An Inconvenient Truth: factual programming moving out of peak time

In contrast to Casino Royale (see Tuesday blog) one film that most advertisers would probably have paid to ensure their products were not on prominent display would be 'An Inconvenient Truth'.

I rented the DVD to watch over the holiday with my family, having previously seen the film as an in-flight movie, paradoxically while travelling in the upper atmosphere above the Atlantic and across Greenland and Northern Canada, parts of the world most at risk from global warming.

Since leaving office five years ago, Al Gore has managed to bring the subject of global warming to the attention of a new audience - North American movie goers. Like recent films by Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock, his documentary film has become a modest box office success with audiences. Although Gore adopted a restrained lecture theatre approach to presenting his argument, the scientific evidence he presented was overwhelming. However, given the subject matter and underlying message, it was rather irritating to see Gore throughout the film being chauffeured around in large limousine type cars or at one point at the wheel of a 4x4 off-road vehicle (needless to say being driven on a road).

Interestingly, he choose (or was forced to choose) cinema rather than television as a platform to convey his message. Traditionally, despite network television schedules being dominated by popular dramas, light entertainment and sitcoms during peak times, most channels have always allocated time outside of peak to documentary programmes. Despite audience fragmentation, a network television broadcast might have created more public debate and arguably would have reached a much wider audience. Movie goers by virtue of paying-to-view a film are likely to be already more sympathetic to the film's message than the US population as a whole.

When the history books of the noughties (a term increasing being applied to the 2000s) are written, it's quite possible that former US vice president Al Gore will have been judged to have made a greater impact on the global warming debate forward from outside of the White House than the current 'lame duck' president will have been able to achieve from inside the Oval Office - even if he was inclined to join the debate.

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