British television has been wallowing in a bit of a mess for some time and it appears to be getting even more mired in the murky stuff.
The quality of programmes these days leaves a lot to be desired.
For every Doctor Who there’s a Torchwood. For every Dragon’s Den there’s a Ready, Steady Cook. For every Dispatches there’s a Deal Or No Deal. For every CSI there’s a NCIS. I’m struggling to find any positives for comparison purposes on either ITV or Sky and the myriad of other digital channels do not exactly light up the daily schedules.
Now we are witnessing what could be the start of a merry-go-round of senior executives either climbing the ladder or jumping ship and heading to a rival channel.
The decision of BBC chairman Michael Grade to head off to an executive chairmanship at ITV has pole-axed many in the industry (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6189994.stm). So just imagine what the Beeb’s big-wigs must be thinking.
The BBC wanted stability and a charismatic leader after the untimely departures of both Greg Dyke and Gavin Davies. Now it must continue licence fee negotiations with the government and preparations for the digital age without the person many thought could help safeguard the BBC’s long-term future from a position of strength.
Certainly ITV needs someone with Grade’s track record – his “Pornographer in Chief” spell at C4 included – as the shining star in its programming continues to be the pitiful I’m a Celebrity… and now it finds itself the target of a potentially hostile take-over.
While the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres continue and the on-screen drivel continues to turn off viewers, traditional television is facing a significant new threat.
The advent of YouTube and other on-line resources is not anywhere close to breaking television’s stranglehold. But the sobering thought for many of the senior executives out there is the fact that there is often more creativity in a 15-second clip on YouTube than a whole day’s programming on some channels.
An ICM survey for the BBC has shown that around 43% of Britons who watch video from the internet or on a mobile device at least once a week said they watched less normal TV as a result (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6168950.stm).
British television has been resting on its laurels for far too long and the undeserving loyalty shown by viewers can no longer be required upon.
Tomorrow’s world might not be TV-free, but it will be a far different place than our current crop of channels often portray.