Open Correspondence With Channel Seven

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 12:01 PM

One of my biggest qualms about the state of Australian television is that the three commercial networks are more increasingly (over about the past five years or so) running programmes overtime, particularly in primetime. Let's face it, if the commercial TV stations were running metropolitan train services, the Government would have fined them so heavily that they wouldn't be able to run a cost-effective business. Channel Seven, from my obsevations, seem to be the worst culprit, so about a month ago, I wrote a letter to Channel Seven's General Enquires office (I would have prefered email, but apparently Seven don't do general enquiries by email, surprising considering they're in partership with Yahoo) :
I was hoping you could satisfy my curiosity.

Is there a standard practice with Seven's programme scheduling that pushes most programmes 7-10 minutes later than the advertised starting time, thus making switching to a rival station after a Seven show an unsavoury option as rival programming has already long since commenced?

Or is this phenomenon simply a side-effect of staff ineptitude?

Yours Etc.
J. Statler, Esq.
Weeks passed, and I forgot about my harsh-but-fair enquiry. And then today, I finally recieved my reply.
Dear Mr Statler,

We recieved your recent undated letter.

We acknowledge that programs (sic) can occasionally start several minutes after the advertised time and you will find this across the board with all commercial networks. The scheduled timing vary slightly due to timing issues throughout the day.

We appreciate you taking the time to write to us. Letters such as yours are a valuable source of viewer insight into viewer attitudes and concerns.

Yours Faithfully,
He raises a valid point in suggesting that all commercial stations do it, but I knew that already, and it sounds like the type of "Everyone else is doing it" excuse that a twelve year old boy uses when he's been caught smoking behind the shelter sheds. Overall, the reply is played with such a straight bat it would have made Don Bradman proud. And my question wasn't answered. Why does this have to happen? If the Government networks can run to advertised times, if community radio stations can run to time, then why can't a large corporation with millions of dollars run to their own schedule?

I'm considering writing a more in-depth response. Watch this space. Thoughts on the issue are more than welcomed.
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