I'm pretty busy and don't have much time to watch television. When I do find sometime to curl up in front of the box, I'm usually watching sports or news. I don't often watch the variety offerings or dramas on Japan's commercial channels.
But that's not just because I don't have the time. The biggest reason I don't watch these programs is that lately I find the editing to be incredibly irritating ― so irritating that I'd rather avoid the shows altogether than put up with it.
I'm talking about the stations' attempts to keep your attention on the program even though they must also air commercials to stay in business. Since the invention of the TV remote control, broadcasters are worried that you're going to flip channels the instant a sponsor's message pops up, and never return. To combat this, they've come up with several highly annoying ways of editing their programs around commercial breaks. Here are just a few of the more common examples:
The guerilla break: It comes out of nowhere, when you least expect it. There's no warning from the program at all. Somebody might be in the middle of a sentence and wham! ― dancing toilet paper suddenly fills your screen.
The bait-and-switch break: Just before the commercials, the show's announcer will say something like, "When we return, we'll show you the most incredible thing in the history of the universe!!!' So you wait through the spots, and then watch a comedian trip over their shoelaces, or something equally mundane.
The it-ain't-over-yet break: After showing a few spots, the program returns and you settle back into your seat to watch ... more commercials! They fool you into complacency by running little 30-second chunks of the main show in between the spots.
The deja vu break: This type of break can be coupled with one of the techniques from above. You're relieved when your program finally starts up again, but then your temper flares as they show sometimes over one minute of the same material they showed going into the commercials. This is an attempt to snare newcomers from other programs.
Another irritating trend is caused by stations figuring you'll stay with them if their show starts before other stations' shows, usually while the competition is airing commercials. So many programs are now starting at weird times, like 9:54 or 6:55 or 11:24 instead of on the hour or half-hour. That makes programming video recorders, and remembering when to start watching, more complex than it has to be.
The more the commercial channels insist on these annoying techniques, the less I'll be watching. One can only pray that the next clever idea broadcasters will come up with for holding your attention will be to make their programs interesting!
Shukan ST: April 29, 2005
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- curl up
- variety offerings
- commercial channels
- I'd rather avoid 〜 altogether than
- put up with 〜
- stations' attempts
- stay in business
- flip channels the instant 〜 pops up
- comes out of nowhere
- when you least expect it
- trip over their shoelaces
- fool you into complacency
- 30-second chunks of 〜
- deja vu
- can be coupled with 〜
- temper flares
- figuring 〜
- instead of on the hour or half-hour
- One can only pray that 〜