All of the worst things that have ever occurred were allowed to happen because someone didn't say, "No, I won't stand for it." Well, mark this day in your calendar, Cravers, because we're saying no right now, and we're saying it to on-screen logos on our HD TV channels. And broadcasters can ignore us at their peril, because we're as mad as hell, and we're not going to take this any more.
On-screen logos are a blight and they exist in the UK for one simple reason: because the US has them. Mindless channel controllers operate on the monkey see, monkey do principle. And so, from the very moment MTV arrived in the UK, executives from the BBC, ITV and other channels all started wondering how they could clutter our screens with nonsense branding.
It's ironic then, that the supposed 'high-definition' services finally arriving in the UK have been the landmark moment at which BBC HD, BBC One HD, ITV 1 HD and 4HD have decided to introduce clumsy logos in the top left corner that add nothing to the picture quality or enjoyment. These terrestrial channels have avoided on-screen logos until now, although the BBC tried a similar stunt when it launched on Sky Digital -- happily, customers complained and the logos disappeared.
The facts are these. No-one wants an on-screen logo on the thing they're watching. Some people don't care, but they certainly wouldn't complain if it disappeared. The likes of Danielle Nagler from the BBC will try to tell us that "in a crowded marketplace" it's necassary to identify your content with a logo. Nagler has clearly never used digital TV, as the EPG and channel banners clearly inform viewers which channel they're watching.
What broadcasters are saying to us is, "You're too stupid to comprehend how technology works and you're too braindead to understand what channel you're viewing unless we scream it at you constantly."
The on-screen search-and-scan banner. One of many reasons we don't need on-screen logos.
The BBC has gone one step further than ITV and Channel 4, and displays a BBC One HD logo on-screen even when the show isn't actually HD. So not only is the BBC graffitiing its own content, it's also lying to the public about what they're seeing. Mind you, it has managed to avoid Channel 4's mistake of having double logos during its T4 weekend content.
Look at that dog's dinner. Look at it.
You might argue none of this matters, and we've got our knickers in a twist about nothing, but we simply can't agree. Allow logos now, and before you know it, they'll be everywhere. Satellite channels in the UK and networks in the US already abuse digital graphics to the extent that as well as a channel logo, it informs you that CAPRICA IS ON NEXT or it's STEPHEN FRY WEEKEND. The BBC has already pushed the light grey logo to new, horrific, lows with the BBC Three on-screen ident, which often destroys programmes with its poor placement and bright colours.
If this doesn't annoy you, you're dead inside.
So the time is now. Either we tell the BBC we won't stand for this, or we'll be stuck in a race to the bottom, and if you've ever seen the animated in-programme pointers the US has, you'll know that's a very bad place to go. Will you join us? Use the comments below to tell us what you think, and if you're really angry, why not write to Ofcom?
An exmple of animated, US in-programme pointers. This is next, unless we do something now.