Sunday, 10 January 2016

Fave Five: EVERYTHING Wrong with BET

You got me? More like you gotta be kidding me? I've got five reasons why the likes of Being Mary Jane and Real Husbands of Hollywood have become too good for the black MTV.

1) Horrible Presentation
Promotional graphics and bugs are common, but BET took it way too far in 2015 when their promotional graphics for original programming began taking up 1/3 of the screen! I thought Teletoon, Space and The Comedy Network had it bad, but this just takes it to another level of annoying. Also, what is up with cable networks overdoing the promotional material? Isn't it enough that you aired a promo, have banners on your website, put ads in subways and newspapers, and left a sticky note next to your logo bug? I know you're trying to grab attention, but come on!

Oh, and the rest of BET's graphics are awful. The block logo and branding do not mesh up well together. As soon as BET gets their shit together, they need a makeover.

2) Recycled Programming
It's fine if that show you like is airing on two networks, but are you really going to subscribe to a third network you wouldn't normally watch just you can see that same show again? If no, then why do you believe it was a good idea for Nickelodeon, VH1, and BET to air The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Yeah, that's right. It wasn't a good idea. Recycling shows doesn't work, not if that show airs on a bunch of other networks. It's a lazy ratings grab. Plain and simple.

If you're already subscribed to MTV2, which also airs Martin, and VH1 or Nick, which airs the aforementioned Fresh Prince, and you aren't interested in BET's original programming, you're more likely to check out the competition then a network that airs the same shows as the ones you're already subscribed to.

Whether you like or hate the show, picking up House of Payne was a step in the right direction.

The Canadian feed is shit. Half of BET's programming, mainly the recycled shows, are blacked out. At the time, I thought it was due to programming rights since The Fresh Prince is airing on Canadian networks. However, Martin doesn't air in Canada, yet I can't watch that show on BET. You know what else? The Jamie Foxx Show and The Wayans Bros. don't air in Canada either and I used to able to watch them on BET's feed. But, as of late, they've been blocked out too!

My guess is that Viacom is protesting Canada's pick-and-pay revolution by gating off full access to their properties. As of 2014, they've geo-blocked Spike TV's website, so you need to use a VPN. But because Viacom is Viacom and (as any YouTuber will tell you) they're a bunch of assholes, they took it to another level and gated-off full episodes behind a cable subscription paywall. So, unless you're able to subscribe to an American cable or satellite provider, you're fucked.

American broadcasters fear the unbundling of cable packages will lead to less Canadians watching their channels. Horseshit! AMC is the home of The Walking Dead, the show EVERYONE is watching; A&E airs Storage Wars, Duck Dynasty, and Criminal Minds way more often than any Canadian network does; and, lastly, half of Canada's specialty channels are knockoffs of American brands. American shows are way more popular than home-grown productions, so obviously a lot of people will remain subscribed to the networks that air them. In other words, American broadcasters are either paranoid, greedy, or have no clue how this shit works.

On the other hand, BET's Canadian feed really sucks and not everyone is into MMA or Boxing. OK Viacom, NOW you can start panicking.

4) Zero Quality
The cancellation of 106 & Park had a domino effect on the quality of BET's unscripted programming. The Xperiment, a Tosh.0 clone, was just the opening act; a declaration that the BET known for Hell Date and College Hill was back with a vengeance. Enter forgettable fare like The Westbrooks and Criminals at Work, mixed in with more tolerable shows like Nellyville and a reboot of Punk'd.

All these shows share the equivalent to a drive-by shooting; they came out of nowhere, made a ruckus, and left without a trace. That's the reality TV business in a nutshell: you make five or eight episodes of a forgettable show, it gets some viewership for the network, then it disappears and another show takes its place. I'm not joking, excluding the recently premiered Criminals at Work, all of the shows I mentioned, and the dozen others that BET premiered in 2015, have been taken off their site; as if they never happened.

Based on that, I can tell you right now that Criminals will not last longer than 26 episodes. Couldn't BET at least find one exiting topic to turn into a long-running show, instead of a clusterfuck of others that will get cancelled faster than you can say Just Keke?

5) Does BET Corrupt The Youth?
BET was/is notorious for promoting black stereotypes. Nowadays, I think BET is more guilty of riding off the back of black culture. Their output in 2015 was an absolute waste of resources, whereas their competition have covered some significant events in the past year. What's really jarring to me is that BET has become a five-network suite that's being overshadowed by smaller channels; smaller channels that I believe are making better contributions to the black community. Especially in Canada, with FEVA TV providing a outlet for local Caribbean communities and fans of international music artists.

Maybe I'm tackling this from the wrong perspective, but as far as the future of Canadian broadcasting is concerned, BET might as well exit Canada and sell the streaming rights of their shows to Netflix. It's a better strategy than getting Black Canadians to watch an almost worthless channel.

Also, the Canadian feed sucks. It just does.

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