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TV Industry Notes

by: Matt LeVay

TV Industry Notes RTV 3405

Marketplace > University of Florida > RTV 3405 > TV Industry Notes
Matt LeVay
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About this Document

These notes cover the specifics of the television industry.
TV and American Society
Robert H. Wells
Class Notes
production, distribution, transmission




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Matt LeVay on Thursday September 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to RTV 3405 at University of Florida taught by Robert H. Wells in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views.

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Date Created: 09/08/16
THE TV INDUSTRY How do programs get into our TV sets? • There is no one set way as to how programs get on television • Different forms of production, distribution, and transmission Production - Roles include: • Creative Team - Show-runner, director, screenwriter • Production - Executive producer, line producer, production manager, production coordinator • Others - Location, camera, sound, grip, art, wardrobe and make-up, post production, visual effects The show-runner helps to manage the production process from concept to continuing series. Popular show-runners include: • Chuck Lorre (Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men) • Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy and Scandal) • Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock) TV production challenges include: • Regular production of unique material • Short production cycles *Seinfeld aired for nine seasons with 180 episodes (30 minutes each). This totaled 6,240 minutes, the equivalent of 22 Avatar movies* How do production companies make money? Deficit Financing: • Networks pay licensing fees to production companies to air programs. However, not enough money is made to cover the cost of production. As a result of deficit financing: 1. Production companies take most of the risk 2. For networks, this minimizes the risk and cost of developing and airing a program 3. Profit for production companies comes from syndication Distribution: Who are distributors? Networks - • Still the most powerful distributors • Have a large amount of affiliated channels. Affiliated channels are paid clearance fees for opening their airwaves to network programs. Programming Strategies: • Block scheduling (stacking) - Back-to-back scheduling of similar shows • Cross-programming - Extending a story arc between episodes of two different shows (guest star from another show appears in a different show). • Counter programming - Use programs that might attract a different audience than the competition, especially when facing a hit show • Challenge programming - A network moves a hit into a time slot dominated by another network in order to try to take over the night's ratings • Hammocking - Placing a new or unpopular program in between popular ones • Tent-poling - Placing a popular program between two unpopular ones • Hot-switching - Eliminating advertisements between shows to avoid channel switching Cable and Satellite Channels: • Branded for unique audiences (narrowcasting) - EX: MTV became very popular for its unique "no-filter" shows like South-park • Experiment with new shows Syndication: Sale of broadcasting rights to multiple channels First-run syndication • Can be shown on channel that purchases them • New episodes, not old reruns • EX: Ellen, Wheel of Fortune Off-network reruns • The show has already run on a network and now airs as reruns in syndication • EX: Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, Friends Reruns can be very profitable for a show's producers. For example, Seinfeld aired on NBC from 1989-1998. Columbia TriStar started syndicating the show in 1994. In 1998, TBS paid around $120-180 million for all 180 episodes. As of 2013, it has generated more than $3.1 billion since it last aired on NBC. Transmission Who does the transmission? Broadcast stations 1952-2009 1. VHF 2. UHF (more affected by interference - created two tiers) After 2009, there are no longer two tiers because of digitalization. Types of Television Stations: • O&O (Owned and Operated): Stations that are directly owned by networks; run all network programming • Network Affiliated: Runs some network programming • Non-affiliated: Have no network affiliation (EX: MeTV) Cable Systems: Protected by municipal franchise rights to an area. Because it is so expensive to run cables in an area, the cable company is given exclusive (franchise) rights to an area, leading to a monopoly. • This covers cable installation costs and prevents competition Multiple-system operators control the market in an oligopoly (meaning higher prices for consumers) Cable "must carry" federal regulation: • Cable services must carry local broadcast programs • This helped UHF stations Retransmission consent: • Broadcast stations waive their must-carry protection to charge a subscription fee to cable • If a money deal is not agreed upon, a station may not be carried • Cable often needs popular network programming Other forms of transmission: • Premium channels (such as HBO) • Pay-per-view (PPV) • Video-on-demand (VOD) • Satellite (DirectTV, Dish) Structure of Media Ownership Vertical Integration: One company controls all stages of its business (production, distribution, transmission) Horizontal Integration: One company owns multiple media (TV, magazines, Internet) Regulation: • 1960s - little regulation of TV industry in regards to ownership • 1970s - FCC passes anti-concentration measures; Financial Interest and Syndication Rules (Fin-Syn) • 1980s - Reagan-administration-appointed FCC commissioners ⿞Not concerned about media ownership ⿞Fox network enters the market (1986) • 1990s - Fin-Syn repealed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 ⿞More anti-trust regulations lifted • Networks have not lost viewers as much as shifted them to other corporate holdings How to create a hit? • The television industry doesn't know either • To minimize risks, producers often rely on formulas • Clones of other successful programs • Lowest common denominator (sometimes) How to make your own program: • Pitch your ideas • Pitch meeting • Pilot production (partially financed by network) • Market testing (focus groups, interviews, surveys) Pilot success rate: • Testing is speculative and in-exact • Some flops tested well (Emeril), while some future hits tested low (Seinfeld) • Only around 10% of pitches move forward in development • Less than 1% get a series in order • Majority of programs are cancelled by the end of their first season In order to have a successful pilot, there has to be a balance between a commercial appeal and new/creative content. Innovative programs can be surprise hits, such as the Simpsons. Programs that are primarily imitative and formulaic are more likely to make it to the airwaves but rarely become major hits. Television production in the convergence era: How to make your own program (in the convergence era): • Kick-starter • YouTube channels: Per-Die-Pie has more than 39 million subscribers, generating more than $4 million a year • Even television stars are seeking new routes (EX: Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in a Car Getting Coffee)


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