So Channel 10 Australia has finally decided to axe the only music program on its network. I'm not surprised, but I am annoyed about some aspects of the reporting coverage of it.
Take a look here at the story from the Sydney Morning Herald.
I'm sure I remember the show starting on air in 1986 (I'm pretty sure that's the show where I discovered the track "Infected" by The The, which was a hit in 1986) playing the top 40 videos of the week, much like Rage on the ABC was doing at the time. Over the years it has changed its format to now include interviews and funky presenters, including one Dylan Lewis, although he is not as edgy and quirky on VH as he was back in the 1990s on the ABC.
I had to laugh when it said that VH was instrumental in assisting the careers of Australian artists like Missy Higgins and Angus & Julie Stone. Umm, I'm pretty sure that there's a think called Triple J radio that got them started somehow, especially in the case of Missy Higgins who won Triple J's Unearthed competition.
So what's the problem here? Would it be a fair assumption to assume that Australians don't consider music an art-form worthy of any serious consideration?
Who were the producers of the show marketing it to? Did they miss their audience demographic?
Are we so blase about music that we can't be bothered watching it on TV?
Has the iPod mentality reduced our consumption of music down into bite-size pieces of our own choosing, thus rendering a 2 hour music show pre-programmed by someone else redundant?
My view is that music programs on commercial TV have always been about the ultra-commercial. The ABC has been prone to this too, with Rage playing top 50 hits every Saturday morning since the show started.* However, targeting music shows on TV has always been risky simply because there's already a number of channels on PayTV who arguably do music programming better, and for longer, plus now we have the Internet, where you can just watch YouTube videos ad nauseum.
So is a music TV show on free-to-air TV really necessary? Given all that, plus the rapidly declining attention spans of viewers means that it's harder and harder to find a ratings-winning format.
For the most part, the ABC provides a tele-visual compliment to the content on radio JJJ at the expense of almost everything else. But then the ABC are not worried about ratings either...
Seeing as though Ten want to ditch the 24 hour HD sport channel OneHD, maybe they could try a 24 hour music channel and see how it stacks up...? Then again, if they've ditched Video Hits after 24 years, that idea will probably float like a brick...
* This ended about 4 years ago when ARIA, the company who issues the sales charts every week, decided they were enough of a recognisable brand name now and wanted to have their own marketable show with their name on it, and refused to give their charts to the ABC for Rage to compile the show. Now, saturday morning Rage is just filled with whatever the hell the programmers felt like selecting at the time.