Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I want to crave you ...


Just like more than 2 million other viewers each night I've been keenly tuned into The Voice.  Yes it is another reality TV show and yes it is another singing one, but it is fresh and different and capturing the nation.   But, is it really?

I have been swept up with everyone else, tweeting like a maniac, crying at the talent, getting goosebumps during the first battle rounds, all with rose coloured glasses planted firmly on my nose.

But like all good rose coloured glasses, they eventually slip down the bridge of the nose and let some "real" light in.  I think mine may have slipped last night.

I still love the show.  I love the judges.  I love the judges.  I love the judges.  Oh, did I say that already?  Well aside from loving the judges I think the format is fresh and new and works well.   Those battle rounds are amazing and really force the contestants to put their all into the song.  It is superb to watch.

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What doesn't work for me, and I hazard a guess to say I'm not the only one, is the way in which the show is drawn out.  It is far too long.   The average person doesn't have a spare two hours plus each night to sit and watch television.   We have lives, kids, work and it is a school night!  I would have thought the television networks would have worked this out by now.   Channel 9, in particular, are showing back to back reality television - this is over three hours each night.

I find these shows always seem start up with a frenzy of new and excited viewers, hoping for something different and then they serve up the same old, same old just dressed in a different sauce.  A chop is a chop is a chop, no matter whether you crumb, fry or stew it!

I know television stations need to make money, hence commercials.  But I also know commercial television stations need viewers, hence ratings.  Sadly it feels like television stations care more about the money than the viewer.  Which shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone.

With all that in mind, I write the following open letter to Commercial Television Stations.

Dear Station Owner, Manager and Program Director

I am sure I speak for 99% of Australians in this letter.   If you want Australian audiences to embrace your new reality television shows, some which are quite good and entertaining, we would appreciate you keeping the following in mind:

  • We don't want, nor like, extended ad breaks.  We don't watch them.  Your advertising clients don't get any more value for the inflated amount they pay to advertise during these shows. In fact they probably get less.  Because the show is so long, we are busy trying to catch up with other things, and tend to leave the room during ad breaks.
  • Have you heard of the concept of "always leave people wanting more"?  No, I didn't think so.  Let me explain.  It is human nature to crave something we can't have right now.   For example, think about that chocolate brownie you saw yesterday at the shop.  You didn't buy it and now you can't get it out of your mind.  Had you bought it and eaten it, chances are you wouldn't be obsessing over it today.  Same with television shows.  Stop the show before we've had enough.  Don't let us get to the point where we just want it to be over so we can go to bed.  This happened to me last night.  Tonight - meh - I'm not that interested in watching The Voice.  Had you stopped the show after 1 hour, I'd be dying for it to be on tonight because I wouldn't have quite had enough of it last night.  An hour is not nearly enough time to watch the judges, er I mean, contestants.  Leave us craving more.
  • We all know all about hooks.  You need to build it up before the break, give a summary, give a preview, get the hook in to hold the viewers over through the break to watch the next segment.  Then, just in case you have picked up some new viewers, you need to recap what they have missed.  I get this, and believe most of us do.  For a compromise, perhaps you could cut this down to a few seconds rather than a good portion of that segment.  I can watch a 90 minute reality television show in half an hour if I've pre recorded it.  That's a lot of advertising and hooks and not a lot of actual content.
Your audiences are smart and discerning people, please treat us this way.  Commercial television is no longer the only option we have, but many of us want to like it.  We want to support locally produced entertainment, but gee you make it so hard for us.

Make us crave you.  Not loathe you.

Yours faithfully
Your Australian Television Audience.


What do you think?  Is commercial television losing us?


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11 comments:

  1. Brilliant. I was just telling my hubby (who used to work at 9) that if they cut the minutes of 'drama building' out then they could find enough minutes to schedule another show. But then again, why would they do that when what they crave is ratings for a longer period of time.

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M

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  2. Couldn't agree more. As for the after 10pm finishing time - FFS!
    I could not tell you about the ads because I tweet or leave the room during them.
    And yes, it went on far too long. I am a little over it already. More dancing Seal, er I mean more singing and less recapping.

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  3. I'm definitely in your 99%. I tweeted last night that The Voice was like a short, sharply intense love affair. I was so happy, but now I'm getting bored. It's not too late for it to turn into something more long-term, but something has to change. And fast.

    I actively *want* to love it, but they are losing me.

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  4. My wife and I loved the blind auditions. So much so that we'd set our IQ to record each EP in case something - like a sick, over tired, or just plain whiny kid - got in the way. Priorities and all that! As for the "battle rounds", well, my wife's hanging in, for now, but I just see through the concept. Far too much (fake and overdone) drama in a singing show for me, thanks. Sorry to say, Voice, you've lost me!

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  5. My wife and I loved the blind auditions. So much so that we'd set our IQ to record each EP in case something - like a sick, over tired, or just plain whiny kid - got in the way. Priorities and all that! As for the "battle rounds", well, my wife's hanging in, for now, but I just see through the concept. Far too much (fake and overdone) drama in a singing show for me, thanks. Sorry to say, Voice, you've lost me!

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  6. I record everything on our Foxtel IQ. It means I watch and enjoy everything I want when I want. Can't stand all the build up and carry on, so I skip at least half of every program anyway. An hour of reality tv is about my limit, so this way I get a few shows in at a time.

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  7. A little bit off the point but I think a show like Offspring, which I know is a different genre altogether, does it well. They only have a few episodes a series (not sure how many but it couldn't be more than 12-15) and it does leave you wanting more. I'm actually one of the few who hasn't watched The Voice but I don't have the attention span or will to watch it night after night.

    Yep, leave the audience wanting more. There will be The Voice fatigue and you're a good case in point.

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  8. Totally agree!!!!!! Well said!xo

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  9. I am also (unexpectedly) enjoying 'The Voice', but I always record shows like these, so I can whiz thru all the annoying repetitive bits. It's the only way to keep up the enjoyingment level.

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  10. Yes! Agree! Even without the ad breaks, I am staying up far too late with the Tivo running hot just to keep up with the darn show. Please listen to Annie, Channel 9! x

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  11. I record everything on the IQ so it doesn't really bother me because I can just fast-forward the ads and watch it when I have time.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me x

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