Posted by Jarsto in Media
January 2nd, 2009 | 4 Comments »

I’ve been looking back at 2008 recently. During my annual wake of course, but also during other moments. And one of the things that I realised is this: I’ve seen almost no TV commercials for a year now. I haven’t watched a lot of TV, and I’ve gotten good at avoiding the commercials when I do (some sort of sixth sense allows me to hit mute at pretty much the right time, and come back without missing too much, having done something else during the actual commercial break).

But the main reason I haven’t seen a lot of commercials isn’t that I’ve gotten so good at avoiding them when I watch TV. The main reason really is that I just don’t watch a lot of TV. What I do watch tends to be BBC a lot, which doesn’t really have commercials, so that’s a further bonus, but the main change, just over a year ago now, was that I re-evaluated what I would and wouldn’t watch on TV.

The basic premise when I sat down to take another good look (if you’ll pardon the pun) at my TV habits was this: would I miss a show enough to record it if I couldn’t be home during an airing, all shows that didn’t meet this basic criterion were immediately axed. Then I decided to go a step further: if my recording failed for some reason, would I mind enough to start trying to download it. Again all shows that garnered a “well if I actually need to spend time looking for it…” got the chop.

I was left with surprisingly little TV too watch once I’d applied those two, and over time I’ve refined it a bit further. I will still watch some shows that don’t make the grade, just as background filler, but about the only place I’ll watch them is the BBC, because there at least I can watch them without commercials. It’s not hard and fast, but it doesn’t need to be to cut out an awful lot of more or less useless time spend in front of the telly. Which gives me more time to find interesting stuff online, or to read (not that I’ll ever have enough time to allow me to read everything I would like to, but at least this allows me to come a little closer than I would otherwise).

4 Responses to “Why I Don’t See Commercials”

  1. Starstuff Says:

    I can’t actually recall the last time I watched TV. Granted, I visited friends over the holidays and they had the TV switched on, but other than that? I think 2008 was pretty much TV-less for me.

    My reasoning was: most stuff that interests me originates either from the UK or from the US, so why on Earth should I watch in in German? That immediately eliminates about 90% of the TV program. BBC I don’t get, unfortunately, and I also don’t get Phoenix, which runs good documentations as well.

    As for the rest … well, there’s not much to miss and I noticed on the rare occasions I switched on the TV (metaphorically speaking, as I don’t have one) that the state channels (ARD, ZDF etc) for which I am required to pay by law have often time so bad programs, not to speak of politically and morally incorrect shows, that I rather spend my time with something – anything – else.

    The stuff that interests me gets rented or bought on DVD. That keeps me satisfied enough.

  2. Jarsto Says:

    If it wasn’t for the fact that in NL we do get BBC 1 and 2 on cable I’m not sure I’d be watching much of anything either. Probably just speedskating – the one sport I actually watch. I did actually watch some German TV during the holidays though, to be specific “Dinner For One” on New Year’s Eve. But that gets broadcast in English, so it doesn’t matter that it’s on German TV.

  3. Starstuff Says:

    I don’t believe it, I MISSED ‘Dinner for one’ this year! *Starstuff runs off to find an old recording*

  4. I watch very little tv myself, and I find, as Jarsto, the BBC 1, 2, 3 and 4 (I got digital, no extra cost) more or less the only thing I watch – and not too much of that either.
    I was visiting a neighbour here in DK and saw a few minutes of “Dinner for One” – yes it is also tradition in DK – and yes – it is extremely well done.

    Happy New Year

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