I was listening to a show on Radio 5 last night, where they were talking about the changing nature of Radio and how it has had to adapt to the times (Sorry I cannot remember the name of it!!). One of the guests used the You Tube example of people now choosing when they watch content and how long they watch it for, basically becoming their own content programmers.
It got me thinking about how annoying I find advertising nowadays. Back when I had Sky and Sky Plus, I never watched any adverts on programmes I had recorded. Skipped all the ad breaks (and on Sky that seemed to be every 5 minutes!!) and just watched the programmes. A friend of mine told me how she used to pause any programme she wanted to watch “live” and go and make a coffee. Then come back and watch it, slightly delayed, so that she could fast forward through the adverts. It was such a good idea, that I started to do this too.
Now that I do not have this facility, I find myself rarely watching TV anymore. The BBC channels have adverts for their own programmes more and more and this just irks me. I pay a licence fee for the ability to watch what I want, not what you are suggesting I watch at some later date. ITV is just a mess now and when they put on the mean and moody music and try to pretend that they are the home of Drama TV, well….it just smacks of someone desparate to be noticed for something worthy, when in fact they are anything but. I know that Freeview have their own version of Sky Plus but I have not heard if it is any good or worth the money. My TV signal is bad enough, despite being in the centre of Aberdeen, that I am not sure the extra outlay would be worth it for me.
However getting back to the adverts and Radio, I wondered if there was any way to have a similar “plus” service for Radio. I struggle to listen to commercial radio due to the high amount of adverts. So even though the content can be good, the rubbish that comes with it often makes it not worth while sticking with it. Also I stopped listening to music radio because, the non commercial channels often played music I didnt like. So I stick to my own music collection. I am at an age where I have no desire to hear new bands, so that may well be part of why I feel this way.
I like listening to Football on the radio, both matches and fan phone ins. I do not like any other sport, well apart from American football but thats never on British Radio, so I get annoyed when I tune in to hear the football results and get rugby or some other sport. I do occasionally think that each sport should have its own radio station and then we can all listen to exactly what we want, when we want.
So if as a consumer, I have all this power as to what I want to watch or listen to (or at least I am supposed to have), what can be done?
There is no doubt that the internet will become increasingly the conduit for any content that we want to consume. With that comes advertising and that can just push people into the piracy avenue. Seriously, I tried to watch something on 4OD and there was 8 unskippable adverts before the programme and 8 in the half way break. 16 adverts in total for a half hour programme. 4OD has such a great range of content but the adverts get in the way of my enjoyment. You tube has that advert before the video plays and I have yet to meet anyone that does not skip the ad as soon as the option arrives. When they hit me with an unskippable advert before the video, I just quit out. I doubt that there would ever be anything on the ITV player that I would ever want to watch and Demand 5 does not seem to have a great range of content available (or at least it didn’t the last time I looked, over a year ago, so things may well have changed).
Now I know that 4OD etc and you tube are free services and they have to make money somewhere but the forcing of advertising on the consumer is possibly going to have the effect of driving people to other avenues where advertising is not present. Surely there is a better way, just waiting to be discovered. I just hope the accountants and the people who have to monetise everything are kept away from it.