Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Adult conundrum: You're probably going to miss it because M-Net is showing the sci-fi TV mini-series, Childhood's End, on one of its M-Net Movies channels.

The devil's in the details:  Once again DStv subscribers and M-Net viewers who are the potential audience and who would potentially be interested in watching it, will likely miss out on watching the new science fiction mini-series Childhood's End.

M-Net is literally once again scheduling and showing it wholly wrongly on one of its M-Net Movies channels instead of on M-Net Edge (DStv 102) or M-Net (DStv 101).

Once again M-Net is not slotting programming where that programming belongs - where viewers and DStv subscribers would most expect to find it. The result: It comes, and goes, and it's gone, followed by anger and regret once you discover it's been on and gone already. 

In February 2015 I first reported that Childhood's End is coming as a new upcoming science fiction drama mini-series, based on science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke's novel. 

In February this year I reported that Childhood's End wasn't yet scheduled for any M-Net channel.

In the series, an alien visits Earth, takes over certain civilisation "things", gets a human "representative" to speak for him while humanity wonders about the alien's true good or bad intentions, and then more things (heaps of twists!) take place.

Well, Childhood's End has clearly now been scheduled alright, and it will play out not on M-Net Edge (DStv 102) where it belongs most (given what M-Net Edge shows and has shown there before), or M-Net (DStv 101) late-night ... but on M-Net Movies Action+ (DStv 106) with the first episode at 06:00 on the morning on Thursday 14 July.

Who makes these scheduling decisions? Who actually isn't reading up on, and watching the actual content before slotting or allocating it? Why is Childhood's End on M-Net Action+ if the exact same type of shows like Ascension, Under the Dome, Defiance, Dominion, Helix and The Magicians are on M-Net Edge?

Like Lucifer on M-Net Edge, there is a great twist in Childhood's End that also has a "devil" in it. So why is the one show on M-Net Edge, and the other show on M-Net Movies Action+? 

If you actually watch both you will see how they "fit" together, right down to the same type of character that's presumed bad, that's actually good. 

It even has Mike Vogel as one of the lead characters, who was also one of the main ensemble cast members of Under the Dome

If you work in television scheduling, my assumption is that something should tell you or you should know, that if you've watched the content you've bought, that a viewer who was shown and watched the science fiction drama Under the Dome on a specific TV channel with Mike Vogel, might be interested in watching Mike Vogel in another, very similar, and also science fiction drama on the same channel.  

I only happened to notice that Childhood's End is coming up on M-Net Movies Action+ this week during my weekly long slog on Sundays scanning and scrolling through the DStv electronic programme guide (EPG) for the upcoming week. 

Normal viewers don't do that. Someone who might want to watch Childhood's End, won't know it's finally showing - on a whole other not-right-fit channel.

Last month M-Net said it will work harder to make it easier for DStv subscribers to find the right programming on the right M-Net channels provided to MultiChoice's satellite pay-TV service, as well as, presumably, "allocate" and schedule acquired programming better so that viewers know where to expect what shows.

Well, Childhood's End is another classic example of how M-Net, in my view, is slotting and allocating content wrongly, where viewers won't find it, won't expect it, and won't even know it's showing. 

Perhaps we do need Overlords. Perhaps as a TV making and watching species we are too like children to properly programme for ourselves.

Whatever the case, M-Net slotting Childhood's End on M-Net Movies Action+ instead of on M-Net Edge is definitely a case of "the devil may care" - and you'll come to understand exactly what I mean, if you watch it.