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August 24, 2007


David Houser

It's been a while since I've seen Taxi - I do remember enjoying it occasionally - but I would definitely need Happy Days to be interrupted by something to sit through 23 minutes of it. It seems to me that if I had to watch something mediocre it would be improved by being broken down into little bits.


Wouldn't it have made more sense to have done this experiment with a BBC show written as a half-hour unit, or a sports event, rather than an American show specifically written in a two-act structure designed around the ad break? The ads in "Happy Days" or "Taxi" aren't "interruptions" any more than the interval in a play is.


You know you're in trouble, Mr D, when D^2 makes more sense than you do.

Ken Houghton

Should have run the test the way we do in the States: commercials thrown in randomly, scenes deleted to make room for more commercials, and--as dsquared notes--rhythms thrown off to sell M/a/r/a/t/h/o/n/ Snickers bars, get-rich-trading-real-property schemes, slasher films that will open Friday and close Monday, feminine hygiene products, and other goods not related to what was just shown, but rather the perceived demographic for the show (in this case, one assumes humourless Boomers with one foot in the grave).

We get Doctor Who here in two versions: the public stations are running Billie Piper's two seasons with no commercials and the "Behind the Scenes" looks after, and the "Sci-Fi" Channel, with Freema Agyerman, a multitude of commercials and no indication of the "Behind the Scenes" looks. (Which are, of course, something of an advert themselves, but at least appropriate for the show.)

We watch Piper, but TiVo Agyerman.

dave heasman

"two random groups of students "

I don't watch TV in the way that a group of students does. At least I don't until someone proves that I do.

"LizardBreath" on Unfogged makes good points on this. None of the social science surveys that rely on responses from groups of students are really worth half a pitcher of warm spit.

Andrew Duffin

I am all in favour of the BBC showing adverts.

Just as long as they don't get to dip their hands in my pockets as well.

Andrew Duffin

I am all in favour of the BBC showing adverts.

Just as long as they don't get to dip their hands in my pockets as well.


Perhaps we should introduce breaks into other joyous activities to slowdown adaptation...'sorry, honey, I think we should stop for a tea break, you know, to maximise our utility'.

I don't think it's adverts that are good for us, but breaks themselves, an important distinction. Indeed, skipping adverts gives me much joy because I am saving 15-20 for each hour of viewing, and because I know other folk are sitting through them (that's relative happiness at work!). If I am watching a live prog with adverts, I often use the breaks to watch 4min segments of a DVD or pre-recorded prog...I find watching two shows at the same time works a treat, even though it sounds quite painful.


But the Beeb already carries advertisements between programmes -- it just advertises its own products instead of other people's.

joe bloggs

They really should have done it with a programme that someone under 40 would actually voluntarily watch

I think i would need an adbreak in a taxi episode, just to stop me from slitting my wrists.


Only an advertising moron (I mean exec) would say ads were good for anyone. Here in Italy, on Burlusconi's Canale 5 and Italia 1, a ninety minute film takes well over two hours to watch because of incessant advertising. It's neither fun nor funny. And far from making it all more interesting it breaks up the continuity, atmosphere and suspense if any, and makes it all a bit of a struggle. The trouble is it's a mistake to think that tv exists for anyone's entertainment or edification. It's primary purpose, with the exception of the BBC, is a platform for advertising. The programmes are merely an inducement to watch the advertising.

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