26 November, 2006

Man’s best friend – DOG’s (pop-ups & banners)

Posted in Channel Related at 22:47 by Cam

The term DOG in relation to TV has always provoked a fair amount of head scratching and confusion as the reader does not initially realise that we are referring to the ‘graphics’ displayed on the screen over the top of the current program. Many people instantly realise what we mean when referring to the channel logo or identity and this makes sense as the two things are in fact the same. DOG actually stands for Digital On Screen Graphic (wikipedia) although I have seen them also referred to as Digital Originated Graphics. Other countries have different names for them with the US & Canada giving them the most appropriate name of Bug.

I for one loath these things and feel that there really needs to be some sort of control placed on channels to limit their use. While complaints can be made to Ofcom this will only have an affect on the main channels (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 & Five) as all the others are largely unregulated in terms of how they use DOG’s. Of course the answer given by many people is to simply stop watching the program, or in fact the whole channel, if the displaying of graphics annoys you. Well yes that is one answer and something I have done and continue to do but in my opinion is very short sighted. To some extent what we see now is the thin edge of the wedge and over time the channels will start displaying more and more on screen graphics until the majority of the screen is taken over by them. This is already evident on the music and news channels where there can be 3 or 4 different graphics going at once.

The point of them of course is to try and ‘promote’ the brand i.e. the channel and in a lot of cases this can be done acceptably by the use of a small transparent logo in the corner. I favour the American approach by having the logo in the bottom right corner as this way none of the actors faces get obscured and by and large does not impact on and area of the screen where you will likely be looking. The UK’s approach of placing them in the top left or right does obscure faces and areas of the program you will naturally be looking at as seen below. This also highlights thobscured contente other increasing problem of channels promoting other programs by displaying up to three lines of solid, bright white text on the screen. This text can either be displayed permanently throughout the current program (and subsequent programs) or in the form of a pop-up displayed for several seconds and then disappearing. In the case shown these two lines of text were displayed permanently on just about every program for over a week. Needless to say I have not watched Sky Three since and when channel hopping I see they are still doing it.

For those interested this is being discussed on Digital Spy at the moment DOG discussion.

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