TV = dead
Hob-nobbing with the great and good of the broadcast industry, I learned one thing that should sink the heart of anybody who watches television in this country: product placement is coming, and sooner than you think.
Technology marches on, and the fact is that we don't like watching adverts, so we skip them. Especially if they're all for ring-tones or of the badly-dubbed Italian variety, and with Personal Video Recorders (which is the posh name for a Sky+ box) we can do just that.
Advertisers are rightly pissed off about this whole state of affairs, after all, why bother paying for a 30-second spot on Coronation Street if no-one's going to bother watching it? ITV and the other commercial channels are crapping themselves as well- how do they exist without their major source of income? Result: pleas to broadcast regulator Ofcom for product placement. They're thinking about it, but received wisdom is that the answer will be "yes".
Well, it's going to be crap, isn't it? Same cars, same brands of coffee, and-now-a-message-from-our-sponsors. It'll be The Truman Show, only made by ITV, with celebrities, and it'll be crud.
But think how easily the whole concept can be corrupted. One well-placed Durex placement in a soap opera could kill off an entire storyline. And some manufacturer of pick-axe handles could quite easily insist a few of their best goods are left lying round the Trisha studio "just in case, like".
It is our duty then, to do what we must whenever a shitty idea like this rears its ugly head: laugh at it, long and hard.