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Poor choice of inserted ads possibly asking for FCC intervention?

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by Stewart Vernon, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    The thread about the high audio and the FCC looking into that during commercials made me think... but I didn't want to derail that thread.

    I have Dish, but I know DirecTV and cable does the same thing... some commercial spots are inserted by the provider (Dish/DirecTV/etc.) while others are paid to the channel itself.

    In either case... there's a difference in commercial spots that air during the day, then during primetime, and finally during late night. BUT some shows have airings during the day and again at night. Also, with the advent of DVRs people are sometimes DVRing programs to view at other times.

    I've noticed shows like the Daily Show/Colbert Report and sometimes SportsCenter on ESPN have those "Girls Gone Wild" infomercials during late night repeat airings.

    I don't know if the commercials are inserted by the provider OR by the channel... but I do know that sometimes I DVR the late night repeat because I missed the earlier show OR because of resolving a timer conflict when too many shows come on earlier in the evening.

    Now these ads don't offend me... but consider that someone who might be offended OR who has kids who watches shows that are fine for kids BUT don't expect these kinds of ads. You might DVR SportsCenter to watch the next morning with your kid, for example, and be shocked to see the ads that normally wouldn't air with that show during the day.

    My thinking is that with DVRs and repeat late night airings... the FCC is probably going to have to re-visit their thoughts (though it might not apply to cable/SAT channels) on what "prime time" really means.

    My thought is that IF a show is rated for general audiences, then only commercials rated for a general audience should play during that program. You shouldn't be watching a PG-movie and see a PG-13 commercial during it.

    Anyone else notice or have thoughts about this?
  2. Movieman

    Movieman Hall Of Fame

    May 8, 2009
    I completely agree. I read some article regarding Jay Leno being affected by DVR playback during the evenings. I wouldnt be surprised if our DVR habits are being monitored as consumers to be able to target the right commercial during playback. I do think commercials should be rated based on the programming. If im watching football with my son or daughter I would rather skip all the commercials that discuss erectile dysfunction. But doesnt Tivo have some sort of rights to what information can and cannot be gathered through the dvr?

    Great post.
  3. trainman

    trainman Hall Of Fame

    Jan 9, 2008
    Given some of the things they report on -- bad behavior by athletes, and the like -- I'm not sure I would necessarily consider "Sportscenter" to be safe for kids.

    "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" aren't safe for kids, either, but they properly carry a TV-14 rating. "Sportscenter" is a different story, since sports aren't rated -- but as far as I know, all "V-chip"-equipped devices do allow blocking "not rated" programming.
  4. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

    Jun 6, 2009
    In don't believe commercials are affected by "V-chip" technology. Would be nice though with a special "C" category that could block all commercials, eh?

    Getting into what ads are offensive to some people could be a real mess. Personall, I feel political/campaign ads are far more offensive than "Girls Gone Wild" or adult chat line ads.

    But, then again, I just hit Mute and ignore commercials for the most part anyways.


    FedGov involvement in such things gets sticky in other ways. I'd like to see the FCC take a more active role in limiting the number and content of commercials in general. Some shows are down to about 15 minutes of programming. Some run 2 or 3 minute program segments between 3 minute ad segments.

    I'd like to see them ban the practice of squashing end credits on programs. Different carriers do it different ways. Some squeeze them down so small you can't read them. Others reformat them entirely and run them highly accelerated so you can't read them. Others eliminate them entirely or run them over (under) the beginning of the next program. I know most people don't care who the camera operators or grips are or who does the lighting or sound, but many of us do like to know who played the bit roles. It's fun sometimes to see early roles of actors who later made it big.

    But then we have to ask, how much FedGov involvement do we really want?
  5. IndyMichael

    IndyMichael Legend/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Jan 25, 2003
    Star Trek Voyager airs on Spike at 2am here, and has the girls gone wild ads too, which annoys the hell out of me, as my 9 year old daughter likes to watch it with me.
  6. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    I guess it really stands out to me in light of the CBS wardrobe malfunction experience where people complained and the FCC was going to fine CBS.

    While I agree Sportscenter might not be 100% kid friendly... I would expect if I had a kid I could watch sports with, I could also watch a sports highlight show with the same kid.

    Clearly "they" know not to air those "Gone Wild" commercials in prime time or during the day... but they air them at night during a show that they wouldn't air those spots earlier... and the fact that some shows air earlier without those commercials means someone is paying at least a little attention.

    I need to find some more examples of contrast, because Daily/Colbert aren't shows kids will watch probably... but there's the mixed audience thing.

    You could watch Colbert with your mom... but you probably would not feel comfortable when the "Gone Wild" commercial comes on if you DVR it late-night instead of earlier.
  7. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    That's a better example than I picked... Thanks for that. I haven't watched those in a while because I bought all the DVDs... but that's an even better example than my earlier ones, and ripe for the situation you experience.

    I would expect to be able to DVR Star Trek to watch with my children (if I had any)... but if I have to pre-watch the show for commercial content too... then I'd just not watch it at all unless I owned the DVDs.
  8. bicker1

    bicker1 Hall Of Fame

    Oct 21, 2007
    That being the case, the fault for any embarrassment rests with the subscriber, for two reasons. First: ESPN is cable, and there is no foundation on which to base an assertion that certain commercials are inappropriate at any time under any circumstances, unless they are actionably obscene. Second: Even for broadcast television, where there are standards that are applicable, time-shift shifts all responsibility for this onto the subscriber. What matters, in terms of reasonable expectations, is what time the program was broadcast, not when it is played-back.

    And that's where both the broadcasters' and the FCC's obligations end. Broadcasters don't have an obligation to make DVR use more convenient (and not only because it is one of the major sources of their projected, imminent destruction). And the FCC have a responsibility to weigh all sides of the issue, and what they're doing now reflects a balancing of the various sides' interests.

    Again, what you're taking about here pertains to over-the-air broadcast, not cable.
  9. bicker1

    bicker1 Hall Of Fame

    Oct 21, 2007
    I think the point made, though, was that the commercial in question was broadcast during a program without a rating. I just confirmed this myself. No rating. As such, there is no legitimate reason to believe the program, itself, complies with any standards of content except the most basic standards, much less its commercials.

    Hehe... just imagine the programming that would be justified by the revenue broadcasters could earn if commercials were so easy to skip.

    That's a great point. Generally, commercials do comply with even the most stringent content standards. They often engage in innuendo, which the adults would interpret (correctly) in a salacious manner, but the innuendo would go over the heads of the children for whom content ratings are intended to protect, and as such the commercials would pass inspection. I haven't see the "Girls Gone Wild" ads, so they could be an exception (but it doesn't matter, for the reasons mentioned above), but I do know that the ED commercials would be Rated TV-G, if it came to that.

    I don't think anything could be "stickier" than that. These are for-profit businesses... a lot of them, not just one or two. The market should govern the number and duration of commercials, and should only be getting involved in regulating content to serve a legitimate purpose of government, such as protecting inadequately-supervised children.

    I'd like to see an elimination of end credits on programs, replaced by a reference that you can access the credits by going to a local library and accessing a specific website. We each have our own preferences in this regard. Again, such preferences aren't overriding -- the contractual obligations between talent, producers and broadcasters, and the forces of the marketplace, are. When the contracts don't require something specific, broadcasters do, and should do, what viewers reward the most.

    And how much interference is fair and justified by legitimate assertions of service to all aspects of the public good, including the priority to foster employment through economic activity.
  10. jaallen00

    jaallen00 New Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    My 4yr sometimes sits and watches Football with me on CBS. There have been several time where the commercials for CSI and NCIS have been WAY too graphic for her. Its 1 in the afternoon and there is blood splater and pooling on the ground... Now I have to make sure her eyes are covered during any CBS commericials. Luckily the erectile issues commercials just go over her head.

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