Wednesday, 17 May 2017

TV Game Show presenter - justifying your choice

There are similarities with your magazine cover star and film leads in what you need to consider and be prepared to write about:

AUDIENCE: Everything comes back to this in the end; all decisions need to be justifiable with reference to target audience. Remember you can split up and discuss the audience (type) in many ways:
  • primary (main; core), secondary
  • mainstream (eg a family audience!), niche
  • four quadrant (really a film term - say so if using it - but still a useful concept)
  • ABC1C2DE (socio-economic groups: high to low incomes, where ABC1s are targeted with complex, sophisticated media productions and C2DEs with simpler, less sophisticated productions; your range may be any range within this, eg C1C2DE for a gameshow with ANY element of sophistication or audience (intellectual) challenge
  • sophisticated, upmarket (ABC1) and tabloid, downmarket (C2DE) is another way of describing these
  • Uses and gratifications model!!! Also vital for...

REPRESENTATION: You need to tackle ALL FOUR Key Concepts to achieve a good grade, not least this one. MEDIA LANGUAGE is also important here, and you could think of the two together here:
  • Uses and gratifications is a very helpful structure to help analyse your representations
  • Are you stereotyping gender? age? national or regional identity? sexuality?
  • Are you instead countertyping any of these?
  • Perhaps its a bit of both?
  • If your representation is similar to a very familiar early/historic example, you can argue you're reflecting a well known archetype
  • If there are clear links to other existing texts, that would be intertextuality 
    • Think about what media products they're known for: film stars are often cast based on what hits they've had - and what audience they might help attract as a result
    • be careful with presenters known for more adult, post-watershed content (eg Jimmy Carr, Frankie Boyle) - though there could be humour based on them refusing to use obvious double entendres, countering audience expectations
  • You need to break down the media language you'll choose to construct your presenter/s:
    • be very clear on clothing, and how this stereo/countertypes on age etc
    • same with hair/makeup
    • does any of this seek to exploit male gaze? And/or female gaze (not what the feminist Laura Mulvey had in mind, but many writers now use this term)
    • consider body language
    • their accent may be relevant: social class stereotype/s?
    • any catchphrase/s? Do these suggest downmarket? The same every time or some slight variation; a running joke?
    • if there are co-presenters, is one clearly in control/a dominant position? Is one represented as more/less intelligent, or the butt of jokes?
    • if you are using traditional sexist roles, make sure you can justify this with clear, specific CURRENT (not historic) examples from the UK industry
    • if your presenters are contrasting, perhaps they form an intentional binary opposition ... to widen audience appeal?
    • are any non-Brits used to create secondary appeal for other national markets (even if that is mainly to promote the format and not seek revenue for screening the UK version!). With a little research you'll find Americans are sometimes used...
You need to think this through for contestants too.

INSTITUTION: You need to carefully read and reflect the detail you've got from the brief.
  • What are the implications of digital channel (as opposed to terrestrial channel: BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, C4, C5)?
  • what will that mean for the programme production budget? (you need to research existing examples!)
  • what will that mean for the number and duration of ad breaks? (research...)
  • what will that mean for the scale of prizes (research...)
  • what will that mean for the level of any celebrities? (research...) A-listers?! You could create interest by using an unexpected celebrity, such as a pop singer or sports star nearing or in retirement (John Fashinu was an early example in Gladiators way back when - but you'd need to research for recent examples to help justify your choice). Here's a good example of a left-field choice; another; another; another; another; another ... there are lots of such odd comic creations
    • 'stars' of reality TV shows, especially TOWIE, are common guests, could make a good choice as co-presenter to help boost youth/female audience (depending on the show + individual!)
  • what are your rivals; the competition in the timeslot? (research...)
  • what sort of audience do they get? (BARB viewing figures; channel's own demographic data for potential advertisers - see an earlier post on this)
  • what extra value might an app bring?
  • are there further means of monetising the product beyond the actual TV show?
  • how would you market it?
  • overall, what factors would make this successful
RESEARCH: You need to be able to write not just about your own choices, and justify these with reference to existing shows/channels/scheduling etc, but also the history of TV game shows and details of TWO specific examples, at least one of which needs to be contemporary (current/recent), including your analysis of what made/makes them successful; how they have created appeal to particular audience/s; how they reflect the growing impact and role of digitisation.

Digitisation is an important theme.

If examining an older one as well, make sure you think through what has changed, including in representation and audience - before digital and satellite TV there was spectrum scarcity: a limited few channels (only 3 terrestrial channels until 1982, when there was no significant satellite or cable TV in Britain, then 5 in 1997 by which time there were many satellite, cable and digital channels available). That means that audiences for individual shows are much smaller now that most people have a much, much greater selection of channels available. Back in 1985, nearly 40% of the whole UK population stayed up after midnight to watch a snooker final!

Research viewing figures: use BARB; the Guardian also does a weekly analysis.

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