you can watch what you want when you want, pause a currently running show, ect. The modern DVR is simpler, easier to program and better than the old VCR ever was...

 Also if you live in or near a major metropolitan area, consider putting up an antenna, you might be surprised at the amount of digital HDTV programming available for free.

 With the increased accessibility to high speed internet, and the plethora of smartphone and tablet computer devices becoming available, I think much of this is going to change in the near future, hopefully for the better... There are a number of up and coming alternatives to the "status quo", such as "Hulu" or "Veoh"... Competition is a good thing.

 In the mean time, do not attempt to adjust your set, it's not gonna help, the thought that you're in control is only an illusion... ~Peabody~