Monday, April 11, 2005

Just what's up with Sky?

I have always been a fan of Greg Dyke, today in The Independent's media review he has written another great comment on Why Sky fails compared to HBO in the US.

"We now know that Dawn Airey, the managing director of Sky Networks, is a great fan of Home Box Office (HBO) - the US cable channel responsible for such outstanding dramas as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City and Band of Brothers. We know this because she told us so in her recent, inspiring Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture, which was broadcast on BBC television. But in her lecture, Airey ducked the real question: why hasn't anything remotely similar to HBO emerged from pay television in Britain?

Airey did claim that such programmes were only possible because of the advent of multi-channel subscription television which is, she says, "liberating the creative genius of the programme maker". Well, it certainly has in the US, where, during the past decade or so, HBO has transformed itself from a channel playing movies and big boxing matches into the cable channel smart people have to have - and pay for - because of the quality of its drama production. But that still doesn't answer the question, why hasn't it happened here?"

Mr Dyke goes on to say that whilst Sky has been creative in News & Sport it has not been so in Drama. He argues quite well that this is becuase Sky is the Monopoly broadcasters and as such has not commissioned Drama because of the production costs.

I have to say that whilst we have had some success with Drama here in the UK most is dire rubbish and with the consumer moving away from broadcast to narrow cast it can only mean more reality TV and UK's Top 100 type cheap broadcasting. The real problem is that we have developed a generation that does not watch TV. Look at young people today and they flick from one channel to another faster than us niddle aged folk and see just what it was that flashed before our eyes. My nephew resently stated life was not worth living during a recent outage of his adsl connection, he watched no TV prefering to game online when not playing music in a local band. Because we as parents have placed TV's & Video Games in childrens bedroom we have failed to educate todays youngster how to watch TV. Thus just like the parents who are killing our kids with too much junk food we are killing TV by not showing our kids the benefits of sitting and watching good television. The only problem is just what is good program making?

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