August 2019

Say it isn’t so! If I watch an old Star Trek episode on IFC, International Film Channel, the show runs for an hour and ten minutes? Where did an additional ten minutes of show time come from?

That’s easy; advertising.

just last week I read a report of commercial time being added to cable TV shows due to revenue loss from customers abandoning Cable in lieu of Streaming Video. It’s about time Cable TV got its comeuppance.

Soon to be 70 years of age, my entertainment appetite tends towards more classic programing. I like the black and white renditions of movies and tv shows because they were the main part of my viewing menu growing up in the 1950’s.

But I am no longer recognized in the money-spending demographic of 25 to 45-year-olds, so my wants and desires come under another description and not one catered to by Entertainment producers. Take for instance, a great John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Patricia Neal movie, “In Harm’s Way”. It is set in the backdrop of the raid on Pearl Harbor and the years after the U.S. enters World War II – virtually a classic. I found the movie listing in the Channels running in the early 600’s. But look at the original runtime for the movie and how many minutes of advertising has been added. In this case, 75 minutes; and that does not even account for portions of the movie cut out for more advertising.

For the Movie: “In Harm’s Way”

Runtime on 8Prime 240 min

Actual Runtime 165 min

That is more than 30% of the broadcast being advertising.

TVLand is another horrible source of older programing choice. The “Andy Griffith Show” is still entertaining but a program that originally ran in a half-hour time slot now runs for 36 or 37 minutes. If you don’t have a DVR to record these programs you are likely to fall asleep during the commercials.

One of my nearest and dearest programs is the black and white, Perry Mason Series. Having watched the reruns ad infinitum, I see more and more of the show cut out and replaced with people selling me car insurance or skin cream. The program as broadcast today is so chopped to pieces I can hear Perry Mason say, “Do you recall the conversation I had with you at your apartment this morning?”

The thing is, that scene was in the original broadcast but now the viewer is prone to ask, “What is Mr. Mason talking about?”

This weekend we are watching the movie, “Guardians of the Galaxy – Volume 2” on TBS. Not really one for our generation but thought we’d give it a shot. The original runtime for this movie is 136 minutes; 2 hours and 16 minutes if you do the math for Millennials.

It appears that as much as six minutes at a time for advertising during a commercial break means that, according to a Bloomberg report:

TV Networks Stuff in More Commercials Despite Vows to Cut Back

“The amount of commercial time on cable TV keeps increasing as networks try to make up for shrinking audiences by stuffing more ads into every hour of television. That’s despite years of promises to cut back on ads.”

The Streaming Services such as Hulu, Philo, Sling TV and others, unfortunately cater to the same crowd that has taken people away from Cable Television – leaving folks like me out in the cold again.

We subscribe to Spectrum TV, once Brighthouse, once Time Warner, once Storer Cable. It is here that we still can get channels we watch most of the time. We sometimes see the Spectrum fees as exorbitant but cannot find an ala carte menu with any other provider that comes close – unless you subscribe to one of their premium services that means to see what you like you may have to choose between your medications and entertainment.

It wasn’t too long ago that Brighthouse advertised ‘free high-definition’ – but you had to rent a special box to get the ‘free’ service. Even after changing to Spectrum TV they still lie about free high-definition.

125+ channels plus FREE HD

The above can be seen on their website. Yet they still won’t tell you a special box must be rented to get that “Free” service.

That’s as silly as the website showing a product and in the text below stating, “Free Pickup”. I am so impressed that Walmart won’t charge me more for going to their store and purchasing that item! “Free Pickup!”. Happy days are here again? Not the show, the expression.

So, we are stuck on a floating and slowly melting iceberg of television entertainment choices. The Geriatric crowd won’t spend big bucks on TV services so our choices become reduced each year. It should reach a point of extinction – I figure in about 12 years – the same time the Earth will come to an end, according to World Life Expert, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. So, I suppose I shouldn’t worry about it. Maybe by then we will have a Democrat President and Congress so everything should be free anyway. We just have to wait.