MEDIA: PERSPECTIVE - Daytime TV needs a gutsy makeover before it’s too late

I have recently been held captive by daytime TV. Not out of choice, I hasten to add, but because I was forced to take to my bed for a few weeks. It was a very effective tonic, if only to make me recover enough not to have to watch it again. There is only so much Jerry Springer and Oprah that a girl can take.

I have recently been held captive by daytime TV. Not out of choice,

I hasten to add, but because I was forced to take to my bed for a few

weeks. It was a very effective tonic, if only to make me recover enough

not to have to watch it again. There is only so much Jerry Springer and

Oprah that a girl can take.



I think I visibly aged while my brain cells withered and died, capable

only of predicting when Jerry Springer’s guests would start raining

blows on each other. Supermarket Sweep, in all its glorious tackiness,

became an amusing highlight of my day - that’s how easily impressed I

was by the diet of daytime TV.



No wonder FMCG advertisers have been complaining about the quality of

daytime TV since this is their staple audience, made up of housewives

with children and the over-60s.



These key viewers are increasingly being enticed to cable and satellite

TV, or have decided to switch off altogether.



Despite much talk recently of terrestrial TV channels having revamped

their schedules, I could not find much tangible improvement in the

programme line-up compared with last year - apart from the appearance of

Gloria Hunniford hosting her own afternoon show on Channel 5.



While being blitzed by dotcom, telecoms and technology advertising

during evening peaktime, it was noticeable by its absence at other

times. DRTV advertising extolled the benefits of chairlifts (luckily I

wasn’t tempted because there aren’t any stairs in my flat), accident

claims, life insurance and pensions. The ads were crammed in between the

programmes, which effectively acted like wallpaper. I realised that,

during the day, there was no need for the likes of Open if I had a phone

by my side, although the overall quality of advertising was

questionable. It seems that this class of advertising is set to reach

dizzy heights if the Independent Television Commission is given the

go-ahead to relax rules on contentious subjects such as religious ads,

hair loss treatments and psychiatric services.



If I’d had multi-channel TV, I would have gladly switched over, and if

the technological capabilities of interactive programming had been

available, I would have hastily programmed in a more appealing schedule.

With the latter set to become a reality sometime soon, I wonder how

terrestrial daytime TV will fair.



Maureen Duffy may have been lured from the BBC to wield a budget of

pounds 16.5 million in trying to win back ITV’s daytime viewers but I

believe it will be a thankless task. Although they may deny it,

commercial terrestrial TV channels are more willing to invest money in

peaktime viewing than the backwater which is daytime TV, to the

annoyance of advertisers who are growing increasingly frustrated. I just

hope that interactive TV proves to be the Holy Grail.





anna.griffiths@haynet.com.



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