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3 comments to Programs That Were Never Meant To Be Interrupted For Advertisements

  • Juan J

    CUTTING EDGE 9 Jan 2007 SBS-TV forced the ad breaks unnaturally into this program and ruined it in my opinion .

    This documentary series had 3 breaks for advertisements & promos . The breaks were not natural. All of the breaks looked forced to me.

    In the series “Cutting Edge” SBS televised the BBC program “The Prisoner: How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair” Tuesday 9 Jan 2007. The program began at 8:34pm.

    8:34 PM program started.
    8:52 PM 1st advertisement break.
    9:05 PM 2nd advertisement break.
    9:19 PM 3rd advertisement break.
    9:35 PM program finished.

    According to the end credits this program was produced by the BBC.

    The BBC does not make programs formatted for commercial break interruptions.

    The documentary maker of this production chose to use a chapter and verse ‘book-style’ of story telling to tell this story. Hence the program consisted of a number of chapters and it seemed to me that SBS “forced” the breaks at the end of certain chapters.

    This approach taken by SBS-TV may have worked if the documentary maker had cut the program with an altered pace where SBS inserted the breaks. Of course the documentary maker did not use the chapter and verse ‘book-style’ as some sort of cue for commercial interruption. Hence the breaks looked unnatural in their placement.

    The idea of dividing the program into chapters was a very clever approach to bring the viewer into the experience of the danger and suspense that was being experienced and told. Obviously the idea was for the audience to be placed into the same situation as the story being told. The point of view of no relief, no letting up, being trapped and without a break. No rest. As such this program was never supposed to take a break (for commercials) as that would and did destroy the very portrayal of what the program was about.

    All the breaks in this program looked like “forced” breaks.

    The problem was that this program was never supposed to be ‘paused’ for interruptions at these, or any other points.

    As the program was slowly paced and required a great deal of concentration it took a long while after each commercial break to establish pace of the program again. On every occasion just when it seemed the pace was almost established, bang, suddenly another commercial break. Even the presentation to air looked abrupt with the unsightly, oversized font, lower screen program name graphic supered over the program picture which then suddenly cut to the full screen “CUTTING EDGE” high chrominance graphic (bearing no resemblance to the actual program style or the fonts used in it). This was followed a second later by a fast and abrupt fade to black and into the first commercial spot at the head of the break(s). Actually each break began with a promo but it was just as intrusive as an ad!

    In my opinion all the breaks were suitably placed by SBS to totally destroy the timing and the dramatic real-life events. Hence all the breaks looked very unnatural. SBS paid no attention to the viewer experience or it seems the documentary makers method of telling a rather chilling story.

    If SBS ‘force’ the ad breaks into the program, how can they then say that the ad breaks were ‘natural’? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?

  • TVwatcher

    I just read an interview with George Negus, presenter of SBS Dateline in The Age on-line (http://www.theage.com.au/news/tv–radio/negus-fumes-over-sbs-criticism/2007/09/05/1188783247452.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1). I was very disappointed in his attitude about the commercialisation of SBS. However I haven’t seen Dateline for a while. I more or less stopped watching it when SBS began interrupting it for commercial breaks. Probably the quality of the actual program content of Dateline might remain high but I am not prepared to be sold out by Shaun Brown to those dam annoying interruptions for the commercials. From reading the interview with Mr Negus in The Age it seems that he does not think that SBS has been dumbed down or at least he does not know what is meant by the phrase “dumbing down” and he asked “What does it actually mean?” I wonder if George might have missed the point.

    It’s not just the quality of some of the programs that SBS has dumbed down SBS has also been dumbed down by the mere fact that they now interrupt all the TV programs with commercials. It’s unbearable.

    The changes made at the start of this year to World News 6:30 edition – the silly social chit chat and the forced smiles that the presenters seemed to have been told to do; the Movie Show being cut from a quality half hour show to an insulting 12 minute fill in type show being not much more than an advertorial for the program’s web site which is so blatantly cluttered with ads it is actually unreadable.

    I stopped watching World News 6:30 edition a while back. I gave the Movie Show a go for a while after Margaret & David left but when SBS degenerated it into a fill in show I gave up. Now I find I am watching less and less SBS and more and more ABC.

    The overall program line-up is just not as good as it used to be either. It all seemed to begin with the introduction of that very commercial looking program, the Iron Chef. They don’t even subtitle it. It was barely bearable when there no ad breaks in it. Now we have to put up not just with the added hype and annoyance of ad interruptions but also with American dubbed voices instead of SBS subtitles! How cheap and commercial looking and sounding can you get? The recipes might be good but the way SBS presents the Iron Chef has turned me off.

    Where’s the opera? Where are the arts type programs? Has SBS dumped these forever?

    There is now a long list of programs that are just have either been removed, buried in the wrong time slot late at night or are just plain crappy. I think SBS have lost the plot if they want to appeal to a wider audience. I thought that was what the other TV channels were supposed to do, not SBS.

    I really feel quite upset that a handful of people have ‘stolen’ my SBS from us, the public. I don’t care if I’m accused of being elitist. So what? What’s wrong with being elitist anyway? We have boutique clothing shops and other elite things in life. I don’t want to watch crappy commercial type TV.

    Even the quality of the ads on SBS now looks crappy too. The ads on SBS used to be of a higher quality. They were soft sell art style type ads that blended in between programs. Not anymore.

    By the way: I did not switch off SBS when it used to run the advertisements between the programs only. Did Shaun Brown ever provide any proof that that is what the viewers did or is it just that the advertisers will pay more to interrupt a program? Sounds like we viewers have been sold out to the advertisers. Now it’s their station not ours.

    I used to enjoy SBS. In my opinion Shaun Brown and the SBS Board have a lot to answer for. I want them to hand back our SBS so it is run the way it used to be.

  • brianpearson

    I agree with every word written by TVwatcher. There is no point in my repeating them. It is sufficient simply to add that they would probably be endorsed by every person who is motivated enough to visit this site (http://www.SaveOurSBS.org).

    I would think that a promise by Kevin Rudd to remove political interference, advertising and excessive promotions from the ABC and SBS, and adequately to fund both organizations from the public purse with no strings attached would alone win him enough extra votes to carry every marginal seat in the country.

    I hope that the current executives and board of SBS will be sent packing as soon as possible.