Dear Santa


Dick Hobbs. TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
with Dick Hobbs
Issue 108 - December 2015

My Christmas list this year is very modest. I really do hope that my naughty:nice ratio has been appropriate and you will be able to get at least some of these down my chimney.

1 less bad language. I dont mean swearing: that is all right in appropriate situations. Indeed its absence can be silly: there is a pre-watershed police procedural called Cuffs on the BBC at the moment, and the sanitised language is one of the many laughable aspects of a dismal production.

No, I mean calling a spade a hand-held agricultural excavation implement. Our industry is full of words I really do not understand at the moment, like programmatic trading (which I think is something to do with advertising). In the old days the people in a company who organised the holiday rota were called the personnel department, then they got above themselves and adopted the name human resources. A press release this week announced the appointment of a new head of people. Disgraceful.

Professor Daniel M Oppenheimer of the UCLA Anderson School of Management recently studied the use of language, coming to the conclusion that simple, clear and direct is the best policy. Then he shot himself in the foot by offering the distinctly un-simple, clear and direct quote To the extent that you use long words, you make it more disfluent to read your prose, people will judge you disfavourably.

2 could we have some comedies that are funny, please. Something to make us laugh. It will probably need John Finnemore to write it, so give him a lot of money and tell him to get on with it.

Otherwise we are stuck with to take just one example The Almost Impossible Gameshow, which has the pitch line whats funnier than watching a contestant fall over once? Watching them fall over 10 times while wearing lycra!. If only Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn had thought of that rather than wasting their time writing Yes Minister.

3 while Christmas is the time of goodwill, I would love to see sanctions imposed on people talking and/or writing about stuff they clearly do not understand. Advocating 4k to future-proof content, without any evidence that anyone will ever want to watch 4k. Talking about the cloud when actually they mean virtualisation at most, and probably just doing stuff in computers. Things like that. As an aside, I recently visited ZDF in Germany in the company of Andy Newton of Pebble Beach. He made the rather good joke, I thought, about a lot of proposed cloud solutions being vapour-ware. Ill let you think about that one.

4 and while I am into sanctions, can we weed out the sound supervisors who are clearly hard of hearing. BBC Radio 3 broadcast a Prom this summer featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim (a particular favourite of mine) with none of the singers microphones working. Only this week I watched Bryn Terfels birthday concert on Sky Arts, although I did not hear much of it because of the awful music balance. There are good sound people out there: just give the work to them.

5 because I am a very humble person, I have put the most important request last. Can we do something about the appalling under-representation of women in our industry, particularly at the top and particularly in technology?

Yes, I know that Naomi Climer has just been appointed the president of the IET, but she remains, sadly, something of an exception. The IBC Daily Executive Summary, which reflects the views of the great and the good, this year includes 49 interviews. Of those, just five were female: Delia Bushell of BT, Joan Gilman of Time Warner, Muki Kulhan and Fran Unsworth from the BBC, and Laurence Miall-dAout of TV Beat.

As I write this, social media is buzzing with the news that a technology start-up conference organised by Telefnica in London was treated to a cheerleading show. The break entertainment at an event for innovators in technology was a bunch of girls with large pom-poms. Really? Has my binge-watching of Doctor Who transported me back to the sixties?

Also in the news today is a story that HSBC is to black out the names on CVs as part of its drive to get more women into senior jobs. It is a sad day when our great industry has to take management advice from a bank.

Thank you Santa. If you can bring me any of those gifts I will be eternally grateful. And once I have unwrapped all my presents and made myself sick by eating too much of the chocolate orange, my thoughts will turn to New Year resolutions.

I would like us all to be nicer to each other. There is too much nastiness on television. I know that The X Factor has probably reached the end of the line so we have no need to listen to Simon Cowell tearing hopefuls to pieces. But television still supports the likes of Jeremy Kyle, and it really should not.

Let us hope that 2016 sees us all nicer people, sticking up for better technical and creative standards, but asking for them politely. In return, I promise to try to be less disfluent.


Tags: iss108 | santa | zdf | iet | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs.

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
  • SMPTE on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    SMPTE on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013


Related Shows
  • Dick Hobbs talks to Mark Harrison from the DPP

    Dick Hobbs talks to Mark Harrison from the DPP


Articles
The Future of Broadcast Technology
Sebastian Richter

Spotlight on Sebastian Richter, Vice President Media Systems at Rohde & Schwarz.

We are currently in the middle of a transition phase with migration to several new technologies, from the move to IP-based infrastructure and the shift from linear to video-on-demand (VOD).
The question for all of us is how long that transition phase will last; it is going to be faster for some customers then for others – national broadcasters, for example – it will be a slower process.

Tags: broadcast | 5g | 5g broadcast | rohde and schwarz | Sebastian Richter
Contributing Author Sebastian Richter Click to read
Spotlight on James Gilbert, Director of Product and Solution Management
James Gilbert

Over the next eight years we are going to be in transition, and within that there will be vastly different rates of change among content owners and media organisations. As a technology provider the onus is on us to be flexible and adaptable to meet this wide range of requirements from our customers.

Tags: | James Gilbert
Contributing Author James Gilbert Click to read
Spotlight on Karl Mehring, Director of Professional Services, Broadcast, Amplifier and Media
Karl Mehring

How has the role of Professional Services evolved in recent years and what vision do you have of the broadcast technology business? Covering new opportunities that the move to remote brings, new technologies such as 5G broadcast & the impact on the broadcast industry, and the challenges for broadcasters and how can they overcome them.

Tags: COTS | cloud | remote production | distribution | 5g broadcast | Karl Mehring
Contributing Author Karl Mehring Click to read
The Future of Broadcast Technology
Manfred Reitmeier

Now that OTT and VOD have become more mainstream, many commentators talk about traditional broadcast methods, like terrestrial transmission, being a thing of the past. With so many new platforms and non-traditional content services carving out a growing slice of the market, you can be forgiven for thinking that linear over-the-air television is on its way out. The reality is that the industry must strike a balance between meeting consumers’ shifting habits and the business and operational needs of content providers.

Tags: Rohde Schwarz | 5g broadcast | Manfred Reitmeier
Contributing Author Manfred Reitmeier Click to read
A switch in time: how KVM can unlock the future of broadcasting
Chris Smeeton

One of the major changes for broadcasters during the pandemic has been the shift towards remote production; by no means a new phenomenon in an IP environment, yet accelerated under lockdown to accommodate travel and gathering restrictions. A 2021 report found that almost 40% of broadcast professionals now employ remote production, up 9% on the previous year.

Tags: KVM | ARGOSY | GDSYS | KVM Tech | Chris Smeeton
Contributing Author Chris Smeeton Click to read