Friday, September 26, 2008

TV's Pandora's Box

With the news that Ofcom are to allow regional programmes to be reduced, principally because as a business it's unsustainable there's the inevitable outcry from all concerned and of course the SNP mantra of it's all an attack on Scotland gets dragged out. According to Pete Wishart, the SNP broadcasting spokesman, "This would be a backward step for broadcasting, just at a time when public and industry opinion has said we need a better and more relevant service for people in Scotland.

Welcome to the real world, one where businesses have to balance their budgets, not just spend, spend, spend. When the Pandora's box that is digital and satellite broadcasting was opened it allowed for the rampant growth of channels, most of which, as we all know, carry advertising. The simple fact is there's only so much budget to go around. The net result will always be a reduction in overall quality as broadcasters have to battle vainly to get some kind of bang for their production buck. And it's not just the SNP. Lib Dem Borders MP Michael Moore has trawled the rhetoric reservoir to come up with a gem. He said the recommendations were "made by people stuck in London offices who fail to understand the importance of regional news and diversity. What local viewers want to see is news that is directly relevant to them."

Well there's just not the money to achieve such an ambition. There are about 100,000 of us in the Borders. Compare that to many cities around the UK and do they get news that is as directly relevant to them in the same order of magnitude? Politicians just love to jump on the bandwagon of being seen to support their voters - which of course is their primary purpose. But driving around the Borders the number of satellite dishes is enormous; every one of us who has one has contributed to the demise of ITV as a great broadcaster. Choice is not always a good thing; too much choice is almost always a bad thing.

5 comments:

Ellee Seymour said...

I see a rise in citizen journalists.

bigrab said...

Absolutely Ellee. Radio and television programmes are cripplingly expensive to make using traditional studios and staff. However perfectly good podcasts and internet TV can be made for virtually hee-haw. It's the way forward.

CherryPie said...

I have to say I like the local newspapers and radio stations better than getting the info natioanlly. I find they just get to the facts on news of national/international importance (no added spin). Then of course you get all the local news and issues as well.

The Paper Boy said...

Actually the sole reason I have a satellite dish is this - I can't get a decent stable picture on terrestrial analogue or digital that doesn't break up...

If I want ITV1 Border I need huge bedstead of an aerial that will assist the house in taking off in the event of anything more than a stiff breeze - ITV1 Tyne Tees is much more readily available - but I don't want that...

Deb Acle said...

And one of the prime benefits trumpeted for broadcast media expansion was 'community programming'. Tch. Most of the multitude of channels are repeats (of programmes that were made in the days when telly WAS good!) and adverts and adverts and adverts...yawn.

Have you noticed how BBC and ITV programme quality has deteriorated too? If, by closing the peripheral down it means we get better output from our national broadcasters then good thing too!