Friday, July 09, 2010
Comedy Channel is not being funny - or fair
We will have to shout from the corporate balance sheets that "we are not putting up with it any more."
For, increasingly, we are being short-changed - and being as compliant as penned sheep.
It is not simply the packaging in supermarkets - what was once 200grams at $5 is now 170 grams at $5. Same size packaging, just less inside.
We barely noticed as this was inflicted on us. The cynical manufacturers knew it would be so. And they sheared off a fatter profit margin and made their shareholders a bit richer. Of course, once you have achieved that increase of profit, the expectation is that it will continue. Profits must never level out. They must always grow. And so the market manipulations and deceptions continue to be inflicted on hapless and hurried consumers.
As if it wasn't enough for the television industry to cut costs by increasing its quota of cheap reality shows with no writers or production values, it now looks at the profit margin engendered through that strategy and realises that even a constant diet of people cooking in their kitchens cannot get beyond basic cheap so, to keep those profits rolling in, what they need to do is to make fewer shows but run them over and over again. But don't call them repeats. Re-brand them as "encore", that word of acclaim which audiences call when they don't want a brilliant performance to end.
So 100 TV cable TV channels now are running the same old shows over and over and over. The cheapest possible shows with the greatest exposure.
They are sure we are such compliant morons that we will think this is what there is, we will forage among the slim pickings and in desperation to fill the tired and lonely hours, will resign ourselves to a diet of ancient leftovers.
This is cruel and cynical corporate behaviour. It is as if the people who own and run our television have no need to watch it themselves and do not care what consumers think of them. Well, why should they? They are entertained watching their money growing.
The Comedy Channel dropping the Late Night Legends - the American talk shows, Letterman, Leno and Jimmy Fallon - is the last straw. It was an abrupt drop with the explanation that the shows were "not performing" to their satisfaction. They had not been on for long and most of Australia was just getting to know them. One assumes the real reason was that those hugely popular daily US shows cost money Foxtel doesn't want to pay - when they could be paying almost nothing for tired old reruns.
With ever-limited choice in what to watch, the hapless public will watch the same thing rather than nothing at all.
Unless people protest - write, cancel subscriptions, withdraw advertising - I imagine the dumbing down and cutting of content will continue.
There is no industry competition. The corporation has the upper hand - and it expects us to lie down and take what it doles out.
The sad thing is that we will - and pay them for it as we do.