A moment to bitch about in-show ads.

I’d like to take a moment to vent my irritation over the increasingly common practice of putting ads over the bottom of the TV show you’re watching. It was annoying enough when everyone had to start putting their fucking network logo in the bottom corner, but these fucking animated ads are killing what small desire I have left to watch TV. You’re sitting there watching a show when suddenly there’s movement across the bottom of the screen or one corner that drags your eye away from what’s happening in the actual show to see that it’s the network telling you that they’ve got a marathon of Law & Order episodes coming up next even though “next” is a good 25 minutes away. This is particularly annoying when what you’re watching has subtitles that end up being covered up because of the fucking ad. To top it all off, just when I thought they couldn’t get any worse, some networks have even taken to adding sound effects to the ad so not only are you missing anything that’s taking place behind the ad, but the audio from the show is also being drowned out by the ad.

The worst offender has got to be the TNT Channel. Their tag-line is “we know drama” and it’s true because they create a lot of drama in my house whenever their huge honking ad for The Closer pops up for the fifth fucking time over a show I’m watching causing me to scream out, “OK! I FUCKING KNOW THE CLOSER IS COMING BACK ON APRIL THIRD ALREADY! I DON’T NEED TO BE REMINDED ANY MORE NOT TO WATCH THAT STUPID SHOW!”

Second worst is probably G4 TV which used to be a network devoted to video gamers, but which has steadily managed to weed out almost anything gaming related from its programming line up.  I only tune in for one show on that channel, X-Play, so I don’t have to put up with too much of their in-show ad bullshit, but they still manage to get my dander up because they choose to make their ads stretch all the way across the bottom third of the screen using some ridiculously silly ghetto graffiti animation in a pathetically corporate attempt at being street cool.

Third worst is the USA Network as they seem to be in some sort of competition with TNT to see who can come up with the biggest, loudest, and most annoying in-show ad they can manage without causing people’s heads to asplode from the rage they induce and thusly lowering their ratings. I’ve pretty much stopped watching this channel altogether.

The channel I watch most often Spike TV — mainly because of the CSI reruns they have — seems to have the lesser annoying of these in-show ads as they tend to be small strips of mainly text that announce what’s coming up next, but I still have to ask if it’s really necessary to tell me what I’m currently watching. Yes, I know that I’m watching CSI right now. That’s the whole reason I tuned in your channel in the first place.

I understand that TiVo has fucked things up for the networks a bit in terms of people fast forwarding through the commercials and so this is one way to make sure you get your message out, but you’re not doing yourselves any favors by being overly intrusive in the process. I actually avoid watching TNT or USA Network at all unless there’s absolutely nothing else on and my brain isn’t engaged enough to do something else like read a book. The point being that you’re actively driving away viewers and that’s just stupid. I know you’re not going to drop them anytime soon, but tone them the fuck down and minimize the space they take up and make sure they DON’T FUCKING COVER UP ANY SUBTITLES.

Thank you.

32 thoughts on “A moment to bitch about in-show ads.

  1. They’re less obtrusive here- usually just a small band at the bottom during the ‘emotional wrap up’ (ie after the main plot finishes) just to tell you what is happening next. Often you will get something in the official ad break- a trailer or continuity announcer.

    I hate ads anyway- I’m happy to pay the licence fee to support the BBC. People (ie journalists for NewsCorp- owners of Sky) whine about having to pay for something they don’t watch. That pisses me off. Sky is very ‘commercialist’.  They rarely break anything new- preferring for one of the terrestial channels to garner the audience, then outbid them for series 3 (eg Lost) and make very few original programs.  Well at least they can get the BBC, and I bet they do watch BBC programmes.  What I would love to be able to tell this ‘journalists’ is I pay for Sky, even though I can’t get it, purely because it carries ads for places I spend money.

    Thats somethinge else that pisses me off. BBC- the licence fee (=compulsory subscription I suppose), Terrestial Commercial- Ads, Blockbusters/cinema – Pay Per View.
    Sky Subscription + Ads + PPV on some things!

    Does TiVo work like my PVR (terrestial Digibox with 80gb HD)? I can ‘timeslip’/pause and miss the ads by ‘catching up’ to live, but if I am watching something live I’m stuck with the ads (or rewinding to watch the naughty bits in slo-mo)

  2. Wow, is that ever a crappy avatar. wink

    And, yes, TiVo works like your PVR. It’s the original PVR in fact.

  3. Wow, is that ever a crappy avatar

    I could make it ‘graven’ if you wish.

    Actually because the avatars and and signatures are linked not embedded it makes some of my comments on the thread KPG blew his top on look spookily precognicent

  4. These things were originally known as “ghosts” because they were subtle and translucent—annoying, but also kind of convenient as you flipped through channels and had no idea what channel 47 was …

    Now—ye gods. 

    SciFi gets pretty darned annoying.  Universal HD (which is rerunning the Equalizer), too.  Indeed, they’re all annoying.

    When I’m king of the world and wear a shiny hat (or, alternately, when Les is elected God), we’ll be taking care of these atrocities.

  5. Oh, stop pussyfooting around already, Les:  Tell us how you really feel about these things.  wink

    Seriously though, short of the internet shutting down (the horror…the horror…), there’s nothing that will really drive me to turn on the TV for anything other than to watch a DVD.  Yeah, I miss the Discovery Channel-type stuff.  But overall, I was just getting sick of the whole pre-packaged feel to everything and the passivity of it all.  It’s the difference between grilling your own burgers on the patio and being spoon-fed a Big Mac.  But that’s just me, and my snobberies are legion. 

    I’m just curious, mainly because there are so many intelligent, freethinking types here:  What do you folks get out of TV?

  6. There are number of shows that I very much enjoy, and others I find amusing and entertaining.  It’s not the focus of my life, but I’d be unhappy missing out on the parts of it I like.

  7. I fuckin’ hear ya! It’s getting so bad that soon I expect the in-show advertisement to cover the whole screen momentarily.

    The ones that really piss me off are the ones with characters from an upcoming show walking onto the screen and standing there. For a moment it looks like they’re in the current program they’re so big.

    TV is OK in moderation, Cubiclegrrl. Most shows that most of America likes insult my intelligence (such as it is) but I usually find something to listen to in the background while I’m working or playing on the computer. I just have a hard time with silence.

  8. Possibly it’s cheaper for the networks to get permission to run shows with adverts because it discourages one method of piracy

  9. when Les is elected God

    Ah ha !!! A Convert !!!!!!! !!!!!! (deep breath) !!!!!!!!!!!!! (with apologies to PTerry)

    What do you folks get out of TV?

    Life on Mars, House, Dr Who, Harry Hill, Ronnie Barker, Cricket.

  10. What do you folks get out of TV?

    While I generally agree with this sentiment, I will admit that my life would not be as rich if it were not for the following television programs:

    The Prisoner
    The Avengers
    Mystery Science Theater 3000

    Take those away and you’ve just robbed me of a whole lot of joy. Additionally, there are some current shows that I’m quite fond of. These include The Office (NBC and BBC), Arrested Development, House, and Little Britain.

    For the most part, though, I’d have to join the bandwagon of not being a huge television viewer. For the most part I’d rather be outside.

  11. I just wanted to pimp G4TV a little. X-Play is alright, but check out Ninja Warriorif you haven’t already. I’m not going to say it’s the best sports ever, but I find myself fascinated with it.

  12. I’m a product of the 70’s and 80’s so TV used to be a very big part of my life until I got heavily into computers. I don’t watch anywhere near as much as I used to and there isn’t really a single show that I make a consistent effort to watch, but when my brain is tired or I’m just bored of working on the computer I find that I still enjoy a little TV.

    House is probably the one show I’ll go out of my way to watch, the CSI reruns are enjoyable too. More often than not I’ll tune in to whatever random Discovery Channel or History Channel show happens to catch my eye whenever they’re not busy pandering to the masses with a show that uncritically proposes the existence of UFOs or psychic powers (that irritates the hell out of me too).

  13. cubiclegrrl: But overall, I was just getting sick of the whole pre-packaged feel to everything and the passivity of it all.  It’s the difference between grilling your own burgers on the patio and being spoon-fed a Big Mac.  But that’s just me, and my snobberies are legion.

    I’m just curious, mainly because there are so many intelligent, freethinking types here:  What do you folks get out of TV?

    The whole “TV rots your mind” idea drives me nuts. There’s nothing wrong with the form itself, it’s just as valid a form of story telling as film, novel, comic or stage. True, there’s a lot of mind numbing crap on the glass teat, but the same can be said for EVERY story telling medium.

    The advantage that TV has, when compared to, say, film, is the ability to develop subtle, long term characterizations and stories that are more complex than anything you can fit into a two hour flick.

    Obviously, not every show takes full advantage of the medium and those that do, don’t always do it successfully, but when it works, TV can be spectacular.

    See any of the following: The Sopranos, Deadwood, Dead Like Me, Life On Mars, Inspector Morse, Bleak House, Doctor Who, Babylon 5, Firefly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica (new version), House, Homicide, The Office (Britsh Edition), Robin of Sherwood, Casanova (with David Tennant), Tipping The Velvet, Cracker (UK & US versions), Fear Stress and Anger, Champion, Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett), The Prisoner, Lost, Nowhere Man, Gormenghast, etc, etc, etc….

  14. Totally agree about needing the sub-titles and not having anything cover them.

    We don’t have cable or satellite, so our tv watching is limited to what the antenna in the attic can bring in.  We rent dvds once in awhile, but most of our screen viewing is at the computers.

    I watch NCIS because Mark Harmon is the star.  Even if he never said a word, I’d be fine with looking.

    My Mister and I both love HOUSE because the smart doctor gets away with so much smartass attitude.  Nobody in real life could do and say what he does.

    We watch NUMB3RS umm, just because it’s on and there is a college professor as the star.  By Fridays, we’re too tired to care much.

  15. What will be really interesting is when the technology gets good enough to allow subtle in show ads.  For example the main characters will be standing outside in front of a billboard, which will be filled with a local or national ad that will be inserted while you’re watching the program.  So you might say see a Ford car ad when you first watch the show during its initial run, an ad for some local or regional business when you watch the rerun etc.  They already do stuff like that with sports broadcasts, but they tend to be kind of obvious.

  16. cubiclegrrl: What do you folks get out of TV?

    Not more than a week ago I remarked, in a response to a DClaws comment, that we tend to need (want ?) anaesthetics in our life and TV fits the bill as does SEB … although there’s an element of interaction with SEB.
    TV is a passive experience (unless you’re like me and swear at the fucking idiots, their stupid comments or their ridiculous situations) with which I rarely involve myself unless it’s informative or sport (more anaesthetic).
    Last night I was watching The New Inventors, and something else I can’t remember, and seeing as I thought I could glean most of the content without sound I listened to a couple Richard Dawkins interviews (Part 1 and Part 2) which I received into my inbox – I tried to thingo their addresses so y’all could access them but it wouldn’t work.
    Like Brock I have TV (or classic FM radio) on as background noise cos I don’t like silence for too long cos I start to contemplate MY reality of the basic pointlessness of life – I feel I need stuff (but not mindless TV stuff – between the two of us, we, on balance, think there’s a point to going on) to interest me enough to hang around – so far so good.  LOL

  17. Thanks for the feedback, folks.  Just was curious to know what I’m missing. 

    Btw:  No judgement implied, KPG (although Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock is the only one worth watching, IMO).  Like I said, I’m a snob.  But It’s good knowing that a sustained, multi-season plot arc seems to be more common than during my 70’s/80’s TV-watching heyday.

  18. Not sure I would put the US version of Cracker up with the UK one. Far too nice a Fitz.

    Why is Television called a medium?  Because it is neither rare nor well done.

    Just remembered- got to set the DVR up for House.

  19. LH: Not sure I would put the US version of Cracker up with the UK one. Far too nice a Fitz.

    Side by side, no, you’re right. But taken on its own, without the comparisson, it was an excellent show.

  20. Possibly- but my view was already coloured by Coltrain.  I’d be interested to know if the US version of ‘Life on Mars’ will be as racist and sexist as the original, or will it be watered down- the problem that happened with Fitz

  21. They’re making a US version of Life On Mars?


    I don’t think that one’s going to work.

    – The US Cracker works better if you think of it as a completely different character. The lead actor was quite good, shame he passed away.

  22. I’m one of the people with a DVR, and actually I probably watch less TV “all week long” than I ever did before. I tend to ignore shows I’m recording for months at a time, and then sit down for a weekend of Lost and Battlestar Galactica, or “all Mythbusters” night. Since I AM fast forwarding through the commercials, and sometimes half the show when it doesn’t impress me much, it all goes by pretty quickly.

    Regular TV “watching” is usually one of those things where you turn on the TV set late at night while it’s behind you, just so I have something to listen to that won’t actually gather my attention like music might.

  23. Regular TV “watching” is usually one of those things…that won’t actually gather my attention like music might.

    Y’know, I’ve noticed that. TV distracts me FAR less than music in general. Gaming, music is good, and TV is bad. But when programming, for instance, music is tremendously worse for my productivity.

  24. They’re making a US version of Life On Mars?
    I don’t think that one’s going to work

    However are they going to produce the ‘Gene Genie’
    in the US.

    A woman at work and I have speak like the
    Sweeney days “‘Ullo Guv”,“Got a Blag going down in the Mile End Road”.  LoM was absolutely not allowed to reference the Sweeney (I assume in case it became straight parody).  I don’ t know how racist common lanuage was in the US in the 70’s, but when they re-run the first episode of Minder in the early nineties the reference to black people as “Spades” had to be edited out- what was fine in ‘81 was offensive in ‘93.

    With US audiencies being so sensitive a good remake of LoM in the US will be impossible. Hunt is a pig, thats the joke- but will US audiences get it when he says “All (racial slur) look the same to me”?

  25. Les.. Thank You! I Wish We Viewers had a say about this issue!  I guess it would take getting
    organized like the unions… and boycott directv and dishnetwork… loss of revenue would have to have some sort of voice. ?

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