MARKETING MIX: HOBBY HORSE; An addiction for news makes me suffer CNN blues

It’s not been easy to stop myself writing about the horrors of charter airlines this week, but you’ll be relieved to know that I’ve done it. So you won’t be treated to a diatribe about travel companies that treat customers like cattle on the grounds that once they’ve separated them from their money nothing else matters.

It’s not been easy to stop myself writing about the horrors of charter

airlines this week, but you’ll be relieved to know that I’ve done it. So

you won’t be treated to a diatribe about travel companies that treat

customers like cattle on the grounds that once they’ve separated them

from their money nothing else matters.



Instead, let’s talk about another experience from my recent, cheap but

cheerful holiday: CNN. I hate to bring this up, but am I the only person

in the world who thinks it’s well-nigh unwatchable?



Now I know that the last thing I should be doing on holiday is watching

TV, but I’m hopelessly trapped in the spiral of information overload.



Terrified that I might miss something which could change my life, I

listen to the Today Programme on the way to work, read the papers when I

get there, check the wires a couple of times a day and look out for News

at Ten in the evening. And that’s just on the days when nothing much

happens.



It is, I suppose, a cheaper addiction than, say, cocaine, but it can

lead to similar degradations.



Scouring Spanish newsagents and coming away with a day-old copy of The

Sun, for example, or trying to decipher local news programmes more

impenetrable than anything The Fast Show ever came up with.



In the end, I’m afraid, I succumbed to the inevitable and ended up

watching CNN on cable. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, if you have the

attention span of a gnat on methedrine. For the rest of us, it’s

irritating in ways too numerous to mention - but I’ll try.



First, let’s talk about promo trailers. Why was my attempt to watch the

news interrupted every two minutes by a lengthy trailer explaining that

what I should have been doing was watching CNN? This is less preaching

to the converted than hitting them over the head with a large mallet.



Second, what about those advertorial listings of Partner Hotels. Am I

expected to rush to the drawer for a pencil and paper to write down

their names - or refuse to book into the George V until I’m sure I’ve

seen it appear for three seconds in a CNN break?



Third, those commercials. Blimey, they do go on a bit, and blimey, they

are dull. We can only hope there’s a species of business traveller who

finds them compelling.



For all its supposed usefulness to World Leaders at times of crisis, CNN

rather strikes me as a string of promo videos kept apart by little bits

of editorial.



It is, dare I say, a great example of what happens when no one’s minding

the advertising minutage.



This is something of a revelation for the free-marketeer in me, but two

weeks enforced viewing left me with two resolutions: to thank God for

the BBC, and to man the barricades against the idea of an extra minute

of advertising every hour on terrestrial TV.



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