The Day I Decided to Cut the Cord
I knew I was screwed when I pushed play on the previous night’s new episode of [TV Show I Enjoy Watching]. Instead of the opening/recap of [TV Show I Enjoy Watching], I was watching the last 5 minutes of [TV Show I Have Never Watched]. I fast forwarded through the end of that show and some commercials, noticing the normal 1 hour runtime on the recording. ABC had screwed me again. I thought sportsball season was over? The HashtagShowName bug on the bottom left of the screen was annoying, as was the round full-color ABC logo on the bottom right corner. Neither would have been as bad if they were in the actual corners instead of being where the corners of a 1987 CRT Television screen’s corners would be. They would still be annoying, though, just not as bad. And nowhere near as bad as the huge animated advertisement that popped up later trying to piss me off enough to watch the show that was so important it earned an ad that covered possibly important parts of the show I was currently watching. You know how you get me to watch a show? Step 1: don’t run ads that mess up a show I am currently watching. Seems simple enough to me but I am apparently not the target market for network television.
ABC was doing a good job of ruining [TV Show I Enjoy Watching] for me on their own but then disaster struck. Not actual disaster but the warning of the possibility of disaster. Or snow. Whatever. A few dialog-killing beeps and a ticker was added to the top of the screen (because there was no room left on the bottom of the screen) telling me that it might snow soon in a county 3 hours away. Awesome. “Wait,” a network executive yelled when seeing something new added to the list of crap [TV Show I Enjoy Watching] had to hide behind, “that storm warning is a great opportunity for advertising! Add our logo to the left side of the ticker.” I assume someone in the room had some dignity and common sense so surely someone replied “but that will cover up part of the thing that is so important that we are covering up part of [TV Show I Enjoy Watching], are you sure we want to use that as an excuse to advertise our channel?” To which the idiot in charge said “you’re right! That is brilliant! We should also have other advertising on this storm warning!”
And so it came to pass that the winter storm warning rolling across the top of my screen had the channel logo on the left (so they could pretend their weaponized weather radar had produced this warning as opposed to them copying and pasting the warning from the National Weather Service) and a banner ad for a local business on the right, below but slightly overlapping the ticker. Obviously the idiots in charge of [TV Show I Enjoy Watching]’s network don’t care about television or viewers, that is a given by this point, but who in their right mind thinks sponsoring emergency weather reports is a good idea? Michael and his Sons, apparently. I don’t know who they are or what they do; it is such a lame banner that it doesn’t bother divulging that info, just name and number. I did consider calling to ask what the hell they were thinking.
So at this point, I am starting to think ABC saw the TV screen completely surrounded by flashing ads in Idiocracy and thought “that’s terrible… but I bet people will love it if we add 1/3 as many ads… And maybe we should put them ON the show instead of around it.”
And then, about 55 minutes into [TV Show I Enjoy Watching], right at the climax of the episode, approximately 60 minutes into the recording, the video stopped and my DVR asked if I wanted to delete it. I checked On-Demand and the episode isn’t available. And it doesn’t air again.
It is apparent to me now that the TV networks are in the business of selling ads, not delivering TV shows. Luckily, there are now companies that do make money delivering TV shows.
I checked iTunes and they have it. For $3, I could buy and watch the show whenever I want without any hashtags. Without any animated ads covering the action while peddling a show I will never watch. Without winter storm warnings. Without ad-banners for local companies that had always dreamed of being able to sponsor disasters. Without commercial breaks every 12 minutes. Without advertisements for Channel 9’s weaponized Doppler radar. Without ABC logos. And without missing the final 5 minutes because the station can’t be bothered to stick to their schedule.