February 1958 Radio-Electronics
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Electronics,
published 1930-1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
The more things change,
the more they remain the same. People (including, admittedly, me) don't want to
have to pay for any type of media delivery, especially when it arrives via air waves
or the Internet. We expect to pay for print media like books, newspapers, and magazines...
unless they are available online, in which case they should be free. Six months
before I was born, a reader of Radio-Electronics magazine wrote to declare
his outrage at the fledgling industry of Pay Television. That a viewer would be
expected to pay the broadcaster for a show that was being, in his opinion, amply
subsidized by advertisers, was an outrageous concept, an unthinkable assault on
all that is holy. While his indignation was probably shared by the majority of the
television viewing public, evidently the maniacal scheme succeeded. In the 1950s
and even through part of the 1970s, television shows typically included about 10-12
minutes of commercials and other non-show segments for each hour of broadcast. Season
1, Episode 1 of Star Trek, for
example, ran for 50 minutes; that was in 1966. In 1985, the first episode of
MacGyver ran for 48 minutes -
two more minutes of commercial time. In 2005, the first episode of
NUMB3RS ran for 43 minutes -
with 17 minutes of commercials. I have no idea what the latest shows have for commercial
time. At some point, singularity will probably be reached where equal time is allocated
to the main feature and commercials.
See also, "Will You Pay for TV?," in a 1957 Radio & Popular Electronics
and "New 'Pay-As-You-Watch' System," in a 1953 Radio & Television
Stop Pay TV
It shocks me to find that there are so many people who would accept pay TV. This
is not for me! Never in a million years! TV stations are paid by companies whose
advertisements they spout. They get paid plenty too. So now we're going to have
to pay the TV companies for the right to watch programs which were made to be watched
for the price of the set and a little extra added to our electric bills. Not only
that, but we will have to shell out to a group who have absolutely no right to the
TV sets of millions of people all over the country. All this, just because they
see a quick way to make money.
I'm sure that if enough people get together we could stop pay TV dead in its
tracks. I'd sure like to hear of more people who are with me in his matter. I'd
like to hear the news of those who are for pay TV too.
The show must go on, but without a little pay box on top of the set! Toll TV
must be stopped!
(Name withheld by request) Brooklyn, N. Y.
Posted March 19, 2019