It makes you wonder 

24 June 2008 tbs.pm/916

Digital Spy: BBC phasing out quarter-size credits

As somehow befitting a modern broadcaster, it’s taken a while but they got there in the end, namely that someone within the BBC has finally realised that the recently-imposed corporate end credit promotion style (you know, the one where the credits get shrunk into a tiny box to make way for details of six programmes you don’t care about) just wasn’t satisfactory.

A fair number of complaints came from members of the public who couldn’t read the end credits when they were squeezed, but presumably a more persuasive voice on the issue came from actors’ union Equity who has campaigned against this sort of thing on behalf of its members.

It’s good news that the relevant parts of the BBC have finally seen sense and decided to axe the wretched thing (look at Channel 4 to see how to do essentially the same thing a whole lot better), as opposed to just playing around with the credit text size (an interim idea floated back in February) that obviously wasn’t the answer to the problem.

However the very fact that the BBC marketing department is now quickly backpedaling on something that was designed only last year with the assistance of licence fee payers’ money is rather worrying. Take this quote from Helen Kellie who’s head of marketing:

“We also want to improve legibility so we will phase out the quarter page of end credits. And finally we are simplifying the messages we include in the end credits and making them feel less busy”.

Bear in mind that this is the head of the very same marketing department that presumably helped to design that overly busy, ill-conceived and badly planned mess of an end credit promotion (ECP) layout in the first place.

And you just have consider the effectiveness of a command structure that allowed a marketing department to impose its will on an important subdivision (namely that of presentation) without any form of constructive feedback unless they were perhaps too scared to say anything because they feared for their jobs.

Half of me was hoping that the individuals responsible for that disaster were shown the door as part of Mark Thompson’s recent staff clearout, but something tells me that this may not have been the case. This example just proves what can go wrong when marketing messes up big time and nobody had the bottle to simply say “No”.

Alternatively you could take the view that in the world of modern broadcasting it is automatically assumed that “the marketing department knows best”, therefore any and all recommendations from that department end up being rubber-stamped without anyone cross-checking them. Because their surveys prove that they’re always right. Right?

Wrong.