Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Catching up with Craft TV

Being in the middle of two weeks’ annual leave, I’ve had chance to check out the three British TV craft channels: Create and Craft, Hochanda and The Craft Channel.

Of course, they’re not really craft channels – they are shopping TV and the primary focus of all of them is to get us to buy their products.  Create and Craft (C and C) is the old-hand at this, with Create and Craft and Hochanda both starting in 2015. This review however, isn't focussed on the shipping costs or the customer service ...just, are they any fun to watch? 

I must first say that I never sit and watch these on the TV. I like to put them on my PC, in the background, while I’m crafting. If they don’t irritate me, and if I find the occasional reason to pause and watch, they are doing well!

The first thing I’ve noticed about these three channels is that they have more similarities than differences. Most of the presenters and guests on the new channels are familiar from either C and C, or from when QVC used to do craft shows. It’s often hard to remember which channel you’re watching …and clearly, from all slip-ups , many of the guests and presenters forget where they are too!

Not only are the people familiar, most of the products are too. Many of the brands featured on the new channels have migrated from C and C. On several occasions there were manual die-cutting brands on all three channels – and C and C often broadcasts two different die brands in a row. As I rarely buy manual dies, I find this quite boring.

Of the new channels, Hochanda seems the most varied, featuring a range of crafts and hobbies. I’ve enjoyed seeing some different crafts (eg embroidery) even though I probably won’t try them. The down- side is that sometimes I’ve turned on to find 'collectables' or car care shows, that do not interest me at all. Many of the more ‘arty’ craft brands, such as Clarity and Sheena Douglass, have moved to Hochanda.

If I had to ascribe personalities to these three very similar channels, I would say that I feel The Craft Channel seems slightly more dated than the others. Many of the presenters are ex-QVC and I often feel that the programmes seem stuck back then. I may be being unfair as this is the channel I’ve watched the least – firstly, because it closes down in the evening, and secondly because for some reason this channel alone seems to have technical difficulties on my computer, often making it unwatchable.

So, having watched more craft shopping TV than usual, have I developed a favourite? There’s not a lot in it, but I think, overall, Hochanda came out best for me.

I would love to hear other opinions on this – please leave a comment.