TV and Media Fluff

Stretching media for commercial placements

What's in the TV news you are watching? Depending on your choice of local or world, commercial or public, you may not be getting much for the time you watch.

I have strayed away from watching the local commercial stations' news hours as there is usually about 10 minutes of what I consider personally newsworthy. The rest of the time is filled with an extended weather forecast, hyped up sports clips, much unneeded traffic video, numerous over-detailed local incidents and accidents, chit-chat, and commercials. Lots of commercials.

Local news might round up the worse local accidents, fires and crimes, going into extensive details. I may want to know about some of these events but is it necessary to pour over each sad detail. With a billion people starving and suffering and so many other important world issues I find that watching public TV, world and local, is better coverage of need-to-know events. There is not sufficient good news stories aired as shock apparently works better.

Broadcast strategies might include a snippet of news to come but, "details after the break." They used to be commercials but are now called breaks.

Often half way through a very long commercial break the anchor desk appears for a few seconds as if to continue the news. This brings you back if you are straying - to the commercials that continue. Similar techniques are used during TV movie commercials where you are reminded of the movie you are watching for a second or two but the ads keep flowing.

The news teasers worsen for some of the popular topics that you might be waiting for. "Coming up: Doctor Shmocter gives important new health findings." He does come on after the break but not immediately. You gotta hang in there for 20-30 minutes and check out the advertisements.

The morning after civic elections in the greater district we watched the morning news for one hour wanting to see the results for the Mayor of our city. Each 10 minutes or so they would announce the elected mayor of 2-3 cities. In other words, watch the entire hour and get all the results. Exasperating!

To know what's going on locally news can usually be picked up briefly on the radio, public if available. BBC TV World News covers the globe and actually supplies significant information on current newsworthy events in other countries including here, in North America.

Broadcasters (and their employees) are in a difficult situation. There is a demand for quality local programming and it's important for communities and the stations need revenue to survive which is coming from advertising. So a familiar problem arises, one that is embedded in wide areas of our commerce dependent society. Too many are competing for the same money with too many things to sell. In that environment product or service quality is so often diluted to maintain acceptable profits.

I wonder how long can this continue and will a saturation point be reached where viewers will no longer wish to view.

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