Do you the remember the promises made at the birth of the multichannel age?
Those of us who grew up with just three or four channels were promised new, high quality content which couldn’t fit onto the mixed purpose channels offered by the traditional broadcasters.
Dedicated documentary, movie and sports channels plus specialist outlets such as SyFy certainly deliver on those promises but what about the two traditional broadcasters, the BBC and ITV?
Glancing through the digital schedules for both is a pretty underwhelming experience.
With the exception of the occasional gem like Being Human (which could just as easily air on BBC One), BBC Three seems to exist on a diet on unambitious, dumbed down chav-fodder such as the MILF showcase ‘Hotter Than My Daughter‘.
It is the TV channel for looters and unambitious girls who want to be publicly cheated on by lower division footballers.
Meanwhile the migration of anything needing a braincell to BBC Four has left BBC Two serving up a rotating rosta of almost identikit panel shows.
ITV’s digital offerings aren’t any better. Wannabe WAGs, rejected pop stars and cheap imports continue to diminish the brand of a broadcaster which one created truly world class dramas.
Still, those of us who miss the golden days of ITV can at least switch over to ITV3 where, apparently unashamed by the bilge it airs on the main channel, ITV still showcases its past hits.
Tragically for the broadcaster, but luckily for we viewers, little that ITV currently produces will be repeated 30 years from now so as I enter my eighth decade I’ll still be able to enjoy repeats of Cracker, Minder and The Sweeney.
Of course, it’s not just ITV which uses digital channels to milk the last vestiges of value from decade-old shows. The BBC’s commercial arm co-owns some of the UK’s biggest digital repeats channels.
Whereas the likes of Sky have spun gold from their digital offerings, the BBC and ITV seem to have created a ‘bouquet of channels’ which merely drain cash away from their biggest outlets.
Considering the number of repeats and omnibus episodes on both, is it really possible to argue that BBC One and ITV 1 wouldn’t be better off if their digital siblings were shut down and the cash instead invested in the sort of shows both broadcasters rightly used to be so proud of?