Channel Ten cheating on content?

How do you squeeze in more ads into a one-hour program? Channel Ten's found a cunning way.

I came across this phenomenon when watching Burn Notice for the first time on Ten a few nights ago. Something just didn't sound right -- everyone's voice was slightly higher. I played the US source against Channel Ten to make sure I wasn't going insane.

I was right. Everything was slightly higher. This is typically caused by the source being played faster, like when you hit the "2x" button on an audio tape and hear chipmunks.

The source was indeed being played faster; gaining about 10 seconds in 5 minutes, by my estimates. That's about 1.04 times the speed of the original source -- equating to Channel Ten being able to squeeze in around two more minutes of advertising.

You can only really do this with a new show, like Burn Notice. After all, most of the Australian Audience has never seen it before, and so doesn't know what the actors' voices sound like, or what key the opening theme is in. You certainly couldn't do it with a show like The Simpsons. You've heard the opening theme thousands of times, and more than a few people will notice that it's now in C# Major, instead of C Major.

I guess I can see where Channel Ten is coming from. Content doesn't earn money. Advertisements earn money. But where do you draw the line? Playing shows at 1.5 times the speed, to squeeze in half an hour of ads?

Is this just another example of commercial television stations taking Australian viewers for granted? Will Australian consumers just give up completely on commercial television?


Submitted by Dave on Wed 03/09/2008 - 15:29

A 4% speedup could also be caused by the NTSC to PAL conversion -- a common practise with film, I'm not sure about TV though.