(AKA ADSL, which is only broadband in comparison to something very
narrowband, during a thin time on a narrow day) is available to
97% of the UK population? I don’t believe it, as Victor might
And when a
“BT spokesperson” announced this to an audience of City IT
managers recently, they all jeered Meldrew-style, as one. So the
spokesperson adopted the sheepish look of one who was spinning
away as frantically as these modern times seem to require, when
the truth just won’t do. Jo Moore would have been proud.
So why do the
telcos and cable companies suggest that the uptake of broadband
has been slow? Well, the popular response is that the £40/month
fee is too much. In fact, everyone says this the price is the
limiting factor, and only that diehard surfers are willing to
shell out. So let’s look a little closer as this aspect of the
persuades the punters to part with £40 a month? The present
answer appears to be “not a lot”, in terms of passive home
very simplistic, all commercial media exists to do just one thing:
flog advertising. Is it in your interests to use your precious
leisure time to pay to watch commercials..? So if there was a
better way to consume entertainment, would you use it..?
of people (traditionally) carp about paying £112 for a TV
license, millions of households are now paying £350+ pa to Sky,
and demonstrably watching less TV, according to recently released
annual viewing figures. There isn’t 3 times as much time to
watch TV as before, many programmes that get taped are never
watched because the tapers don’t have the time to watch them;
and on the whole the quality of programming is very much of a
Dare I say
it, but the BBC seems to have been getting its act back together
now it is once again being lead by a bruising broadcaster and not
a rather vain accountant; and ITV has been caught on the hop by
the increased availability of better-targeted media. It must be my
age, but I can generally watch BBC from 8pm until midnight every
night and feel like I’ve got my money’s worth.
But when I watch anything but movies on Sky, the too
frequent and too long ad breaks drive many viewers straight to the
zapper, and many fail to return. So here’s the deal – you are
already paying through the nose to Uncle Rupert for Sky, and then
he has the effrontery to steal 15 minutes an hour of your time to
shove commercials at you. If it really costs him that much to run
Sky News, please save the money and cut down on the commercials;
BBC News24 is a much better service now (after a dodgy start) –
and it has no bloody commercials.
outraged by this blatant theft of the one commodity that is truly
irreplaceable – time – that I’m making it my life’s work
to devise a technique to route around those services that not only
charge for the programmes, but also have the brass neck to charge
for the commercials. It
would be handy to take the keys to the cash register away from the
subscription gatekeepers, and hand a range of options for charging
back to the broadcasters – maybe even the programme makers.
Heavens, I think I’ll call this “video on demand”, and I
will deliver it across broadband connections to consumers.
cable TV services that notionally have the means to operate a
“sort of” VOD are having a torrid time, and NTL in particular
is the subject of much morbid speculation concerning its future at
this time. Much of the trouble stems from the fact that the NTL
network is a hotchpotch of various acquisitions with incompatible
customer service aspects of providing such a complex phone and TV
service are raising a many chuckles at BT, who know what customers
are all about over many years, and are only too happy to suggest
to disenchanted cable company users that there is no harm in being
Maybe Sky has
rumbled that it’s only got a short time to make hay before the
punters can actually get a viable home-based broadband “on
demand” pay for what you consume service, and then the viewers
will surely choose to reclaim precious leisure time that is being
surreptitiously stolen by commercials..?
question then becomes, if you watch 12 hours of commercial TV a
week, what would you pay to get back those 3 hours stolen by the
commercials? How much is your time worth? Is your time worth £4
an hour? Employers offering their staff this much will be banged
up for minimum wage irregularity. Complain!
Would I pay
20p an episode to watch a 45 minute show that would otherwise be
padded out with 15 minutes of commercials..? I think I probably
would, and best of all, it would require me to think more
carefully if I actually wanted to watch it in the first place.
That’s 200 hours a month at a £40/month subscription rates. I
couldn’t possibly watch that much TV, could I?
commercial broadcaster will argue that the advertising subsides
the cost of programme making. Well, the BBC turns out a lot of
obviously quite viewable content for around £10 a month, without
If I was a
commercial TV baron, I’d be getting the brown trousers pressed
and the bicycle clips ready. If they think that “times ‘as
been ‘ard” this year with the drop in advertising revenue –
which itself is seeking every more accountable and targeted
outlets, like those available to broadband users – they might
have yet more alarming moments ahead.