Sky stops squeezing programme end credits

Actors' union Equity wants other broadcasters to follow suit - so should they?

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Sky stops squeezing programme end credits
Written By
Jack Seale

Sky has stopped squashing programmes' end credits into the corner of the screen, following a campaign by actors' union Equity. In a process that began on 22 October and will be completed by tomorrow, all Sky channels now allot "significantly more space" to end credits.

Squeezed or fast-moving credits have long been a bugbear of viewers, but in recent years channels have pointed to research suggesting that, in a competitive multichannel world, retaining viewers at the end of one programme by advertising the next one is more important than properly acknowledging cast and crew.

All that, however, could be about to change, with Sky the first broadcaster to cave in to a campaign by Equity, which claims that squashed credits can damage actors' careers.

An Equity survey published in February revealed that 89% of viewers were "very annoyed" by the now-universal practice of minimising end credits to make space for advertising upcoming programmes. The union surveyed 10,000 people before putting its concerns to broadcasters.

In response, Sky commissioned a survey of its own customers. There the numbers were less conclusive, with 36% saying they liked to read end credits, although more than half agreed they should fill the entire screen. 71% thought end credits "are important for actors".

Sophie Turner Laing, managing director of entertainment, news and broadcast operations at Sky, said: "When Equity raised the issue of end credits with us, it was important to address their concerns comprehensively and quickly. We spoke to our customers, and their suggestions were instrumental in shaping the changes that we have made to end credits on all our channels.

"It’s clear that this is an important issue to Equity members and our customers alike, and we’re delighted to have implemented a new strategy onscreen that works for everyone."

Equity spokesman Martin Brown said: "Equity is delighted. Sky listened to their viewers and then took decisive action. This will be applauded by Equity members and the viewing public alike. We hope other broadcasters will follow suit."

The campaign has won only a partial victory at the BBC. "Our research shows that credit squeezes can be effective in helping audiences to find relevant content, both on TV and on other platforms," a spokesperson told RadioTimes.com. "However, we agree with Equity that we should be careful and sensitive in our use of them and we have amended the principles with which we plan credit squeezes, restricting their use to situations where they are of direct relevance to each programme's audience."

What do you think? Do squished credits drive you barmy, or doesn't it matter who played the supporting roles or operated the rostrum camera? Have your say here...

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