TV NotesNetworks are testing viewers' patience by fiddling with start times and on-air promos
By David Hinckley, New York Daily News
-November 21st, 2011
You'd think that in an age when competing new media are arriving almost daily, television would be doing everything possible to, as the marketers say, enhance the viewer experience.
Not every viewer thinks that's happening.
A couple of News readers/TV viewers have found new examples of ongoing irritations, and it's safe to say they aren't alone in resenting, for starters:
- Pop-up ads and promotions.
- Growing screen clutter.
- Time compression that subtly speeds up shows.
- Network shows that end at one minute past the hour, making it harder to DVD any show after it.
ABC has Desperate Housewives' Sunday nights at 9 and then Pan Am,' which should start at 10, writes Mike Scanlon. Except ABC has Housewives' go to 10:01. One minute no big deal, right? Except if you want to DVR two shows at 10 and one is not Pan Am.' The DVR will not allow it, so if you are not home (which is when most people use the DVR), your TV stays on ABC for a show you don't like or want to watch.
Scanlon notes that ABC is not the only network to do this.
Joe Donato cites a recent case of time compression, a periodic practice on TV and radio for years.
A show is sped up by perhaps 4%-5%, so 25 minutes of running time becomes 24. That gives a network one extra valuable minute of ad time, and most networks say the technology is good enough so viewers don't notice the difference.
TV Land celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Dick Van Dyke Show' with five uncut episodes, he says. And the shows were sped up. Van Dyke's voice was so high-pitched he sounded like Alvin from the Chipmunks.
While he's at it, Donato notes another even more widespread annoyance.
We seem to be stuck with logos and moving promos at the bottom of the screen, he says.
My wife is with him on that. She'll put up with a ridiculously cluttered screen to watch Imus, but it drives her nuts when she's watching a nice, breezy chick flick like You've Got Mail on Oxygen and suddenly the lower third of the screen blows up into a promo for Bad Girls Club or some low-rent production from another part of the Oxygen world.
The funny thing is, TV networks know they need to make viewing as inviting as possible. That's why prime-time shows segue right into each other to eliminate even a short break when the viewer might hit the remote.
But this also means the networks need other creative ways to maximize promotions and find more commercial time. Pop-up promos and time compression can be done within a program the viewer presumably has a predisposition to stick with.
Until he, or she, doesn't.
After a few minutes of Dick Van Dyke as Alvin, says Donato, I changed the channel.http://www.nydailynews.com/entertain...ticle-1.979856