Sunday, 19 August 2012

I (Don't) Wanna Be Sedated

When I was under 20, like most North Americans, I watched 3 hours of TV a day. Nowadays, I probably watch less than 3 hours a week.

But here's the thing. I don't remember being subjected to relentless, coma-inducing repetition during commercial breaks. Yes, then as now, commercials were sometimes funny but mostly lame. And yes, sometimes so lame that you started to talk back to the TV. But wasn't there more variety?

Didn't shows have more advertisers, and didn't those advertisers run more than one commercial during a show?

These days, it feels like there are maybe a dozen commercials on all of television. Every show on every channel repeats them over and over and over and over - often twice during the same freakin' break. Even if the commercial is cute upon first viewing, the endless assault moves you to a different spot where you start losing your will to live.

Just what are these people accomplishing? Are we being numbed into submission? Is corporate greed driving them to spend less on advertising, or do the economics of hundreds of channels dictate that splintered distribution means less money is available for production?

I wish I knew. I also wish I could go back to the world of 5 networks, where there was more variety in the programming and the commercials.

TV used to be called the boob tube because watching too much seemed to turn your brain off. But that was better than needing to turn it off before you switched the TV on.

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