Friday, January 18, 2008

Infomercials and Specialty Cable

I am a bit of an insomniac sometimes, so I was up around 3 AM last night, and when I am in that state, well, I generally start flicking around the dial, and I often stop on Canada's equivalent of the Cartoon Network, Teletoon...

...and they were showing an infomercial for the Magic Bullet.

Say what?

I'm sorry but really, if I tune into a station that is called Teletoon, should I not expect to see cartoons? I'm I wrong here? I mean, that is the mandate that they've gone on the air with. And I don't care that it was 3 in the morning. If you say that you are a network for animation, and you aren't providing that, well, you aren't doing your job.

Now, I am totally understanding when a local network does it... because there is no network programming that they are required to show, and well, usually they are smaller privately owned operations and don't have people or corporations with billions of dollars behind them, and they don't make the claim that they are in the business of showing you a particular type of programming. Oh, and I am not paying for the privilege of viewing their channel, how can I forget that little bit of information.

So when a specialty cable channel does it, well, I feel like I am getting gypped, because in general, they are part of a larger media conglomerate which set up that network with a specific audience in mind. I realize that the viewers of CNBC may buy a certain multi-celebrity endorsed skin cream if you show one of their infomercials, and that there are viewers of The Learning Channel who may buy miraculous knives on a Wednesday evening, but I still think that this practice is shady at best. As a subscriber, I have been sold a bill of goods that says that you show a certain kind of programming, and as a viewer, well, I am willing to accept a wide berth for what your definition of said programming is.

But when these stations show general infomercials, well, that is going a step too far. I'd still be a little irked if for example that program last night was for an anthology of old cartoons on DVD, but in my mind that would have been a little more acceptable, and I probably wouldn't be writing this today.

In my mind, infomercials and specialty cable channels should be mutually exclusive concepts, and never the twain shall meet. Well, except in the case of the shopping networks... because they are telling you exactly what you are getting, and that is real truth in advertising.


SamuraiFrog said...

We actually don't have infomercials on Cartoon Network anymore, but we do have them on a lot of other specialty channels (especially on Sci Fi). It says a lot about the type of advertisers they really get. In the realm of 60+ years of TV history, Sci Fi can't do 24 hours of programming?

MC said...

Well, here is the messed up thing about the situation I am describing too... there are so many cartoons available that there is a spinoff network called Teletoon Retro... and yet I am expected to believe that they can't keep the original station packed full to the brim with cartoons?

Though I can honestly say that I've never seen an infomercial on our country's take on the Sci-Fi Channel, Space... or come to think of it, even on its digital cousins Scream or Drive In Classics. I'd like to say the people in charge of all three have their act together, but I know that isn't the case.