Thursday, 21 August 2008

X-factor, truth's enemy

I'm sure it will have escaped your notice (because TR readers have better things to do with their lives), but the new series of X-Factor has hurled its obese lazy carcass on to our screens again.

The current series is at the stage still deemed acceptable by those who should know better - the bit where we all laugh at the 'rejects'.

'Hmm,' I hear you ponder, 'why put 'quotes' around the word reject? surely they are rejects plain and simple no need to put '' around it?'

The thing is, they aren't the show's real rejects. they have got further than thousands of others, who will have been turned away, not by Simon Cowell or Sheryl Cole, but by some unknown member of the ITV production team.

This is not shocking, its fairly obvious when you look at the sheer numbers involved, but it is a long way from the consciousness of most viewers.

It would seem (and this is backed up by a friend of a friend who tried out for the show) that you get put into three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

This is fairly obvious, those who are apparently talented.

The Bad

Not that good at singing in a boring way.

The Ugly

These are the idiots that are so bad they are funny, I have little doubt that most of these are fully aware of how stupid they look but are so desperate to get on TV they exaggerate their foolishness, to guarantee 5 mins in front of Cowell and the camera's .

Obviously only the good and the the ugly get anywhere near the celebrity judges.

This in its self is not what make it so terrible. It's the awful cut aways of judges reactions and their staged 'fallouts'. The even more staged bits in the lobbys

But Charlie Brooker, who I do not always agree with, puts it brilliantly here, far better than I could:

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

When not to use video?

A change made to this story on the BBC today started me thinking after I linked to it twice at different times.

The earlier edition - at around lunch time had a video at the top showing the cute girl miming, later - around 5pm this had changed and was replaced by a picture (it has since been changed again with two pics side side by side and the video lower down the page).

What are the possible reasons behind this?

Do they have to pay to use the footage? No, the corporation paid up front for some kind of package.

The only thing I can think of is, because the BBC were the sole British broadcasters of the ceremony (and the whole Olympics as this left of centre media love-in demonstrates), they have put alot into the promotion, idents and so on, and they dont want to take the shine off one of the main aspects too much.

They couldn't pull the whole story, as that would be a bit 'China', so to speak.

But they didn't, or someone there didn't, want to make too big a thing of it. It's something that everyone is talking about - everyone is impressed so maybe its a good idea not to worry about it too much.

Anyway, Just a (conspiracy?) theory.

Would like to hear your's...

Also be interesting to hear if you know of any technical/asthetic/journalistic reasons for taking video off a story generally?

  • As I write this the story is on BBC Newsnight - which may pour some water on my theory, but was it on the main news?

It still doesnt't answer the question why take the video off the site in the first place?

Fit me into your schedule?

Two great articles in the NY times over the opening weekend of the Olympics.

The first, from Brian Stelter's TV Decoder blog, explains why NBC's attempt to time shift the Olympic opening ceremony for US citizens worked to a certain degree, but pissed a lot of people off.

Only a few people were able to watch any of the amazing (if a little candied (I hearby trademark the use of the term candied - meaning to lie and/or fake parts of an already impressive story or event to make everything seem a little more exciting/perfect.)) events unfold live via a small number of live streams.

It couldn't be called a failure though, as an average of 34.2 million Americans waited until they were home from work and plonked themselves in front of the TV for the 4 hour ceremony.

As Stelter points out many preferred to see it all in full HD glory than on a pokey 240 pixel wide window.

The second story from David Carr refers to Stelter's post but he points out that in the TiVo (Sky+ in the uk - or should that be generic digital hard drive recording facility?!) and internet age, it's the audience that chooses the schedule not the broadcasters.

He links it with a problem faced by many web editors attached to traditional newspapers - the holding of news from the web to retain value at the newspaper. But as he points out:

'If the future of our business is online, then why set up a firewall, delaying the best content to protect a legacy product?'
He also puts forward an interesting theory on the future of print news.

'The horizon line for when a newspaper on the street is serving as a kind of brochure of a rich online product does not seem far off.'

Does anyone have anymore on this concept - I can see it working in London with all the commuters getting tit-bits of news on the Tube before checking out the full stories when they get in to work.


Sorry for the lack of recent posts, my new job sees me sat in front of a CMS for most of the day and is far too similair to blogging to do that the rest of the time!

On the plus side my blogging skills (or should that be skillz) will soon start to see a marked improvement!

I feel I can also blame the silly season being in full swing for my lack of post action, the 'stories' are so inane at the minute they're are not even worth my wrath!

Thank god for China and Russia!