Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Free shows!

More about free stuff and value. Not interns this time. This time, it's shows.

Television shows cost a hell of a lot more to make than a chocolate bar, so it's odd that so many programme makers would be willing to give their shows away for free, isn't it? Or even offer to pay to have their shows aired.

But it happens.

Just recently, a fairly new show gave a whole second series to one of the bigger (maybe biggest) children's channels over here for free. Well, not quite free. In return, they wanted a better time slot, just like the guy selling chocolate bars above. They wanted to have some say on when the show aired and that was worth giving the entire series away for no money whatsoever.

It's something I've mentioned before - the value of what many of us do in this industry is zero. Sometimes less than zero.

And you've got to wonder where they're making their money. Well, they're hoping it's in licensing and merchandising. Selling shit to your kids. That's what it comes down to.



There have been criticisms in the past that children's television is no more than dressed-up advertising. So many of the popular 80s cartoons were toy properties and were little more than cynical marketing ploys. Ploys many of us remember with fond nostalgia. Because we were total suckers. We were just children - a completely innocent audience. A victim unable to distinguish between entertainment and exploitation.


With shows being given away for free, that criticism needs to be brought to the fore right now. Because, unfortunately, it can be the only way these shows remain, like Michael Douglas in Falling Down, commercially viable. Either people need to accept that in order to get television shows for their children, they need to allow their children to be targets of advertising (and I don't think people should ever accept that)....

Or...

The entire business model of children's television needs to be torn down, examined and rebuilt.

1 comment:

Andy J. Latham said...

Does the problem stop with just kids shows though? So many films and TV shows for adults are dressed up adverts with all the product placement. I'd like to say that at least adults can distinguish between entertainment and exploitation, but I'm not sure that's always the case. Advertising is a powerful thing, sadly.