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BBC abolishes crunched credits in face of Equity campaign

16 July 2013

The BBC has abolished the practice of squeezing credits at the end of programmes after Equity research demonstrated that it infuriated viewers.

The practice was quietly dispensed with last Friday (12 July 2013) in favour of a new system which informs viewers about upcoming programmes without squeezing credits to a corner of the screen.

The announcement was made by new BBC director-general Tony Hall in an interview with the Radio Times.

The BBC’s move has been welcomed by  Equity which has long campaigned against the practise.

Equity assistant general secretary Martin Brown told “Equity members will be delighted that the ending of credit squeezing at the BBC. We know from our own research that legible credits are as important to audiences as they are to our members and we applaud the BBC for making this change”.

The practice has also long infuriated viewers and in 2007 Mark Thompson, then BBC director general, received what was said to be an irate letter from Equity Trustee Dame Judi Dench who complained about credit squeezing. The BBC's new credit policy will affect all new programming but it may prove impossible to change the credits sequence on some archive programmes.

Last year Equity published research in which a large number of the 10,000 respondents to a survey expressed near universal disgust with credit squeezing, complaining how it ruined their viewing experience and prompted them to switch sides.

Sky has already promised to abolish the practice altogether after its own research found three-quarters of its own viewers believe that these are important for actors and has promised that end credits on programmes commissioned and acquired.

Sky’s own research found more than a third of its customers – 36% – like to read end credits, and 39% feel they are “important” for viewers. About three-quarters of its viewers – 71% – also say “end credits are important for actors”.

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