Lame TV programmes versus the World Cup

Article published on July 10, 2014
Article published on July 10, 2014

This month, football lovers get the best on the TV screen. Yet, what about other view­ers during the same time slot? Well, they can’t find any sat­is­fac­tion. We’ve checked by taking a tour­ of TV pro­grammes around Eu­rope.

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.