Friday, March 5, 2010

"Splain It To Me"

By Frank Absher

There is an underlying aspect of today’s media that defies logic.

For some reason, it appears that media managers are actually trying to piss off the very consumers they’re supposed to be serving.

Let’s look at a few examples:

Some time back one of the cable channels promoted a Three Stooges festival. It was obvious this promotion was not aimed at kids, but at those of us who are actually capable of reciting large blocks of dialogue as we watch the Stooges.

Like many people, I settled in for some fun, only to give up after less than an hour. It seems the brilliant minds at the cable channel thought it would be a wonderful idea to randomly interrupt each Stooges’ short and run an interminable number of commercials.

Note that the folks in Hollywood don’t call them “shorts” for nothing. They’re not long-form shows. But the interruptions drove me away and I didn’t see any more of the commercials they ran.

Newspapers all over the country have begun the rather offensive practice of slapping a gummed advertising sticker randomly on their front pages, covering some of the stories I’d like to read. What Harvard grad thought this up?

The paper people also wrap ads around sections of the paper, making it difficult to sort through the sections.
Now there’s a pair of outstanding sales ideas. Let’s alienate our readers even more. Make it more difficult for them to read the paper.

As payback, I always look at the merchants who bought these ads and vow not to buy the stuff they’re advertising.

The Denver Post recently announced it was dropping 20 comics from its pages – 20 comics! Let’s look at the reasoning behind this: They’ve cut costs, and they’re cutting something many readers passionately seek out. Excellent!

What has radio done? Jeez! What hasn’t radio done? Let’s go easy on them and talk about spot clusters that last longer than three minutes.

What a concept! Let’s just assume we’ll be losing all our listeners when we run commercials, so let’s make sure they all go away by running eight minutes of spots! Yeah, we know they won’t hear the spots, but that’s the sales department’s problem.

Well, it’s also a problem for the whole station because I’ve stopped listening to commercial radio.

Am I the only media consumer who’s upset? Apparently I am. If more people took action, these stupid practices would stop, and there’s no sign that’s happening.

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