Despite TV channels scoring record audiences by broadcasting the FIFA 2014 Brazil World Cup, other viewers are not that fond of soccer. What could be the alternative to satisfy viewers witnessing the invasion of football matches longer than 90 minutes and comments on their favourite channels? Taking a tour of TV programmes around Europe is a necessary evil to understand the matter.
In France, several matches were broadcast in the evening, the peak time for TV audiences. Let’s look at the first match of France versus Honduras, airing at 9 p.m. on the French channel TF1. Honestly, there was enough to complain about for a female audience especially when France 2, the second-ranking French channel recording the highest audience figures, screened Bride Wars, the silliest movie in American film history. Of course, the title sounded as ridiculous as the movie. Was that a reference to women? More a rude one. It’s easy to foresee the category of programmes scheduled by France 2 as a 'girly' alternative to football matches, wrongly guessing women, like men watching a football match, would gather to watch two brides-to-be having a cat fight. To top it all off, France 2 didn’t allow viewers to watch the original version of that work-of-art with subtitles: viewers — that is, female viewers — were doomed.
Bride Wars Trailer
Telecinco channel, part of Médiaset group (with Silvio Berlusconi as main shareholder), was granted the rights to broadcast the World Cup throughout Spain. That was a wonderful opportunity for the channel which saw a major rise of audience figures in June. As proof, the match where Spain played against Chile, broadcast on June 18, gathered 13.2 million viewers. But what was main competitor Antena 3 proposing at the same time slot? It broadcast general public show Me resbala hosted by the famous comedian Arthuro Valls, an equal to Graham Norton Show on BBC. The theme: celebrities have to win challenges in comical situations (viewers should have a great sense of humour to watch it).
“Me resbala” video clip
As for Germany, the country didn’t seem versed in alternatives for the 'general public'. When Nationalmannschaft faced Algeria on June 30 at 10 p.m., the most viewed German public channel ARD decided to broadcast a documentary related to methamphetamine, focused on customs crossing at the German-Czech border. The title, however, was as crystal-clear as it was catchy: “Crystal Meth Horror Drug”. No wonder second ranking nGerman public channel ZDF broke a historical 85.1 % record of audience share, the best score ever in Eastern Europe.
In Italy, all the matches were broadcast at 6 p.m., not the right time for prime time. Moreover, there wasn’t any real change in TV programmes on main competing channels RAI1, RAI2 and channel 7. Two police dramas were aired: 'Inspector Rex' or the love linking a German shepherd to his detective-owner, and 'Midsomer Murders'. The best mark goes to Canale 5, one of the channels owned by Berlusconi, which didn’t broadcast the awaiting episodes of 'Il Segreto' (The secret), fearing the sentimental TV series fans would lend towards the national team. It instead showed a special programme focused on TV series 'Aspettando il sì' (Awaiting Wishes), a summary gathering the best of previous episodes leading to the two main characters’ wedding, Pepa and Tristan.
George Clarke's Amazing Spaces - Intro
Last but not least, on June 19 at 8 p. m. when the United-Kingdom faced Uruguay, there was prime time programme on ITV. The alternative was successful. Channel 4 and BBC 4 showed two documentaries related to architecture: that night, classy George Clarke who turns narrow rooms into cosy spaces with life for free, paid a visit to Ollie, a biker who wished to convert a double decker into a movable hotel. In the last episode of 'The Ships That Made the Commonwealth', you could also admire the magnificence of a Royal Navy battleship, the Great HMS Hood in Glasgow.
In conclusion: you can decently miss any programme but the World Cup, that couldn’t make football lovers any happier. The others should start loving football as well.