Since moving to NZ, I’ve noticed something I never really did while in the UK.
When a new movie is coming out, as an example, you start to notice a range of programming appear on radio and TV which are associated with it. As an example, when Bohemian Rhapsody was released in the cinema, radio stations played noticeably more Queen music and TV shows about Queen and Freddie Mercury were suddenly being aired. I guess there may be several things going on here…
1. TV companies think they will get more viewers if they show associated shows…maybe. The same is true of radio listeners.
2. The showing of those shows (or playing of music) is in some way paid for by the makers of the movie to boost ticket sales. Seems quite probable.
3. The various media channels can up their price for advertising slots during those associated shows. Again, this seems potentially likely.
Sometimes it can be quite nice to revisit prequels on TV just before you want to see the next one in the series (but please no more Jurassic Park films!) but at other times it can be slightly off-putting to be bombarded with messages. You get the same thing happening when artists are coming to play concerts.
I guess this must happen in the UK too but there are so many more media channels that you’re not aware of it as here. It’s pretty transparent.
When you live in a smaller country, a lot of adverts on TV are lower budget as the huge corporations don’t really stand to gain much by advertising (although Coca Cola, McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Vodafone do plenty). What you get instead are small budget, local firms…and how they love a random nobody telling you that you should buy something.
Does anyone actually buy a product because someone they’ve never heard of, who is probably a paid actor, says they should? Surely not!
Also, vanity plays a part where company owners think if they appear on the advert then everyone will want to do business with them. No, no, no, it won’t!
And what fills the advertising space when there is no-one else…our friend the infomercial…an advert so desperate that they never tell you the price and after a few weeks they offer two for one…because everyone really needs two blenders, treadmills or step ladders.
One final musing on NZ TV, if you’ll permit me, and that is the extensive presence of the infomercial.
A lack of big business advertising clearly leaves a space for someone to want to try to flog what often appear to be naff products that you really don’t need. Who knew that you needed something to peel a clove of garlic? How about something to stand on that vibrates and supposedly helps you become thin and healthy? How about a nutrition extractor (aka a fancy blender)? Perhaps a military-style torch is the answer to your prayers? Maybe you could be tempted by an 8-shapes-in-1 pillow? Or how about the infomercial to end them all…life insurance – perhaps they realised that watching them makes you consider taking your own!
You name it, and if it’s really quite poor and cast off from abroad, then they’ll advertise it for several minutes at a time…and all without telling you the price. Boredom guaranteed. Who buys all this rubbish?
It is no wonder that On Demand TV seems so popular here in NZ, to the extent that they don’t seem to care too much about scheduling in the first place…great to have a retreat where you can dodge the majority of adverts.
And just one more thing, the frequency of adverts increases during a programme. If you are watching a movie then you often have no adverts for the first half hour, but by the end you are blessed with their presence every ten minutes or so. Annoying indeed.
When you have grown up with the BBC as your staple provider of entertainment and news, you realise when you go elsewhere in the world how good the BBC seems by comparison. Impartial (in the main), balanced, no adverts etc etc.
In NZ, there are the usual smattering of news providers on different channels but to be frank, in a country of 4.5 million people there isn’t a lot of news to report. In some ways this is great! It is great that a car crash with one fatality still makes it on to the news (especially if a foreign driver is involved), it is great that a murder still outrages people, it is great that someone holding up a petrol station, while wearing a onesie, to obtain cigarettes is newsworthy…but let us also be honest, in this desensitised age, it is not very exciting either.
To fill up the allotted news time, we end up with what appear to be sponsored stories about new products, new movies etc. I also feel at times like it is painful to see who can qualify as a reporter with their dubious command of the English language.
Which brings me to my final bit of info, channel Three here in NZ has started doing an entertainment show based around the news each weeknight with a studio audience. It is called The Project (if anyone wants to look it up online) and is based on an Australian format from what I have read. When I first heard about it I remember thinking that things must’ve really got desperate on already quite poor NZ TV, but I actually think it is really good! They somehow deliver the main stories and balance having a good laugh about them where they can with the serious messages and debate/opinion. Why shouldn’t the news be entertaining instead of depressing?
At the end of the day, some serious stories take some believing sometimes anyway so why not laugh about it all…has Donald Trump REALLY been elected President? Has the UK REALLY opted to leave the European Union?
In New Zealand, there is a real culture of Do-It-Yourself. From building homes to renovating homes, the isolation of the country and a lack of nearby tradesmen in many places has probably facilitated this culture of people being more self-sufficient.
This translates onto the TV also, because after thinking about food TV last time out, it then occurred to me how many DIY shows are on TV. There are shows from NZ, Australia, Canada, USA and the UK all about this same thing. I can actually understand this a little more here in NZ because of the culture and I suppose these shows give people ideas on how they might change their abode but how many is too many?
But then I wondered something else, on one Australian show where it is as plain as day that they are shopping in Bunnings (a DIY store which I believe has just arrived in the UK), are shows like this really just a blatant sponsored attempt to get you to spend money in those places?
While watching a cookery show of some description on TV recently I was wondering why on earth we, as people, are so obsessed with watching shows wherein a large part of it is people stuffing their faces and telling us how good it tastes (some of whom have cooked it first)?
Does this seem strange to anyone else?
If I sat you right next to someone and asked you to watch them eat, complete with the sound effects, you would probably think it was disgusting, so why do we have so many TV shows about it? Most of the time you won’t be trying to cook it yourself anyway. It doesn’t really make sense.
I have seen something quite amazing…
There I was watching “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” on TV one evening when, in the many advert breaks they like to put on NZ TV, an advert came on campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis. Incredibly there was even a party standing in the elections in 2014 simply on this issue…guess that was manned by students then!
Perhaps someone out there assumes that anyone watching such a film smokes dope for a living and would support it…perhaps that is as crazed as the advert itself!