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U.S. Logo-Free TV Broadcast Organizations?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the aren't-station-identification-breaks-enough dept.

Television 485

iluvpr0n asks: "I ran across The UK Campaign for LOGO FREE TV and admired their goals for encouraging television broadcasters to stop taking up valuable screen space with their annoying and brightly-colored logos. It's not enough to be bombarded with 8 minutes of commercials during programs, but they also need to deface a supposedly artistic work (yes, for most of television that's highly debatable) to enhance their 'brand identity' initiatives. Is anyone aware of groups with this goal operating in the US (or other non-UK locations)?" Do we really need these things anymore? I'm sure most television viewers out there can associate shows to networks, these days.

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485 comments

Yeah right (2, Funny)

agdv (457752) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523304)

I'm sure most television viewers out there can associate shows to networks, these days.


Like that /. poll where they assumed South Park ran on Cartoon Network?

They do it.. (1)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523306)

Just to spite people who capture off the air shows and archive them onto CD. :) At least thats what I'm thinking...

It sucks the most... (2, Informative)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523339)

...on re-runs of Saturday Night Live.

You can tell right away if a commercial on the show is real or not - the (usually) hilarious SNL bogus commercials have the damn Comedy Network logo on 'em.

MjM

Re:It sucks the most... (1)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523417)

Whatever happened to station Identification breaks? Or do they still do those? Where they like show basically a short commercial for the station you are already watching, or maybe that was just radio...

Branding? (2, Interesting)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523308)

I thought those things were on there for copyright protection. Sort of like video watermarking.

MjM

Re:Branding? (1)

Cheetah86 (136854) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523504)

It is for proof of company ownership. If you ever watch the daily show or any other show that takes video clips from other channels, it will always contain the watermark from the other network in the corner of the clip. (To give credit)

Slow day there, eh? (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523309)

Honestly, who fucking cares? I guess if you record 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' alot this might be troubling; but, for normal people, it is no biggie. I can not believe this made the front page.

Branding TV shows. (5, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523312)

Do we really need these things anymore? I'm sure most television viewers out there can associate shows to networks, these days.

This is silly. All the shows I watch are on the Sony network, but the only way I know is that they slap there logo on it. They've got it rigged now so that it's even there when my TV is off. I think that's going too far!

-- MarkusQ

Ouch! (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523352)

"there" should be "their"!

Doh!

I hate it when I do that!

-- MarkusQ

Sometimes helpful (4, Insightful)

Unknown Bovine Group (462144) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523313)

Sometimes I find subtle, semi-transparent logos helpful when flipping around, since every house I go to seems to have a different cable system with completely different numbering scheme. It's really annoying. Perhaps they could standardize channel numbers....

Watch TV? (1)

ScumBiker (64143) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523314)

When I actually have time to watch TV, I really don't give a damn what particular channel I'm watching. It appears that the various networks really want us to know, though. The Discover channels seem to be the worst. It really pisses me off to be watching a show and to miss part of it due to the logo in the corner. Oh well, I'd rather play games or code anyway.

Re:Watch TV? (2, Interesting)

pneuma_66 (1830) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523404)

What is even worse on the discovery channel, is when they put up links to their website. they first make a fairly loud chime, which most of the time makes the dialog unintelligible, then they shrink the screen to put the link on a black background. it was one of the most intrusive logo i have ever seen.
as for the small translucent logo's in the corner, they dont bother me. as many other people said, they are actually useful when channel surfing because you can tell right away what channel you are watching. and when cable and satellite systems have well over 100 channels, it helps in locating any interesting programming.

A matter of choice (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523318)

Although it *is* annoying, it is a matter of choice to patronize those airwaves. I'm sure there are people who can come up with some sort of "IP" violation for taking up screen space on somoene else's artwork, but for now...live with it. You don't HAVE to watch network TV.

Re:A matter of choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523353)

ALso, BBC airwaves are basically state-run and owned. US airwaves are bought and sold as a commodity for private use.

Re:A matter of choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523440)

The UK govt does the same thing... just look at all the cash they shafted out the mobile operators for 3G! You have to pay for commercial TV/Radio licenses and for digital multiplexes.

However, the BBC are indeed assigned frequencies, but they only got assigned one national Digital multiplex and one DAB (Digital Radio) multiplex... which sucks.

*ahem* (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523505)

There is no choice: all TV stations do it, "network" or not. Teletoon and YTV have the most hideous animated ones that pop up in the middle of the shows. What, like we suddenly forgot to look at the bottom corner transparent logo?!

It's bad enough that they do the "squeeze and tease" on every show.

You won't remove that icon (1, Flamebait)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523322)

Just ask Microsoft or their partners if its a good idea to voluntarily remove their logo. Their investors depend on it for their lives.

Re:You won't remove that icon (2)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523374)

Yes, but the MS logo doesn't cover the bottom right-hand corner of /. while you're reading it, does it?

I always thought that they put those logos on there to prevent people from making fairly-nice copies of movies they aired, etc. Now, it's reached the ridiculous stage: like the animated "Croctober" logo for Animal Planet. Branding is one thing, but geesh tone it down a bit! 15% transparency would be better than those full-colored monstrosities!

Re:You won't remove that icon (0)

polar red (215081) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523452)

>es, but the MS logo doesn't cover the bottom right-hand corner of /. while you're reading it, does it?

I guess they will force it upon us in a few years.

Re:You won't remove that icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523480)

No, but it does cover up the upper right hand corner of my browser!

I like em (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523326)

I like those little logos. I've used them countless times when I try to find the station that some show is playing on but don't know the specific channel number.

Re:I like em (1)

ebacon (16101) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523391)

I do this too. My question is "Why aren't the logos on the screen during the commercials?" If the concept is that you want brand recognition, I would have thought that during commercials is when you want/need them most. During commercials is when I flip channels, and based on informally watching my friends, this seems to be the norm ...

Not just annoying (1)

vondo (303621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523330)

For those of us who have rear-projection sets or CRT video projectors, these logos, especially the bright ones like the Weather Channel, NBC, etc., can damage the sets. If you leave it on the same channel too long, you get burn-in.

The first thing they need to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523336)

is get rid of that stupid anouncer on the WB that has to use that annoying serious voice when talking about their soap operas. "Tonight on Seventh heven, blah blah blah"
I hope this guy dies soon.

Yes! Lose the logos, please!! (1)

KC7GR (473279) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523340)

Granted, most stations are pretty good about putting it in the lower right of the screen, but every so often it covers a detail that I want to catch. SciFi Channel, USA, TBS, etc., have been doing it for years, and I'd love to see the practice stop.

If anyone finds out about a concerted effort in the States to get rid of the silly things, please say so. Thanks!

Logos no longer serve a purpose (1)

Warp! (13529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523343)

With new GUI interfaces built into devices such as TiVo, satellite receivers, and digital cable boxes, the logo no longer serves a useful purpose.

In the past, the networks needed to provide a way for the viewer to know what station they were watching. Now the set top box does that for them.

And believe me, every viewer in the world would love to see the logo go away.

So, everyone has a TiVo and digital cable? (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523375)

Everyone does not have TiVos or digital cable/Satellite; just becuse it in not useful to you, does not mean it is useless to everyone.

Re:Logos no longer serve a purpose (2, Insightful)

Psion (2244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523403)

"In the past, the networks needed to provide a way for the viewer to know what station they were watching."

I've heard that argument repeated so many times since the networks started doing it about ten years ago. It almost makes sense until you realize that they don't do it over the commercials.

OMG ... (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523351)

Now I know somebody has too much time on their hands.


It's TV for pity's sake. If you want to see cinematic glory, watch it on video or DVD.


I can see individual complaints, but an organization? Your life is way too empty if this is a cause for you.

Re:OMG ... (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523410)

And the TV shows are available on DVD since when please?

Networks have the monopoly for given shows (unless syndicated), if you want to watch a specific show, you have to watch a specific network. The network then defaces the show with their logo (on top of reminding you what channel you're on with countless adds), wich is wrong.

I know I've gotten really annoyed when trying to watch a show with a dark atmosphere and having a bright logo pop up and totally obscure the rest of the image.

Something must be done.

Re:OMG ... (0, Offtopic)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523427)

Although you'll be modded down as a troll, I'm right behind your opinion.

Re:OMG ... (2, Funny)

mrpotato (97715) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523453)

just so you know guys, I'm there along with you too. Who the f%$? care that much about a friggin little logo that you don't even see afther a minute? Absurd and ridiculous.

Re:OMG ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523516)

Lie down and get shafted and let the networks do whatever they like? Then people complain that the TV has got so crap and poor, this is the reason why, they let the standards slip and nobody brings them to book.

Remember the UK traditionally never had logo's, now they're introducing them and it pisses people off... why can't they let it be.

Re:OMG ... (3, Interesting)

Psion (2244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523443)

I don't know...videophiles have been annoyed about this for years. It reduces the quality of the program being viewed, and in many cases actually obstructs information...try watching some of the documentaries that air on Discovery or TLC. And Animal Planet has gotten ridiculous with their animated "bugs" filling the bottom of the frame.

When it first started, I tried to vote with my remote and switched to stations that didn't use the annoying, distracting practice. That didn't last long as every one of them picked up on it.

Shows vs Networks... (2)

Howie (4244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523355)

I'm sure most television viewers out there can associate shows to networks, these days.

I can think of at least 5 shows off the top of my head that appear on at least 2 stations currently, even with my limited (UK Digital Terrestrial) range of channels.

Admittedly they are mostly US syndicated shows, but not all. A lot of BBC shows are ending up on UK Gold, UK Living, Granada+ and so on. The rest are things like Frasier, Friends, The Simpsons, Futurama, Buffy, Seinfeld and similar 'big' shows, where a subscription channel (Sky One, Paramount) usually has a newer season of the same show being shown on a free-to-air station (BBC 2, C4).

I think there is less and less association of shows with networks.

How 'bout those Sony static stickers! (3, Troll)

zulux (112259) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523356)


People who leave those things on their TV's should be gently throttled until they see reason.

I fail to see... (1)

xfs (473411) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523360)

I fail to see the huge deal in this argument?

Logos have never really bothered me, and most networks now use an alpha effect of a transparent logo, so it doesn't really take up space...

Now, if they were to get rid of car, feminine product, and lawyer commericals, that'd be a group I could really side with

My 2 Cents (1)

billc124 (457642) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523361)

For the most part I like the logos. Having 150 channels on your TV makes it a nightmare to remember what they all are. The logo tells me what station I have stopped at while surfing. My TV allows me to program Channel captions for this reason, but it only holds 50 of them.

Actually... (2)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523364)

I'm not a huge TV watcher, wish I had a TIVO to just record the stuff I really like (Farscape, History Channel, various classic movies that I probably wouldn't buy but do want to watch in their entirety like 'Office Space', etc), but I don't. Sometimes I find it quite useful while flipping through cable channels to see those little logo's down in the corner. Helps me determine if the channel is worth slowing down for in the mad dash to change channels, as I keep forgetting which channels are which. Perhaps if there was a simple way to just request through the cable providers to turn those little icons on or off before and after hooking up the cable, now that would be something.

Don't watch television. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523365)

I've said it once, I'll say it again... Don't watch television. At all. Ever. Period. When I drive by houses and see that telltale blue glow of a TV, it reduces my opinion of that person. Get off your ass and do something. Television is geared towards the mentality of a moron. Do something productive instead of sitting on your ass.

Re:Don't watch television. (2, Offtopic)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523378)

I don't watch TV. I play video games. Much more productive.

Re:Don't watch television. (1)

Psion (2244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523473)

This from someone who wastes time posting on Slashdot.

As an Anonymous Coward, no less!

TNN (2, Interesting)

rtkluttz (244325) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523366)

I wish there would be something like this for the US. It is an absolute disgrace that now TNN has changed its name from Nashville to National and started airing cool reruns of STTNG and I have to watch it though a horrendous bottom bar. Not just a transparent logo in the corner, but a continuous ugly black bar all the way across the bottom. I cant even read the text when they translate for Klingons (the horror).

DOG.... woof (2, Interesting)

JohnHegarty (453016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523368)

I remember hearing the technical names for these logos are DOG.

Digital
On-Screen
Graphics

Anyway, i can think of two reason for them , 1) To stop people record a movie , and acting like its a gunine copy.
2) To stop other chanells nicking their stuff. Over here in Ireland they often show stuff from Sky Sports on the news (with permission i am sure), but there is no doubth where is from with the Big Sky Sports logo on the screen.

Re:DOG.... woof (5, Funny)

Erbo (384) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523478)

I remember hearing the technical names for these logos are DOG.
That may be true, but the usual industry term I've heard for them is "bug." Whether they call it that because it looks as garish as a squashed bug on the corner of the screen, or whether the logo bugs them, or whether they think it's a flaw in the television system that they have to put those things on screen (hence "bug"), I dunno.

Eric

Don't count on it (2)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523369)

This is certainly an admirable goal, but with conventional commercials quickly becoming totally ineffective (thanks to personal recorders with skipping features as well as more channels to flip to), I'd expect logos to be the least of our worries. From now on, you'll have to either deal with the morphing logos, advertising bars, virtual (and increasingly brazen) product placement, and other assorted in-show advertising, or actually start paying for your channels, HBO style. I don't really think that's such a bad thing... with increased demand for ad-free/light premium-style channels prices will drop, quality will go up, and you won't have to wade through crap. But, it'll cost you.

Put yourself in their shoes (3, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523370)

Most of the logo's are translucent. Like the scores/info of a football game, if its semi-translucent, you can still see the action when it happens where the score is.

Honestly, you don't pay for local stations, the advertisers do. So its not really your choice.

And another thing, when I post a message, do I really need to see that slashdot [slashdot.org] logo? Its taking up my valuable website art.

Re:Put yourself in their shoes (1)

phoebus1553 (522577) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523507)

Actually, I pay for cable, and the logos are all over the place there... But there probably is a better reason for it now with the time shifting devices and people "perhaps" recording off cable and PPV. If they can slide their logo in there, you're gonna be subliminally reminded that you taped Enemy of the State off of TBS and go back for more...

Re: Put yourself in their shoes (1)

sakyamuni (528502) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523523)

Honestly, you don't pay for local stations, the advertisers do.

and that is exactly what it's all about. note how all annoying logos and graphics disappear completely during the broadcasts which are most important to the networks, the commercials.

btw, bottom-of-the-screen-graphic overload hasn't been so bad in a long time as during the first week of the 9/11 news coverage, with utterly uninteresting local "news" sometimes scrolling on top of the info from the network. not to mention the annoying cut-ins by the local news people with totally unimportant updates...

"we're sorry to interrupt peter jennings' breaking news. we now go to jim smith, who has an interview with sheriff barney fife about the terrorist threat here in the hinterlands."

Even more annoying... (1)

AdamJ (28538) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523382)

... are tv shows on channels that are re-broadcasting it from another channel - you'll have a logo in two corners of the tv, and occasionally three. Ugly when watching, even worse if you're taping something.

But I doubt it's going to change. The people that care about it aren't near the majority of the people that just watch tv.

interesting because... (1)

JediLuke (57867) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523383)

those encoders (or whatever they are) that put that logo down in the corner are actually quite expensive. but at least you'll never find youself saying "what channel is this"

They remove the logos for the ads! (1)

Titney (448995) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523385)

The logos don't really bother me much cause theyre good for identifying the channel, really.
what DOES bug me however is how they REMOVE the logos when theyre running commercials. More respect for the commercials than for the "supposed art".
I'm not sure how it is elsewhere but that's how it is here in Sweden for all channels except MTV, who just simplify the logo for the ads but don't remove it completely (most of the time they have a huge glaring colorful blinking logo cause of some "theme" or other).

You have to be kidding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523389)

The little logo upsets people so much that an organization is formed to fight it? Television owes us nothing. It is a free services (you can get it from the airwaves) or you can pay for a delivery mechanism (cable), but otherwise it is free content. And yes, the broadcasters broadcast for one thing only. $$$. the more money they make, the happier they are. Kind of like why i go to work everyday. to make money.
You do not have to watch broadcast tv. donate to PBS if you like. And if you do not like their little logo, do not donate, and explain to them why.Or, if you want, you can start paying for TV content (micropayments per show) or a monthly fee per station (HBO, Cinemax) and avoid commercials and logos all together.
And it is not "vandalism". Vandalism is when someone defaces someone elses property. The content is the property of the broadcasters, and they can do with it what they want.

What's most annoying (4, Insightful)

uqbar (102695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523396)

Half the time you cannot read the captions on the screen bottom. Anyone try to watch MTV's pop up video lately? The have so many logos that you can't see the goofy "fact" pop ups half the time.

Re:What's most annoying (5, Funny)

JimTheta (115513) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523471)


Well, we know you haven't associated shows with channels.

Pop-up Video is a VH1 program.

-Grant/JimTheta

slightly off-topic, but neat slashcode connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523397)

The companion website to the book "No Logo" (which is featured on logofreetv.org.uk is here:

http://www.nologo.org/

Interestingly it runs slashcode.

Logo's in the UK (5, Interesting)

Aztech (240868) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523398)

"we really need these things anymore?"
It's quite the opposite in the UK... we never really had them and we don't want them!

All the mainstream channels don't include any tags and wouldn't dare to do so, however since the launch of DigitalTV around three years ago and the numerous stations that came with it... they started to put logo's on channels to differentiate themselves (so you can tell crap from crap).

But it seems it caught on and even the new BBC channels include it like BBC Choice, Knowledge and News24, they all include a subtle alpha channelled logo in the top left, for MTV/Music and News it's not really that bad but if you want to sit down and watch a programme then they become annoying.

But at least we don't have to contend with any adverts on some channels, I sometimes watch ABC evening news here, there is a break every 4-5 minutes, then the news is filled with sentimental dross in-between, you watch it and feel as informed as watching a brick wall, they call this news ?!? Fox News isn't even worth mentioning, do people serious watch that?

At least CNN has something going for it.

Not that big a deal. (1)

binarytoaster (174681) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523400)

AFAIK, over here anyway, most of the networks put their logos in some way transparent, so it has this cool embossed-into-the-show effect. You don't even really notice it unless you look for it.

If they were opaque, however, I could see the problem - but I wonder if the advertisers have something to do with this as well. Perhaps they ask that the networks show that it's THEM they got the advertising from.. don't have a clue why this would be an issue, but we've seen dumber :)

Re:Not that big a deal. (2)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523431)

They frequently are opaque. And sometimes, quite gaudy. Ah Adult Swim, I love your shows, but I hate your logos (especially the rating that stays over Cowboy Bebop the whole time!)

Commercials, 8 Minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523401)

I recently started to collect the current series of Junkyard Wars episodes to watch with my father who does not have that channel. After the first, I checked on the web I found that there were only seven shows for the season. I decided to try and fit the last six on the five hours remianing on the VHS tape by capturing with a Tivo and then moving to VHS sans commercials. I found that the actual program was only about 45 mins of the hour. I have since found that this is typical.

I also highly recommend the Panasonic VCRs with the Commercial advance feature. It works pretty well, well enough for me to not be aware that the commercial percentage was so high.

Re:Commercials, 8 Minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523474)

You should try and snag the UK version... they actually edit the US programme so they can fit a load more adverts inbetween.

8 minutes of commercials.. (4, Informative)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523402)

.. I always thought that it was 10 minutes of commercials for every 30 minute show.

I think that the small logo in the corner is a little annoying but I have seen it get worse. There have been times when I have seen the network, then the US flag and then other logos, all adding up to about 3 to 5 logos on the screen. On a 20 inch TV this makes for small viewing. :-(

What is worse is AT&T's digital cable service now has advertisements in its on line TV guide. It used to be that you could see 12 channels at a time when you press the guide button, but now it is about 8 channels and 4 ad's. This makes it slower to browse the digital TV guide. I called and apparantly noone likes this but they don't care cause what can I do? Get satelite like my brother and then possibly not get the local stations (he doesn't)?

While logos are bad I think that being bombarded with advertisements is worse. Look at yahoo and their new popup window ads.

...and now flags! (3, Interesting)

update() (217397) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523405)

The US seems to be going in the opposite direction, with American flags now being added to the logo. The worst offender is ESPN, which not only broadcasts games with the logo, flag, score statistics, out of town scores and the score ticker on the bottom but sets them all well in from the border wasting even more space.

On the other hand, with a zillion cable channels that I, at least, don't remember most of, it's useful to have a small logo. Anyway, it's not at all clear to me how this group expects to have any effect. A petition? "Demonstrate and calculate the cost of ignoring the problem logos."?

I'm skpetical about the claim that the logos are there to discourage piracy. Is anyone really trafficking bootleg C-Span or Weather Channel broadcasts or Dharma and Greg episodes? And if so, are they going to be deterred by a network logo?

Re:...and now flags! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523489)

The worst offender is ESPN, which not only broadcasts games with the logo, flag, score statistics, out of town scores and the score ticker on the bottom but sets them all well in from the border wasting even more space.

ESPN *is* a waste of space. Seems odd to complain that they're so good at it.

We NEED this!!! (0, Offtopic)

posmon (516207) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523411)

...because when i'm really fucking stoned i keep forgetting which channel i'm watching...

Branding Folly (3, Insightful)

Baba Abhui (246789) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523412)

The logos annoy me too, away with them, I say.

I've never understood why a movie studio, television network, or record company would go to so much bother to establish a brand. When I buy a movie ticket, CD, or choose a TV station, I do it because I'm interested in the content - the story or the music - not because I'm a fan of the production company. I couldn't even tell you what studios produced my all-time favorite movies or what labels produce my all-time favorite records, and I suspect I'm not alone.

I don't watch much TV, but I would have a hard time believing that anyone would turn to a particluar TV station to watch a show they dislike just because it's on their favorite network. And the logos don't serve any other purpose.

Not for "brand recognition"? (1)

Lish (95509) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523413)

Is the reason they put those logos there for "brand recognition," that is, so you know what channel you're watching? Or is it so when someone tapes a show there's a watermark of sorts saying "this show belongs to this network." To distinguish from, say, episodes sold on tape. Or, so if a video shows up on the net, they can tell what area it came from (if your local network uses a localized logo eg. with call letters).

I'm just curious. I don't like the annoying logos either (they tend to sit right on top of something I want to see, like a sports ticker). Just wondering what the reason is for using them (besides "because we can").

I Solved this Problem (3, Interesting)

telstar (236404) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523414)

I wrote a program a while back that solved this problem. It was fairly successful in removing, or at least making-less apparent, the logos that broadcast companies are using. My solution was only implemented in software on pre-recorded MPG clips, but given the advances in digital video, and set-top boxes, I don't see why it couldn't be implemented as a hardware solution.

  • I accomplished the task by isolation the logo (scanned which pixels were relatively stationary, giving priority to the corners.
  • I then tracked the edges of the logos, and picked up the color values just beyond the borders of these pixels.
  • In repainting a pixel, I'd average out the pixels on the left, right, up, and down, and weight each one based on how close to that particular edge the replacement pixel was being drawn.
You'd be surprised how well it works.
Transparent logos are a bit more difficult to detect, but they're less obtrusive. In addition, if this were implemented as a full-blown product, it could easily build a library of company logos and associate those logos with the channel that is being watched, so the logo detection wouldn't be necessary.

solve this (0, Offtopic)

ckuhtz (87644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523454)

is this one of them new fangled pseudo sophisticated trolls?

Oh, nevermind.

Re:solve this (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523468)

Umm ... No. It was a project when I was in college.

Re:I Solved this Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523483)

Warning: MSFT solution follows.

You can do this in realtime using DirectX by writing a transform filter that repainted a set region of the screen. For it to perform well in software, you'd probably have to have different logos and repainting algorithms for various channels.

But it could work, as long as you have a video capture device for your computer. And if you have video out, you could go from the source, through the transform filter, and back out to your television.

logo schmogo (1)

ckuhtz (87644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523425)

I couldn't care less about the brightly colored logos as long as they're transparent (watermark style) or small enough.

What does annoy me is the increasing amount of 'informative' bars at the bottom of the screen, occupying as much as 1/3rd of the entire screen. CNN has been a prime example, with two, three, four and more layers of scrolling info banner mania, using mattes all over the places just so that the wavey background can hold a 'mercan flag blowing in the wind. Or waterfall of unintelligible colors, pictures etc.

(Funny enough, CNN International is considerably less fatty compared with the domestic CNN feed).

With this amount of clutter & redundancy, I might just as well listen to radio as the visual content disappears in peautiful visual spam.

Whatever happened to the classy screen designs? On screen "art" should support the information and not become a self-purpose.

If distracting from the actual information was the goal, mission accomplished, going boldly where local news has gone before.

Thank God (1)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523426)

This would be wonderful.
I've noticed this more and more. Yes, it's kind of annoying but it wasn't that big a deal. But here in the last couple of weeks I've been watching a show and missed something in the corner that was obscured by the logo. I'll admit that not much happens in the corners but when it does, it's usually important, and I want to see it.

I Like it!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523435)

It allows me to know the instant I have flipped to the WB that what ever I am watching is going to suck!!!

Even more annoying than single logos... (2)

jht (5006) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523437)

I freely admit to being a wrestling fan (ducks), as a result WWF Smackdown is one of the only things I bother with on a regular basis (outside of news, the Red Sox, and an occasional This Old House episode). And when I get my weekly fix, I get not just one logo (UPN's) in the lower _right_ corner of the screen, I get the horrifyingly ugly (and not even translucent) WWF logo in the lower left corner! It wastes a significant amount of screen real estate, and just looks dumb.

Now there is a reason they do it - WWF actually owns the time that Smackdown runs on (as they do with all their shows), and so they brand their content as does the network (which brands _everything_). But it's still silly.

I'm sure there's other programs with similar double-branding, but I haven't seen them.

Re:Even more annoying than single logos... (1)

AdamJ (28538) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523476)

Now there is a reason they do it - WWF actually owns the time that Smackdown runs on (as they do with all their shows), and so they brand their content as does the network (which brands _everything_). But it's still silly.

In Canada, we get the TNN logo, the WWF logo, and the logo of the network that carries the show - The Score for Smackdown!, TSN for RAW, CTV Sportsnet for Heat.

Sometimes you can see the wrestlers, when they step into the middle of the screen. ;)

Local stations do it too... (2)

Erbo (384) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523438)

Local stations frequently slap a "bug" on the screen, too. Sometimes they cover up the network one; during Jay Leno, (on Channel 9, KUSA) I've seen the NBC bug in the lower right corner covered up by a big blue block saying "9NEWS," but only for short periods of time, thank God. And the "bug" on Channel 6 (KRMA) is the mountains-and-head logo of Rocky Mountain PBS. And the local UPN affiliate (Channel 20, KTVD) has its own "UPN20" bug that it uses on syndicated programs.

Everybody's got a brand to plug...

Eric

Not going away in the USA (2)

zsazsa (141679) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523445)

I don't think these things are going away any time soon. After they were brought to the attention of the USA's general public with CNN's coverage of the Persian Gulf War, practically every major network latched on to the practice and haven't let go.

They've been in place for 10 years now. Flipping through normal cable TV, I don't think I can see anyone who doesn't do it, aside from the premium movie channels (thank goodness.)

Ian

Re:Not going away in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523495)

This was because the news in the Gulf War was all brought together under the same "news pool", so they all basically had the same content, the only way to differentiate themselves was through logo's.

I saw this on the British News Pool, you saw BBC reporters and footage on commercial channels and visa verse at times.

Re:Not going away in the USA (2)

acroyear (5882) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523527)

Actually, if memory serves, VH-1 was one of the first stations to do it...and I'm pretty sure they were doing it before 1991, but I'm not positive on that.

However, with Digital Cable in America, you don't really need them anymore 'cause the cable box itself will throw the logo on the screen as you change the channel, and you can call it up at any time on your remote, so eventually when the entire US is on digital cable or direct-tv satelite (who do the same thing), the need for them to identify the station during channel-surfing will be done.

Then they'll definitely have decided to keep 'em around to "mess up" programs so that your home-taping is getting inferior copies and you'll eventually want to buy a vid-tape or dvd release. X-Files, Robotech, and Simpsons season 1 are definitely showing that people are willing to buy whole seasons of things at a time, and would prefer that to getting the "one tape a month" approach that older syndicated shows were offering on TV promotions (e.g., MASH and the Honeymooners).

Actually, I'd like to see channels do the opposite of what they do now. When surfing, and I hit a program, I generally will decide based on the program content if i want to stick around. I'd rather be told what channel i've hit when i hit a commercial, in order to decide if i wanna stick around and wait 'til a program starts. This is the approach that HBO and Showtime do for their pay networks -- the programs are logo free, the promotions in between have the logo.

The logos may be annoying.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523446)

but in a world with hundreds of TV channels, they are an effective way for viewers flicking through to identify channels.

more necessary now (2)

crow (16139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523447)

The problem from the TV station's perspective is that you really do need to be reminded that you're watching their network. With many cable and satellite systems having over a hundred channels, they're afraid of getting lost in the mix. If you watch and enjoy one show that they air, they want you to think of them the next time you channel surf to find something else to watch.

Personally, I think that it's all a bunch of bunk. They may get a few more viewers here and there, but nothing that would be statistically relevant in the ratings.

Now what would be really cool is to get my ReplayTV to detect the "bugs" and digitally remove them. (If you think they're annoyed with the current round of lawsuits...) Of course, there are technical problems in that the bugs actually remove information--you could mostly compensate on the transluctent ones, but even then not entirely.

Aren't those logos the DJ's of the digital world? (1)

tpjmcguigan (248034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523455)

DJ's used to always speak over the start and end of songs. This was to ensure anyone recording radio got a poorer quality version then they would if they bought the record.

I thought these logos were there to server a similar purpose; to contaminate recordings.

No?

This isn't the reason they do it ... (5, Insightful)

SuperRob (31516) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523457)

"... but they also need to deface a supposedly artistic work (yes, for most of television that's highly debatable) to enhance their 'brand identity' initiatives."

Actually, they do it so that you always know who's PROPERTY the broadcast is. They could care less about brand identification ... they do it so that when PVR'd copies of programs show up online, it's easier for them to claim ownership.

Now, when will we see software to EXTRACT these logo's?

I like 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523458)

You know, I actually like them. I just moved to a new area and my cable channel numbers are completely different. It's hard to get used to the new numbers (I can't even remember the number for the TV Guide channel so I can look up other channel numbers!) so the little icons come in handy when I'm looking for a particular channel.

Station ID (5, Informative)

astroboy (1125) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523461)

It's really not that obnoxious. Broadcast stations -- TV, Radio -- need by FCC regulations [fcc.gov] to identify themselves; this is a (comparitively) un-obtrusive way of doing this.

Further, it means that if their shows are copied -- whether taped on a VCR, or stills shown on entertainment news or whatever -- that there's a little ``hey, this is the work of CBS/NBC/ABC/...'' sign in the bottom, which doesn't seem all that unreasonable.

The Slashdot Mindset (5, Insightful)

jea6 (117959) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523462)

Let me see if I get this straight. Vocal slashdotters want PVRs that can skip the commercials that pay for the production of the programs. Vocal slashdotters also want the networks to air programming without product placements that pay for the production of the programs. And vocal slashdotters feel it is their right to dictate what programmers can put on the screen at any given time.

My recomendation would be that vocal slashdotters stop watching TV as it is obviously not what you want. Listen to Geeks in Space re-runs for entertainment. OR, if you do enjoy The Simpsons, or god-forbid, The West Wing, you can pay for it out of your pocket or put up with the aforementioned "intrusions".

I like The Sopranos so I pay for HBO. I don't know when quality TV programming became a natural right. I don't pay for The Simpsons out of my pocket, so I'm willing to put up with whatever the fine folks at Fox can dish out. And when I don't like it anymore, I'LL STOP WATCHING.

it's confusing! (1)

drift factor (220568) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523463)

My girlfriend's mom watches MSNBC so much, the logo is burned into her television. Now it's hard to tell if you're NOT watching it. :)

Jeez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523466)

Let the audience decide what they will and will not tolerate on TV.

distinguishes comercials from content (1)

L*G!X (470627) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523469)

A good reason they are there is the fact that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the difference between what's a show, for example the news, and a commercial. Advertisers use very deceiving commercials sometimes to try and make you think its actually coming from the network, eg; an infomercial, sometimes they are made to look like talk shows, using the logo is a good way to see that its not anything other then a commercial.

It's about time. (2)

generic-man (33649) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523487)

As a loyal television viewer, I feel that it is my right to enjoy television the way I see fit. Seeing a small logo superimposed over my favorite television shows deprives me of my right. With all of the talk being made on web-sites like The Slashing Dot about content control, I wonder: when do we, the viewers, get to control the content ourselves?

I consider myself to be probably the smartest user on the American Internet today. For example, are you aware that many web pages use "banner advertising" or "popped up advertisements"? It's true, whether or not you realize it. However, I have downloaded a piece of soft-ware known as the Junking Buster [junk-buster.com] which defeats those advertisements. Now I can surf the web seeing only content which is relevant, such as these comments. Now, what about television (or "TV")? I have purchased a device which allows me to watch T-V shows not at the times set by the closed-minded networks, but at my own leisure. It cost me over $400, but I consider it to be far superior to watching T-V with advertisements.

Watching T-V programs with the help of my Delayed Recording Device (or "DRD") has helped greatly, and is a means of content control. However, although my DRD has over seventy features on its remote-control (hereinafter "remocon") I do not see any option to remove the logos. Because I am releasing the soft-ware for my DRD and T-V into the public domain, I expect that one of you "hackers" (hereinafter "crackers") will enable me to remove the logo from my programs.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Ads at sports arenas (1)

Steev (5372) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523490)


Not to mention the fact that Fox changed the panel behind home plate to advertise Fox shows during the world series.

mangled credits (3, Insightful)

crow (16139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523492)

Is this really any different from the other mangling of the shows that networks have been doing? They've been talking over the credits for years, often totally destroying the tone set by a dramatic ending. More recently, they've squished the credits to the side, making them impossible to read, so they can show ads for upcoming shows. Personally, I would just as soon they not bother showing the credits; I suspect the only reasons they do are that one, they are required by contract to do so, and two they then don't have to count the time as advertising.

This mangling the programming attitude has been taken much further by CNN and copied by its clones. First, they put financial tickers on. Then sports tickers. Now news tickers, even during live coverage of a major Presidential speach. Headline News is virtually unwatchable--it's like watching RealPlayer in the corner of a web page--ick.

What is needed is a broad-based opposition to program mangling, be it logos, tickers, credits, or whatnot.

Not about "most" viewers (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523493)

its about new viewers.
who do you think all commercials and ads a postioned to?
ages 10-20. as a general rule, once someone has started by something regularl, like the same deoderant) it is very hard to get them to change brands once there over 20.
so a product must be pounded into our brains so its there when we make that criticle decesion on a product will use for a very long time.
thats why they put there logos there, so new viewers will get brand identification.
personally I think this issue is someone else did it, so we must do it just to maintain the same brand exposure.
I hate the things, I didn't buy a big tc just to have 5-10%of the picture ruined by that amn logo.
I do see a day when everything is broadcast in a 'letter box' format, and the black space is filled with ads.

Score -1 (Flamebait) (1)

Monthenor (42511) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523496)

I'm sorry, but I can't argue against the watermarks. For one thing, in the US it's an easy way to mark the exact moment that all this jingoistic fever wears off: just watch for the network logos to stop being star-spangled ;)

What's wrong is that they need to be used more effectively. Cartoon Network is pretty good example for this...their logo appears and disappears, so it's not a constant presence but you NOTICE it when it's there (which is the point).

What's more, for the Adult Swim block the logo becomes "ADULT SWIM". When Adult Swim started there was an ad at the beginning saying "all kids under 18, outta the pool!" Apparently the lazy parents are complaining about risque TV again, because now there's a warning before *every single show*. I think the Adult Swim watermark is plenty warning for concerned citizens, and that the ******** soccer moms should shut their collective trap and use the tools that CN gives them.

Alternate Motivation (1)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523498)

I always thought those logos were sort of a poor-man's copy protection. Just in case you recorded the show (or captured it, or tivo'd it...) the logo would show up and let the viewer know that whatever they were watching orgininally aired on the network

on a website with an ad and a logo on every page (1)

Ledge (24267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523515)

Interesting that on every /. page the top of the page has an ad, and the top left has the slashdot logo. Little transparent logos don't bother me on TV, its the damn full color moving ones that flop around all the time and are distracting. The thing that is more annoying is what TLC and Discovery do a lot. Putting a ticker line at the bottom of the screen telling you whats on the third Wednesday of next June. It seems like every time it comes on the screen, it covers up something important.

first linux is dung post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2523519)

yup, it's true!

CONGRATS, TROLLS & CRAPFLOODERS!!! (-1)

TRoLLaXoR (181585) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523526)

Participants of Troll Tuesday 2001:

Congratulations! Your efforts on 10/30 resulted in the most successful Troll Tuesday in Slashdot history. Rob Malda, ESR, Michael Sims, Jamie McCarthy, and even VA Linux felt the brunt of our wrath, and the effects are permanent and signifigant...

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda began early Wednesday angrily coding new troll-deterrents into his flavor of SLASH 2.2f14 ("faggot version 14" of SLASH 2.2). Currently being filtered are the strings "truth," "gay," "homosexual," and even the word "Linux!" We're clearly forcing Slashdot to turn in on itself in its efforts to guard against trolls, and lose sight of its original focus!

Jon Katz has already contacted lawyers regarding libel suits to bring against Slashdot trolls because of the many illicit, likely true but furiously denied claims of anal rape and sodomy love between he and Rob Malda that appeared on 10/30. Among the claims he is denying are that he rapes rabbits, has had sex with Hemos, Rob Malda, and virtually all of the VA Linux staff, that he never graduated high school, that he can not write, and that he is a Satanist neo-Nazi kike Jew faggot cum lover.

Michael Sims and Jamie McCarthy spent most of the day in a panic(k)ed conference call with ESR, brainstorming ways to quell the tsunami of trolls. Finally agreeing on a strategy, Jamie further enhanced code in SLASH to forget IP address harvested by the commenting system; this brought a lot of heat from Larry Augustin but Sims, McCarthy, and ESR gangfucked Larry's ass and all was well by the end of the onslaught.

Two other unprecedented achievements the trolls won 10/30 were the renaming of VA Linux and the dropping of Kuro5hin.org from VA's OSDN.

After posting the Linux Gay Conspiracy over and over on 10/30, VA Linux knew the truth was out and could only hope to hide the facts afterward, and so changed their name from VA Linux to VA Software. Linux faggotry was revealed and VA's hand was forced! Good job, trolls!

VA was also cornered into dropping Kuro5hin.org from its banner of homosexual websites-- for eons now Slashdot trolls, feeling solidarity with their k5 brethren, had been posting the truth about VA's Nazi attempts at censoring heterosexual propaganda posted on k5. After 10/30, however, the game was up and straight white truth prevailed. Again, congrats on this and the above unprecedented success in trolling!

All in all, Troll Tuesday 2001 was a great success. The trolls came out in force, using their skills and creativity, and forced changes in SLASH, Slashdot, VA Software, the OSDN, and the lives of Slashbots everywhere.

Thanks, trolls & crapflooders of Slashdot, who are now heroes of this generation.

We'll be doing it again soon.

This came up when TNT took over Babylon 5 (3, Informative)

shutton (4725) | more than 12 years ago | (#2523528)

When TNT stepped up to fund/broadcast Babylon 5's fifth season, this issue came up, and was addressed by Dean Treadway of TNT programming. So, here's a broadcaster's perspective:
Bugs (Logos) on Screen/Voice-Overs During Closing Credits: The strong leaning in programming (and we know this won't be a popular decision with fans) is to leave the TNT logo on the corner of the screen throughout a large portion of the episodes. This is something that we have to start doing to foster recognizability of the TNT brand, not just during B5, but during movies and Lois and Clark and everything on TNT. Why? Look, there are 70 channels out there for the average cable subscriber to choose from (let's don't even get into satellite). In the age of remote controls, people don't pay attention to chennels or numbers or anything like that. The days of "ABC's on 2, NBC's on 11 and CBS is on 5" are over. Networks must do something to make themselves and their locations on your "dial" much more noticable (Sci-Fi Channel keeps their bug up 24-7...). Therefore, the logos (bugs) will be a regular fixture on B5. Same goes with voice-overs during the credits. B5 is programmed where it is because we want it to lead in to our prime time programming; we want to create an audience for what we have on the rest of the night. Voice-overs are necessary to keep people tuned into the network, to let them know what's coming up next. Again, we know this won't be a popular decision for people looking to tape the show for posterity. But remember: we are not an archival service designed to provide the public with programming they can tape so they never have to watch our network again. That's the kind of thinking that will send television out of business for good forever, and then you won't have any B5s or Crusade or anything to enjoy ever again, because we won't be able to pay for it. In short: we are not a taping service, we are a network, and that means we'll be carrying all the trappings of any other networks, including bugs, commercials, and voice overs. Sorry...

The full discussion is here [a42.de] -- page down to the entry from "97/07/18" (that's 07/18/1997 for us 'mercans).

-Scott

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