A Christmas Carol 2 … The Rewrap!

Incredible as it may seem, 2012 is already looking a lot more like “last year” than it looks like “this year” … and as we approach the silly season, our thoughts turn naturally towards the giving and receiving of gifts. Of course, courtesy of Sarbanes Oxley, we in media frown upon the practice of gift giving, although we still retain something of a latent fondness for gift receiving as an instrument of relationship management.

Now, as an ardent admirer of Dickens’ Scrooge, I have over the years learned quite a bit about the principles underlying sustainable Christmas gift planning. The central tenant of Sustainable Christmas Gifting (SCG) is, of course, that the resource itself must be renewable.  So not only is the recycling of last year’s Christmas gifts very responsible behaviour, from an environmental perspective, it also means you are shouldering your responsibility in terms of the global debt crisis!

In short, don’t spend money when you don’t have to, or, as Scrooge would have put it, “Bah, humbug”! Of course people who don’t understand the SCG principle, invariably get themselves into financial hot water. Hence the old Yuletide adage, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts”!

Obviously SCG is not a new concept, as any last born child would know, but there are a few rules of which you should take note when you give away this Christmas, the gifts that you received last Christmas.

Rule #1: Don’t give the gifts back to the people who gave them to you in the first place!

Rule #2: Make the gift look really attractive, by wrapping the parcel neatly!

Rule #3: Always use new wrapping paper, because using the same wrapping paper that the gifts came in originally, is a total give away.

So, as a Scroogephile,  you can imagine how thrilled I was this week to receive correspondence this week from DSTV Media Sales, introducing their “brand new” movie channels and offering me inter alia the opportunity to “revisit” some of my most magical movie moments (Showcase: Channel 108) or see some of my “best loved” actors and movies (Stars: Channel 111).

Now I love Tag Clouds, almost as much as I love SCG. Tag Clouds are Google’s way of helping media psychoanalysts to highlight Freudian slips in any piece of trade communication. So take look at the Tag Cloud of DSTV’s “new channel launch” communiqué! What does it reveal?


Well not surprisingly, it reveals we get movies, or more specifically, we get M-Net movies.  There’s action … drama … romance & comedy … and, of course, films for the family. A glimpse of the best that Hollywood can offer!

Or, like the Ghost of Christmas Past, does it provide us with a glimpse of the best that Hollywood has already offered a long time ago?

What word is missing in the Tag Cloud?

What’s the one word you would expect to find in a communiqué on DSTV’s “NEW” channel launch?

You got it … the word NEW!

Here’s the thing. You can wrap last year’s Christmas present in new paper but it’s still last year’s Christmas present. And you can package last year’s movies in a new channel, but they are still last year’s movies.

Given that almost half of DSTV subscriber households are Compact subscribers, who may not have had the opportunity to previously view these movies, these channels may well represent value in that segment. But for the early adopters, who have had the Premium bouquet for some time, one wonders whether the “new” DSTV Movie Channels mightn’t be the best thing that’s ever happened to DSTV Box Office?  

So, from a media perspective, I guess the question for TV planners is simply … “what kind of premium do you place on a TV rerun”?

In Dickens’ Christmas Carol, Marley’s ghost reminds Scrooge …

“It is required of every man, that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide …and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.”

I guess the same thing applies to MNet movies!

A Merry Christmas to One and All!