Thursday, December 14, 2006

Radio Times

I bought the Christmas edition of the Radio Times yesterday. I’ve been buying it for years along with the RTE Guide , though in recent years I’ve dropped the Guide realizing at last that I now make little use of either magazine. So I have an important question for you this dark wet morning. What’s the future for “bumper TV guides to your holiday viewing” in the age of utube? They sell in great numbers , but are they now more decoration than practical? Part of that dream that you will batten down the hatches while the snow falls outside and you settle down to watch a “feast of Christmas movies” Movies that you most probably own on DVD anyway. Still, it’s very hard not to pick up the Radio Times with its Christmas cover all aglow with promises. (there is by the way a web site showing all the Christmas covers going back to 1923!

Most TV Guides will probably survive for a good while yet , continuing along the route they have taken, becoming lifestyle magazines. It’s difficult though to see any long term future for the listing function unless they find some way to make it wider and more active, something that is hard to do on the printed page. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing printed web links and not being able to click on them. Anyway, for those of us who came of age in the 1970s and 80s, the glory days of “bumper TV”guides, we will I think continue to buy the Christmas Radio Times , if we haven’t gone abroad for the holiday. But it’s now probably more like a Christmas card from a relative who you feel is getting on a bit now , but who you hope will live for many years yet.

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