Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Channel Surfing

You know you are getting a raw deal when someone spends inordinate amounts of time telling you how good it is and how it is so much better than the previous arrangements.  So when the BBC keeps telling us how much better it is for us the viewers now that BBC 3 has 'moved online', I know that it is actually a crock of shit.  For one thing, what 'moved online' actually means is that a fully functioning free-to-air TV channel has been reduced to a website. A website, incidentally, which already existed as part of the BBC's web real estate. So it hasn't 'moved' anywhere,  It's been shut down as part of the BBC's ongoing kow-towing to the Tory government.  But 'moved online' sounds better than 'shut down' when trying to sell such a retrograde move to licence fee payers.  Now, I'm aware that I fall well outside of the demographic that BBC 3 is meant to serve, but I've never believed in the strange BBC concept that TV and radio channels and their content can be defined by the age of viewers and listeners.  Consequently, I've often found interesting programmes there aimed at minority audiences.

Which brings me to my real problem with the channel 'moving online' - I discovered these programmes whilst channel-hopping.  Indeed, I've found many interesting programmes on a whole raft of channels I'd never normally watch and whose schedules I'd never look at, whilst surfing my way around Freeview desperatly trying to find something to watch.  That's one of the great pleasures of conventional TV, flicking through the channels until something you see catches your attention and you find yourself flicking back to it and watching it.  More often than not, it is something you'd never normally watch: the number of old movies I've stumbled across in this way is huge, for instance.  But it isn't just films, I've discovered for myself all manner of sitcoms, obscure dramas, offbeat documentaries and assorted types of trash TV in this way.  But once you start 'moving online', this facility is lost.  I'm far less likely to bother going to a website and randomly looking at uploaded videos there in the hope of finding something interesting, than I am to alight on a channel by chance and find something to watch.  I'm sure I'm not the only person who does this.  In fact.I#m convinced that this process of 'discovery' is how most people find the stuff which becomes their favourites.  But there are corporate forces out there who seem determined to try and destroy what they disaparagingly refer to as 'conventional linear TV channels', instead believing that 'on demand' viewing is the future.  I think they are wrong.  Very wrong.  Without this process of random discovery by channel hopping, the most interesting programmes will simply never find an audience.  Hell, I know that, in their eyes, I'm a dinosaur, but I like conventional linear TV schedules where you can just, sort of, bump into good stuff unexpectedly.  But, clearly, the powers that be don't like this, as they want us all to be watching whatever they've the new big 'thing' is, rather than discovering stuff for ourselves. 



Blogger Nasreen Iqbal said...

I have thought about that before, too!

So many of the things I love I've stumbled upon. Music on the radio, movies on the television, books while just perusing a book store.

Those happy accidents might be a thing of the past. Everything is a niche market now, preaching to a choir that I might never know I want to be part of!

12:46 am  

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