Beaten by branding


TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Beaten by branding
I should say right at the start that I very much like Pixel Power’s James Gilbert. He is charming company, an excellent engineer and a good judge of wine. Yet, for all these admirable qualities, I hold him personally responsible for one of the greatest evils of modern society.
I refer, of course, to the squeezeback. This is the horrific mutilation of the end of television programmes which mean we can no longer enjoy the end credits. And while a number of vendors offer equipment to do this, Pixel Power’s products are very good at it – if it is something you want done well.
Since the dawn of the television age end credits have fulfilled two important functions. First, they allow you to see who has made a contribution to the programme, so you can look out for their work in future. And second, they are a natural lull in which you can look for the corkscrew. These are both essential to a civilised discourse between broadcaster and viewer.
Then a while back someone working for a broadcaster who does not actually like television – and there is a surprisingly large number of these – thought that the end credits were a waste of time. This person, almost certainly with a degree in marketing from a university that was a polytechnic the week before, thought the time could be much better employed selling us something.
When I was in the States for NAB earlier this year I saw the squeezeback taken to its very nadir. This was so shocking I had to find out what it was called so I could be precise in my vitriol. Looking back, I think it might have been James Gilbert who told me.
This is the “hot start”. As is usual nowadays, as soon as the end credits start the programme shrinks back to a small window on the screen, and all sorts of branding messages and promos appear. But alongside those, another small window opens and the next programme starts! Yes, the opening scene of the next programme is shown at the same time as the credits for the last programme, and at the same time as other branding stuff is on screen.
Now I am sure you are familiar with the format of American television programmes. They start with an opening scene, which sets up what is to follow, in a segment they call the “tease”. Only after this tease – which can be some minutes long – and the first commercial break do you get the titles.
So you are not missing some captions but a vital plot point. In a sitcom the whole set-up can be in the first 30 seconds, which you cannot see because the dumb broadcaster has squeezed it back and overlapped it with credits and promos. If you are a Bones fan you will probably miss the gross bit with the maggots.
This is all to do with branding, and in particular the television industry’s belief that we viewers are all so stupid that (1) we will forget what we are watching, and (2) we are too stupid to realise that hitting the i button on the remote control will tell us. It is also part of the channel’s belief that it is more important than the content, and we must stick with it whatever happens.
Now I should not blame James for this alone, as Pixel Power is far from the only company providing the wherewithal for squeezebacks. Michel Proulx, CTO of Miranda (which provided this month’s picture) has a belief that no content should ever appear on screen without branding.
From the content owner’s perspective you can understand his thinking. Audience loyalty comes from telling them what brand they are watching at all times. Actually, audience loyalty comes from making good programmes, but we will gloss over that.
But it does lead to the prospect of watching television which has a logo for the content producer and a logo for the broadcaster. If you have added functionality you have to find somewhere to show a red button, too. Then you have to find some screen real estate for all those really irritating pop-ups that tell us what is coming next, which are always at a predefined time before the squeezeback cue and therefore consistently ruin a poignant climactic moment.
Which would not be so bad if there were not logos on screen. We can never lose sight of who sponsors cricket or rugby, because the logo is right there on the pitch. Product placement means we have to have lovingly lingering shots of beer pumps in pubs and half eaten fruit on computers. Heaven knows what the Olympic coverage will look like with the strange graffiti tag competing with all those sponsors who have paid many, many millions to be there – and more to the point to keep their competitors’ logos out.
It does make me long for the good old days, when you chose a television channel and watched a programme from beginning to end without distraction. Do we need to be beaten over the head by branding?

Tags: iss067 | pixel power | branding | james gilbert | squeezeback | advertising | miranda | michel proulx | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Pixel Power at NAB 2013

    Pixel Power at NAB 2013

  • Pixel Power Buzz at IBC 2014

    Pixel Power Buzz at IBC 2014

  • Pixel Power on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Pixel Power on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Pixel Power at IBC 2013

    Pixel Power at IBC 2013

  • Pixel Power at NAB 2014

    Pixel Power at NAB 2014

  • Pixel Power at NAB 2012

    Pixel Power at NAB 2012

  • Pixel Power at IBC2011

    Pixel Power at IBC2011

  • TMD at IBC2011

    TMD at IBC2011

  • ChyronHego Paint at IBC 2013

    ChyronHego Paint at IBC 2013

  • Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • ChyronHego Channel Box Prime at IBC 2015

    ChyronHego Channel Box Prime at IBC 2015

  • ChyronHego Virtual Placement at IBC 2013

    ChyronHego Virtual Placement at IBC 2013

  • IPTV Digital Signage from VITEC at NAB 2017

    IPTV Digital Signage from VITEC at NAB 2017

  • Prime Focus Technologies at IBC 2016

    Prime Focus Technologies at IBC 2016

  • Miranda at IBC 2012

    Miranda at IBC 2012

  • Miranda at NAB 2012

    Miranda at NAB 2012


Related Shows
  • Pixel Power LIVE at BVE 2016

    Pixel Power LIVE at BVE 2016


Articles
Peli Air 1507 Review
Phil Vinter Originally named after a bird that carries its precious cargo through the skies, it was, perhaps, only a matter of time before Peli released its Air range.
Tags: iss133 | peli | peli air 1507 | trekpak | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read or download PDF
Fast-moving productions need multi-cam RF reliability
Darren Bilton Wireless acquisition creates a level of freedom not possible with any other form of filming yet only a decade ago the technique was barely possible. The technology enabling live real-time connections over radio frequencies has advanced leaps and bounds such that there is barely an entertainment, documentary, sports or news format today that doesn’t benefit from at least one link system. That means the demands on the kit continues to rise and includes the need for fail safe multi-camera operation, ease of use and backwards compatibility all within a small, lightweight and budget-friendly package.
Tags: iss133 | boxx tv | wireless | mpeg-4 | multicam | rf | multi-cam | Darren Bilton
Contributing Author Darren Bilton Click to read or download PDF
DJI Ronin-S Review
Tim Bearder

If you read my review of the GH5 in Issue 129 at the beginning of the year, you know I’m a filmmaker that is all about small form factor. My basic setup combines the tiny yet powerful mirrorless Panasonic GH5 with the wonderfully compact Sennheiser AVX wireless mic system. Together you’ve got a run and gun set up to die for.

Unless you actually run!

Tags: iss 133 | dji | ronin-s | gh5 | Tim Bearder
Contributing Author Tim Bearder Click to read or download PDF
The Biggest Toy Shop in the World
Emma Morrison When Nigel Woodford started his career at BBC Wood Norton in 1962, television was black and white and BBC Two had not yet been launched. In 2018 Nigel will retire, and Richmond Film Services, the pro-audio equipment rental company set up by Nigel in 1973, can count numerous contributions to iconic moments in British cultural, sporting and film history over this time.
Tags: iss133 | richmond film services | audio rental | auction | liquidity | go-dove | Emma Morrison
Contributing Author Emma Morrison Click to read or download PDF
Perimeter LED screens management
Nicolas Houel Opened in January 2016, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also known as Groupama Stadium, is the new home of Olympique Lyonnais football club, one of the most popular clubs in France. Since its inauguration, the stadium was a host of UEFA Euro 2016, and was also chosen to stage, among other important events, the 2018 UEFA Europa League Final and football at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Tags: iss133 | 3dstorm | graphics | groupama stadium | liveexpert | livecg | deltacast | Nicolas Houel
Contributing Author Nicolas Houel Click to read or download PDF