There seems to be a trend for documentary channels like Discovery, National Geographic and History to focus on “sensationalist” shows these days.
I am referring to the seemingly endless parade of shows about war (human wars, animal wars…), weaponry, fighting/combat skills, people blowing things up (in the name of learnings of course), daredevil biologists doing rude things to unsuspecting animals (leave it be – just you remember what happened to Steve Irwin), fast cars, big trucks, and of course a troupe of cost-iron-stomached getting into weird foods.
There is nothing wrong with these shows per se. But the alternatives have noticeably decreased over the last two years.
This is presumably aimed at attracting a younger, testosterone-fuelled audience that is increasingly looking loud and overtly “excitementing” stimulation-overload wham-bam short term wows; versus anything “quieter” or with more depth and opportunities for reflective thought.
I can’t blame them for trying of course. TV channels, like most businesses, are driven by the real need to make a profit. And as with most businesses, they fall into the trap of doing what has worked before, or doing what their market research (again, looking at the past) tells them they should do.
The more channels we have, the less choice we have. And the less differentiation. I can no longer tell the difference between Discovery, National Geographic or History. This same trend is also clearly visible in most sectors of our consumerist lives - we have more apparent choice in the form of shallow brand-only differentiation. But we actually have less.
This trend cannot be heading towards a good end. I reckon these channels will merge – assuming they are not already owned by the same people.
It’s ok, my cable TV subscription has ended and I won't be renewing.