Saturday 4 June 2016

Short And Long Breaks

The Drama Channel on the satellite is running the 1990's "Cadfael" series about an old monk being the Sherlock Holmes of Shrewsbury Abbey back in the good old days of the 12th Century when men were men and women were domestically busy.

The original running time for each episode was 75 minutes in a slot of one and half hours programming; leaving 15 minutes for the ad's and beginning and end clips.  The present screening has divided each episode into two one hour slots meaning 120 minutes for the same story time and many more ads'.

The plots are complicated with a number of characters, sub plots and mysteries difficult to solve and predict even for the knowing viewer.  So the number of ad' breaks now not only disrupts the actual telling of the story, you begin to lose track of what is going on. If you find the 12th Century difficult you could find it impossible.

Crucially, what had been one programme is now split into two with a week's break.  We have avoided this by boxing both parts and watching them successively. This works up to a point because rather than being slumped back just watching it all happen, I am now clutching the remote to hit the buttons on the breaks to fast forward to get on with the viewing.  At least I "get" the story but not with the enjoyment I might have had.

Yes, I know, I should have bought the DVD's. But that is an added cost and having watched once, or say twice, they just go into the pile of discs never to be watched again.  Also, I know that without the ad's I might not have the TV since it is the marketing that provide the service as well as my sub's.

Those reading this will not need me to say much at all about ad's on the internet.  What I find intriguing is that when having done a search for something to buy I go onto a popular news site and in the content of that site appear ad's for those very things.  Spooky.  But again as the pop up's asking about my ad blocker say the ad's pay for the deal.

Then there is the attrition in the print and the "legacy" media which is happening.  I am sorry to lose them but have to confess that while at one time my local newsagent's bill was a big one now it is zero, so I am part of the problem.  Some of them are going down or online and the shop has closed to the ruin of the nice lady who ran it.

One key issue here in the media is that the marketing men have moved their spend drastically cutting the revenues for print and legacy sectors.  That together with the loss of circulation due to people going online has pushed the margins too tight.

What is strange that while the ad' men and women seem to be gaining control and access to a degree never imagined and are now impossible to avoid, other things are happening.  If incomes and consumer spending is now shrinking in many sectors it may explain why the ad's are becoming shriller, louder and more "in your face".

This post is prompted by A K Haart's one of Thursday, 2nd June on "Branded Dreams - The Future Of Advertising".  The deluges of ads have become tiresome and things to be avoided if possible but if not you just close down mentally and think, if not of Empire or spending, but of any distraction or fantasy that comes to mind.

The BBC in theory does not have ad's but the number, time and content of its own "in house" puffs are beginning to rival the ad's of the commercial channels, but at least at present not at the level or in the breakup of screening.

An effect is that we may now have a population, especially in the younger generations, with reduced attention spans and a brain functioning in a more detached mode most of the time.

On the other hand, perhaps I need to read more, but the bookshop in town means awkward parking, so I have to go online.


  1. "On the other hand, perhaps I need to read more"

    It may be worth considering a Kindle. I read nothing else these days. Even with the Kindle you have to pay extra for one without ads though.

    Oh dear, that comment is almost an ad too.

  2. I find myself repeatedly commenting thus on TV adverts - "For 4ck's sake; a team of "creative" people were given money to produce something imaginative. They produced this shite, which was then agreed by the money men"

  3. The awkward bit about kindle books, at least on this side of the pond, is that they are licensed to a particular device. Which, of course, means that passing along an interesting but used title is no longer possible. So the licensing agreement is a tollbooth/gatekeeper sort of thing. I used to donate books that I was done with to the local libraries/waiting rooms to keep new ideas in circulation. Not going to work anymore, at least on our current trajectory