David and Sandy, an American couple living in New Zealand for a year, have posted their thoughts on the difference between NZ and US TV. It’s a fascinating perspective:
It took us a little while to get used to it, but a television show doesn’t necessarily start at the same time everyday. For example, Letterman comes on sometime around 10pm each night, but it may be 9:50, 10:05, 10:25, 10:40 – you never know for certain unless you refer to the TV schedule.
Also, they don’t play many repeats. For example, ‘The Office’ will be on for about 8 weeks and then it will be off for maybe 6 months and then when the next season is available, it will be on again. They rotate shows like this all the time.
They don’t have “sweeps” month like they do in the States. It certainly doesn’t feel like stations are competing against each other in any way.
Quite often commercial breaks are only about a minute long and it’s not really a commercial at all, it’s just a promo for a movie or show on that channel or another channel for that matter.
What is normally a 30 minute show at home actually airs in about 25 minutes here because there are far fewer commercials.
For Dave and I, the lack of commercials is a bit of a drawback only because the commercials are so funny here. In so many ways, it really does show how prude and stiff we are in the States when it comes to humour. They are simply able to laugh at themselves here and at matters that are taboo in the States. There are commercials that air here for American brand names that we are certain wouldn’t be aired in the States – simply because Americans would find them offensive, even though they aren’t meant to be taken offensively at all.