OPINION: Awards Ceremonies and Client Surveys Take a Lot of Believing

Article excerpt

A very odd thing happened in the past week or so. There was the Montreux Golden Rose Festival where the Brits swept the board in the entertainment stakes - not just the BBC or ITV, but Channel 4 as well.

The only party pooper was Channel 5. Perhaps the channel's entertainment is too sophisticated to be generally appreciated across Europe. Or maybe it's a question of trying just that little bit harder when it gets Bertelsmann to release some more funds.

But you would have to say the overall performance was a tribute to creativity in the British television industry.

Yet a few days earlier out popped a report proving that the UK's programme-makers are so incompetent that they are boring viewers rigid; and that 50% of them found the last programme they watched so unmemorable that they could scarcely remember what it was.

How can you possibly reconcile the two things? Do the ungrateful viewers need to be shown some Swedish, German or Swiss entertainment to make them have a better appreciation of when they are well off?

The apparent dichotomy is, of course, a false one. There are dodgy awards ceremonies and there are equally strange surveys of public opinion.

The fact that British programmes took exactly two-thirds of the awards at Montreux does not mean that British programmes are at least 66% better than anyone else's. Even such an august body as the Royal Television Society failed to mark the obvious quality of The Blue Planet, just as the Sony's ignored the ground-breaking BBC Voices of Britain project for 2000. …