Thursday, April 02, 2015
Speeding up sitcoms
Eventually this got out of hand. The other station started playing their records at 48. To keep up, the first station began playing them at 49, and all of sudden songs were going out of key, singers were sounding like the chipmunks, and the audience began to notice -- and dislike.
And now television is doing the same thing -- very slightly speeding up the playback of syndicated sitcoms -- not to make them brighter or funnier or enhance them in any way. They're doing it to squeeze in more commercials. TBS and TNT are two culprits. By compressing the show they can add two whole minutes of spots to shows like SEINFELD.
Here's an article from SLATE along with a sample.
Personally, I think this is insidious, and it will prove to be yet another nail in the coffin of broadcast networks. When you can stream SEINFELD, when you can buy SEINFELD, when you can see SEINFELD on local channels, and you know the show is distorted on TBS, why would you watch?
These networks are insulting you, and being patently dishonest. Subliminal advertising is not allowed. Why should this be okay? Are there disclaimers warning viewers that the shows are compressed? When radio was exposed for speeding up records it just sent listeners fleeing to FM and contributed to the downfall of the Top 40 format.
Networks like TBS are mortgaging their future and the future of broadcast television. Is the mistrust of your brand and eventual audience exodus worth the revenue of those two extra minutes? My guess is the people in charge would say yes. They're not going to be in those jobs in five years so what do they give a shit?
So what if they speed up their demise -- by four minutes an hour?