What is the future for formats?

Formats completely dominate our schedules. From Big Brother, to Deal or No Deal, these shows are on our Television and radio sets every day. There are always new shows being produced and the idea of a format is ever changing.

For the audience is the sense of being hooked into the show with that idea of competition. Although perhaps not natural, human beings love seeing people fail and a typical format show will have that aspect in there. Even the most simplest idea can be made into a successful format.

The table above shows the most successful formats in our schedules. The table is dominated by Europe and American shows which is quite surprising as the amount of people that live in Asia should effect the stats. You can also see that there are only 2 formats which were made before the millenium which shows that the new age of TV viewers prefer the new style of formats. Perhaps this is because of the massuve cash prizes instead of the old-school prizes of holidays, caravans and speedboats.

So where do formats go from here? Well, as long as new ideas are being thought of and there is enough money available then formats will always be around on our schedules. They tend to be cheaper to make then the standard set of programmes on TV as they are often made in massive blocks so it is cheaper to rent studio space. With organisations such as the BBC cutting major amounts of money (£700 by 2016/2017) they may feel that they don’t wish to spend so much on making formats, of which the BBC are focussing more content on drama and comedy.

As long as the format being produced is easy on the eye, has some sense of achievement and uses new ideas the user will not get bored of viewing a format. Saying this, Countdown the popular UK gameshow has been our screens for over 25 years and that hasn’t changed in it’s way.

Formats may need to move into the internet and online distribution in the future. This will save costs without having to spend money on licensing the show for TV viewing and may bring a new type of viewer to the content that may not be available when distributing the show via the normal means.

In regards to radio, the reason why they are perhaps so dominate is that a lot lot of people listen in the car, at work, or just have it on in the background. It’s always available to the viewer in many different ways such as the radio set itself, a tv or mobile phones.

With the BBC making huge cuts especially in local radio, the future does look bleak. With the increase in listeners however, how can it be justified in making these cuts? I feel the BBC need to re-think their strategies in regards to local radio. They may need to re-shape the typical format for radio to keep the apetite high for radio but not too drastically. I also feel by adding more of a visual feel to radio, it may change it’s fortunes.

To stay successful, both old and new formats have to be able to adapt to keep the viewers.


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