The First Day of Formats

Sorry, I’m going to start this with a little scream of excitement… “Yeahhhhh”. I’ve been really excited about starting this module and today was the first day.

We started off with a lecture to find out what a format actually is. It is actually 95% of what we watch on TV. So generally, if you watch TV, you watch formats. It is ESSENTIAL for TV to work, and get it right, you can make a fortune.

  • Format;- “When the cluster of production ideas and techniques that comprise a programme in one television market is used to make a similar programme, usually in another domestic market, this is defined as format adaptation or programme cloning.” (Amos Owen Thomas : Cultural economics of TV programme cloning: or why India has produced multi-“millionaires” )(2006)
Formats is simply a formulae or a recipe that repeats itself and is entertaining. It crosses cultural and language boundaries so that it can be sold around the world.
Here is a simple definition to what companies think of formats;
“In their highly competitive national television markets, broadcasters increasingly look for ‘sure shot’, ‘quick fit’, and ‘hit’ solutions – television formats provide them with a solution. Formats cost less time and money to produce than to create original shows and they have usually proven their ratings worth in more than one television market before being brought to be sold. Besides getting the broadcasters the required viewing figures and hence high advertising revenues, formats also have a high potential for merchandising, multimedia games, phone-in revenue and other brand extensions. These additional revenue streams further increase the allure of formats for broadcasters. This is evidenced by the huge sums of money broadcasters are prepared to pay in various territories or markets for a license or option to an original successful format. The license fees alone for a successful format can cost broadcasters in Western Europe up to £30,000 for 20 to 30 episodes (of 1 hour duration) for one season!”
Endemol is perhaps the biggest formats producer in the world. It started in Holland in 1994 by Jon de Mol. It’s first success was and has been Big Brother, but the highest grossing format has been Deal or No Deal. It has 80 companies under it’s umbrella, spanning across 26 countries to make over 40,000 hours of content each year. It’s UK branch is called Remarkable Television.
The next part of the day was spent choosing our roles for our TV production. My main selection was to be the presenter, with director as my second choice. 2 major roles but I think I have the personality, confidence and skill set for both of the roles. I was up against 5 others for the role of presenter, with only 2 slots available. During the voting process, we were asked to present the opening to a movie quiz which I thought I aced. So did the group as they chose me as of the presenters. I was very very happy!
The final part of the day and the last seminar was basically us being put into small groups and then to pick various pieces of paper with a particular format on, emotions and objects and as a group we had to come up with an idea which involved all those things. was good fun and a good way sparking some very original ideas.We came up with some crazy ideas though, perhaps the weirdest being a talent show where people had to fish with knives. It would never work, but it was good to get a laugh! Overall it was a lengthy day, but on the bright, I was very happy and relieved to have chosen formats as my first module!
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