Sunday morning, 28th December 2014, and something unpleasant is going down on Comedy Central UK.
Comedy Central keeps repeating the first half of each Friends episode..
— brianhawkes (@Cafe_P_Loyal) December 28, 2014
Well Comedy Central is fucking up… Still haven't seen a full episode of friends yet
— Ell (@ellgriff98) December 28, 2014
Why is Comedy Central repeating the first half of every friends episode?!
— edie (@edi3murray) December 28, 2014
— sarah newcombe (@razzlermurnup) December 28, 2014
The friends gang are time travelling on @ComedyCentral at the moment…
— Joshua Downs (@Downsy1990) December 28, 2014
— Rowan Charlton (@RowanCharlton) December 28, 2014
@comedycentral – I'm meant to be watching Friends, not Groundhog Day…
— murphyz (@murphyz) December 28, 2014
I could go on. (I mean, I really could. It’s taken all of my willpower not to just embed every single tweet about it. There were bloody loads.)
Now, I’m not going to hazard a guess about what exactly caused this – whether it’s an error by playout, the schedulers, or a mix of the two. It’s irrelevant anyway. This is just the inevitable end result of a multichannel playout environment: in other words, having one person in charge of playing out and supervising more than more channel. Comedy Central UK will most definitely not be the only channel the TX op behind the controls will have been prepping, checking, and monitoring. You want cheap playout, then these kinds of things will happen. You don’t want errors like this on air? Then pay for one TX operator per channel and suck up the cost.
Moreover, what you really want in a situation like this is a live continuity announcer, to apologise for the problems. Of course, Comedy Central UK aren’t going to pay for that, either. But here is where social media comes into its own. Of course, a few apologetic tweets isn’t a great substitute for decent single-channel playout and live continuity, but it would be at least something. A direct connection with your audience.
So why, in the name of holy hell, did the @ComedyCentralUK account entirely ignore the complaints? Oh, they’ll happily use Twitter to pimp their stuff. But when it comes to actually engaging with people, acknowledging a problem, and offering an apology, they’re clearly not interested. Not even when they’re prodded. Considering it would only have taken a few minutes to send some apologetic tweets out, the damage in customer relations hardly seems worth it, does it?
It’s difficult to see this as anything else but Comedy Central UK having complete and utter contempt for their audience. Worth remembering next time you’re flicking around the EPG to find something to watch.