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I grew up in the age of linear television,
when most people in Britain had a\h choice of only four or five channels
and when a lot of the nation watched\h the same shows at the same time.
And when a medium has that much power,
it gets regulated heavily.
Some of those regulations are sensible,
and some do sound a bit strange
if you've never heard of them before.
I'm not including things that break other laws,
or anything vague like "cause offense"\h that's true basically everywhere,
just with a different definition\h of what "offense" means.
These are things that you can publish on YouTube,
that you might well be able to broadcast\h in other countries in the world,
but that you cannot do on British television.
Any demonstrations of hypnosis on stage\h must be licensed: and that's still true.
The fine for unlicensed\h stage hypnosis can be £1,000.
Local councils still regulate that.
Because back in the 50s, that was a concern.
Hypnosis was a bit scary.
To the point where there was a glut of low\h budget horror movies about hypnotic possession.
So stage hypnosis was licensed,\h and television hypnosis was banned.
Now these days, that regulation isn't\h there because they're worried about
some evil hypnotist taking over\h the world through the television,
although that was a plot point in terrifying\h 90s kids show The Demon Headmaster.
Although, let's just say that child\h actors have got a bit better direction
in the years since then.
"I don't get it. I really Do Not Get It."
But better safe than sorry.
If you did broadcast a hypnotic\h induction to millions of people,
then the chances are that\h someone is going to believe
that it's done them some damage.
Except. You can absolutely get\h away with that if you're careful.
In 2009 illusionist Derren Brown performed a stunt
in which he played out a "subliminal film"
which he claimed would make\h some of the folks watching
feel like they were stuck to\h their chair. He also said:
"The film is not effective at a lower resolution,
"so if it gets posted on\h the internet it won't work."
Which is ludicrous.
British television was low-bitrate\h standard-definition digital by then anyway.
Those are lies.
But they are a magician's lies,\h so they're part of the show.
"...find yourself stuck, locked, glued,\h gelled, cemented, bonded, fused..."
That's a textbook hypnotic induction technique.
I mean that literally, I\h checked a hypnosis textbook.
And there's almost two minutes of it,
complete with slow-eye contact zoom!
But he didn't say it was hypnosis.
He never claimed to be hypnotizing people.
He's just influencing with\h some words and some wavy lines
and there were only five complaints\h about it to the regulator,
who didn't investigate.
But officially and legally you can't\h try to hypnotize people over the air.
There's a list of sporting\h events, defined by Parliament,
that must be available on free-to-air television.
This goes back to 1996,
when paid television\h channels, satellite and cable,
were becoming a thing in Britain.
Those services had a lot of money, and in theory,
they could outbid the free-to-air\h channels for things like
the Olympics, and Wimbledon, and\h football and rugby cup finals,
and, uh, some horse racing.
So Parliament put a law in place:
pay-for television services\h cannot broadcast any of those
unless the rights are also available at\h a fair price to free-to-air channels.
Although it also works the other way.
Free-to-air channels can't lock\h up exclusive rights either,
because that would be unfair to the paid...
look, it's complicated and it's messy,
and there are all sorts of rules to try and\h establish some sort of level playing field
while also making sure that the World\h Cup final doesn't go pay-per-view.
Incidentally while I was\h researching this I found that
other European countries\h have a similar list of events
and there are some wonderful\h national stereotypes in there.
Austria: World Nordic Skiing Championships.
Finland: the Ice Hockey World Championships.
And Ireland: the hurling finals.
This all makes sense.
Governments do not want events\h of national cultural importance,
and those sporting events are that,
they don't want those events to become irrelevant
because they're only available\h to people who can pay.
That's not in the modern sense of fake news,
although the regulations say reporting\h does have to be neutral over here as well,
but fake news in the War of the\h Worlds radio broadcast sense.
You can't risk someone flipping through channels
only to land on your fictional news story
and think there's been some disaster.
You can see this in action in Crisis Command,
a brilliant and ahead-of-its-time show from 2004
where three people are asked\h to deal with a fictional crisis
as if they were government ministers.
The story plays out through\h fictional news broadcasts
that use actual BBC reporters\h and actual BBC newsrooms.
"Britain is under attack."
So to get around the rule, the\h footage is always shown in context.
Never full screen.
There's always someone else in frame
or walking through the shot sometimes.
And the same happens in drama shows.
A news report about the end of the\h world must always be in context.
Now as far as I can tell no one's\h trying to get around this lately.
The last time I know of,
or at least the last time that\h something sort-of like this happened,
was the now-legendary Ghostwatch,
on Halloween night, 1992.
It pretended to be a live ghost investigation
hosted by genuine real-life trusted presenters
and of course: it Goes Wrong.
Now, it was introduced in context:
"Screen One presents an unusual\h and sometimes disturbing film..."
- but if you missed that context,\h well, it was a clever show.
It knew how to use and misuse the medium,
and it scared quite a lot of people.
And it influenced a generation\h of writers and producers.
Not technically news, though.
Given the tabloid fury afterwards,\h no one's made anything similar since,
although after nearly 30 years we are\h probably about due for someone to try it.
There are exemptions for channels with
low budgets and small audience shares
and for broadcasters who are just starting out,
but even from day one, as an absolute minimum,
10% of a channel's output has\h to have subtitles as an option.
Once the channel's established\h that goes up to 80%.
Plus, 10% has to have optional audio description.
5% must have sign language, even if\h that's just added on a late night repeat.
Accessibility should be a right and a legal duty
and occasionally channels do get\h called out for forgetting that.
Controversial opinion: this should\h be true for YouTube as well.
Not for small channels just starting out,
but I do think that if you have\h the sort of YouTube channel
that spends, let's say a decent amount of money,
or a decent amount of time on--
[Music]
-- it's like two dollars a minute maximum,
or just a little bit of your time --
[Music]
"Oh look at me, I've bought a Lamborghini!"
Buy some damn subtitles. Also...
I could do a whole video on\h advertising law and product placement.
I still intend to at some point,\h I've been promising it for ages.
But I do want to highlight just one specific rule:
12 minutes per hour.
The maximum amount of commercials\h allowed on all British channels.
For some of the older channels it's even less,
seven or eight minutes per hour. And that's it.
There are a few other rules about
how far apart commercial\hbreaks can be from each other
and how long they can be
and occasional small loopholes\h for odd circumstances,
but the big number is: 12\h minutes per hour maximum.
And that's not some rolling-average total.
That's per hour on the clock,\h which means that channels
will juggle their schedule by a\h couple of minutes to fit things in.
If there's a less popular show right\h before a primetime ratings-grabber,
that less popular show might have\h no adverts in the middle at all.
Sure, they might still take a break,
show a couple of trailers for their own channel
that don't count towards\h that big time on the clock,
but the schedulers will make sure that
there's as much advertising as possible
just before the top of the\h hour, just before the big show,
and then just after the top of the next hour.
There is an art to fitting all that in,
and out of all these rules,
this is the one thing that\h you cannot get away with.
The regulator checks. They will notice
and many channels have been pulled up on it.
But there was one thing that I did\h notice while I was researching this.
There is one other line in\h those rules which says that
commercial breaks must be taken in a way
that doesn't disrupt the flow of the program.
I explicitly rules out that Who\hWants To Be A Millionaire trick
where someone has just chosen their answer,
and it's all dramatic, and the host says...
"Time for a break."
Like, it's really clear that's not allowed.
There's no other way to read that sentence.
But the show's hosts have been\h doing that for 20 years now
and they've never been called on it.
There are some rules, apparently,\h where entertainment can come first.