Tesco Receive Complaints for Showing Santa with a COVID Vaccine Passport
In Tesco’s Christmas advert, a breaking news announcement that “Santa could be quarantined” sends shockwaves throughout the nation. Thankfully, Santa, with of his reindeer in tow, is able to show his vaccine passport to airport border control. He is granted entry and onlookers in the airport and at home burst into cheers. Heartwarming, right? You’d think so, but as of Tuesday 16th, the advert had been the subject of over 3,000 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.
The backlash centres around the vaccine passport, with some viewers arguing that the advert is coercive and discriminatory on the basis of vaccination status. The ad, by Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, has surpassed the most-complained-about advert of 2020 – Ryanair’s “Jab and Go” campaign, which some felt promoted irresponsible travel during the Pandemic.
When approached for comment, Tesco gave a rather measured response, stating that they “respect everyone’s views” and aimed to create a “light-hearted” campaign which “reflects the current rules and regulations regarding international travel.”
The Advertising Standards Authority is currently reviewing the complaints.
Netflix Open Up About Viewing Figures
If you can stretch your mind back two weeks ago, you might remember that in a previous edition of This Week in Broadcast I discussed how Netflix are very cagey about their viewership figures and tend to only release the most flattering of statistics.
However, since then, Netflix have become marginally more transparent thanks to the launch of Top10.Netflix.com.
The site, which will be updated every Tuesday, shows a breakdown of the most-watched film and TV over the previous week, plus how many weeks they have been in the top ten. These rankings are available for over 90 countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United States.
The new website has launched one month after Netflix announced to investors that they would soon change their metric of popularity to one based on hours of content watched. Previously, Netflix measured popularity by the number of households watching a particular film or series – but with just two minutes of a single episode counting as a “watch”. Measuring popularity by hours watched is arguably a more accurate way of determining popularity – after all, people feel very differently about a programme they binge-watched in its entirety, and one they turned off half-way through the pilot. However, it’s still not perfect. Films and programmes which are longer are likely to get an automatic boost thanks to their runtime. Because of this, Netflix’s VP Content, Strategy, Planning and Analytics, Pablo Perez De Rosso has stated that Netflix will make an effort to highlight content which has been popular but failed to make the Top 10.
Research Shows that Younger Viewers Prefer Subtitles
As you might remember from last week’s This Week in Broadcast, American audiences are becoming increasingly receptive to subtitled, non-English-language films. Recent research here in the UK, by charity Stagetext, has found that young people are almost four times more likely than older viewers to watch television with subtitles – a phenomenon they attribute, in part, to the popularity of non-English-language television programmes. Chief Executive of Stagetext, Melanie Sharpe, told the BBC that older viewers were more likely to feel that subtitled, non-English language productions require an extra level of concentration.
Stagetext are a deaf-led charity who organise subtitles and captions at live and online events. 12 million people in the UK are deaf, deafened, or hard of hearing, meaning that one in five of us rely on subtitles and captions. Amongst those 18-25 year olds surveyed, Stagetext found that four out of five use subtitles all or part of the time whilst watching television. In contrast, less than a quarter of those aged between 56 and 75 use subtitles. This is despite people aged 56-75 being almost twice as likely to be deaf, deafened, or hard of hearing as those in the 18-25 age bracket.
It’s worth acknowledging that subtitles are far from perfect. Korean-speaking viewers of the Netflix hit Squid Game have argued that the English subtitles lack crucial detail and nuance, and ultimately change the meaning of the programme. However, Melanie Sharpe argues that subtitles are increasing being considered part of, rather than simply an addition, to creative works, with young theatre directors and designers making subtitles “an integral part of the artistic vision of a piece”.
Channel 4 Re-Commission Black to Front Project ‘Unapologetic‘
The Black to Front Project is part of Channel 4’s ongoing commitment to improving Black representation on screen. As part of this project, on September 10th, Channel 4 broadcast a full day’s worth of content showcasing Black talent. On the line-up was late-night topical discussion programme Unapologetic, which has now been recommissioned as a six-part series. Hosted by DJ Yinka Bokinni and social media star Zeze Millz, Channel 4 describe Unapologetic as not “a show about Black people”, but instead “the show where Black people talk freely about everything.” Shaminder Nahal, C4 Commissioning editor, describes Unapologetic as “thoughtful”, “energetic”, and “an incredible showcase for two of the most exciting talents around.”
News of the commission has been met with excitement outside of C4, with Susan Akyeampong for Digital Spy arguing that Unapologetic represents an exciting move and step in the right direction for an industry that has been slow to evolve. In her own words, “The renewal of Unapologetic marks a historic opportunity to support and push for more Black British content that our screens and audiences so desperately need.”