Read two very depressing articles today. Both concerned domestic recreational viewing habits. Each made blundering attempts to identify trends by gender stereotyping and failed to identify the main problem: 90% of TV is shite.
The first was a lazily written slice of home life where the writer explained about the “war” he regularly has with his daughter over what to watch. He is apparently so in love with football that it’s the only thing he’ll watch. I find most televised sport so mind-numbingly dull that I can see why his daughter might make a case for not watching it every evening. He then goes on to say that his daughter only seems to want to watch Britain’s Top Model which is a show that sounds so uncompromisingly unbearable that I can understand the father’s complaints about being subjected to the show’s narcissistic, self-promoting characters each time he wants to spend time in the living room (although he must see a few of those whilst watching the footie). Why can’t these people develop an imagination? They’re shows that exist on TV that are actually interesting, entertaining, informative, stimulating, involving and an absolute joy to behold. You might have to spend a bit of time reading a TV guide or the previews of coming shows but they’re out there. The writer might benefit from realising men are allowed to watch stuff other than football – and that’s O.K. (Mad Men, for example, is probably not made with a solely female audience in mind).
Because of the infrequent good programming, services like iPlayer or 4oD are very much the way forward (I found out recently you don’t need a TV license for anything that’s not being broadcast live) and DVD boxsets of the genuinely good stuff are really good value now. It’s just depressing that father and daughter have to undergo constant feuds over which is the lesser of two painful viewing experiences. Not to mention the other half of the family who can’t even bear to experience either!
The second article banged on about 57% of men between 18 and 44 preferring surfing the internet compared to 46% preferring TV and that “…the relevance of television is fading.”
I don’t think this comes as any shock.
“Some 73% of young males between 18 and 44 watch video-on-demand at least once a week, with nearly half watching full-length TV programmes.” – Now that anyone (women included) need not watch programmes at a regimented time slot we are free to plan our time better and an evening doesn’t have to revolve around a particular show. Also watching stuff on-line cuts out the majority of TV advertising which is often so loud and annoying that it can distract you from what you were trying to concentrate on.
We also prefer to get our news on-line as the internet allows stories to be updated as events develop. A good friend of mine says she doesn’t like to watch the news because most of the features are presented in a way that suits the (often limited) footage they have.
“More than 25% of young males living with their partners watch TV on a computer in the living room while their other half uses the main TV set.” This might well be true. My housemate watches TV in the living room and I escape to watch an episode of this or that. Anymore than 5 minutes of something that’s not well made or really holding my attention and I have to complain bitterly or (for better relations in the flat) just leave the room. A lot of people who complain to broadcasting standards groups or Points of View should follow suit: just change the channel or be brave and switch the TV off and do something else – if viewing figures were down on poor shows, they wouldn’t be able to justify making them. Although a season of Monkey Tennis might have achieved cult status…