Jay Cronley: Watching TV gets faster all the time
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Sunday, February 24, 2013
2/24/13 at 4:35 AM
Recording technology has changed the face of television.
The face of television no longer has a product beside a grinning pitchman or woman.
Those faces of advertising are blurred as the typical viewer fast-forwards past them and on to the show.
Last night I was watching a drama that I had taped. It was an hour program. But watching the replay took only about 40 minutes.
This seemed like such a brief period of time that I thought I had fast-forwarded through some of the action by mistake.
Some shows are so predictable that you can almost watch them using the first slow motion gear and pick up most of what is considered to be important. Reality-type shows are so padded that all you have to do is fast-forward to near the end to see anything that matters.
Programs like "Project Runway" stretch out 30 minutes of material into an hour and a half.
Upon returning to the taped hour program that seemed to occupy considerably less than 75 percent of the allotted hour, the same numbers came up again: only 41 minutes of show time, 19 minutes of commercials.
Abundant ads: There's a new FCC rule about toning down the sound of commercials and reducing the decimal level to that of regular programming.
But there's no regulation about what percentage of a show has to be spent on actual comedy or drama. There's no limit to the advertising.
So I replayed three hour-long shows and found some pretty amazing numbers.
None of the three hour-long dramas offered 45 minutes of program time.
Only a few drama or comedy segments ran for more than 10 minutes without commercial breaks.
Most of the advertising spots were 30 seconds in length. Some advertising blocks had eight or nine commercials back to back.
Once into the drama or comedy or "reality" show, some program segments only ran seven minutes and were followed by four minutes of commercials.
You can almost fix dinner during some commercial breaks.
About the only time a person stays focused throughout a production is during a live sporting event or an awards show, an occasion when somebody is apt to blurt out a winner before a viewer can play what he or she recorded.
Recording and replaying is so simple, and time can be so valuable, why watch anything regularly scheduled outside of games and red carpets?
Original Print Headline: Watching TV gets faster all the time