Tuesday, 30 October 2018

CLASS TV vertical integration and Netflix cancellations

Netflix is essentially clearing out its shows produced in partnership with conglomerates (Disney, Warner Bros) who are about to launch their own Netflix-rivalling streaming services.

In Britain there has been much discussion and debate over the need for a modern, global streaming service to prevent the slow death of domestic UK TV production.

The funding of the BBC is part of the reason it's pioneering iPlayer is a firewalled UK-only service. The BBC also buys in rights from American and occasionally European producers, and often co-produces with international partners - again, especially American networks.

Just as in the film industry an Indie (as the BBC essentially is) like Warp cannot commercially compete with conglomerate rivals like Working Title, so the BBC cannot compete with Sky (all the more so when Murdoch completes the sale!), currently it's main vertically integrated conglomerate and big six rival.

Would Class have survived if the BBC was focused on the international market as much as the domestic, UK market?

Basically ... yes.

Working Title succeeds on a commercial (box office) scale way beyond Warp Films because it's productions begin with a focus on the US market (10 times the size of the home market, following the Gant Rule!) and beyond, and the conglomerate funding and global distribution from parent company NBC-Universal make this possible.

Unless Auntie Beeb looks beyond the UK market then there will be more cancelled shows like Class, deemed too expensive for a niche portion of the home market. It does have a global commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, with channels like BBC America, but no globally accessible online distribution platform like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

It has also been found guilty by OfCom, which regulates commercial TV (ie, not funded by the license fee) and now also the BBC, of failing to adequately serve the youth audience, whose weekly time spent on BBC platforms (which includes dominant radio stations) is far below that of the 25+ age range.

All of the above analysis is an example of the WIDER CONTEXTS you need to consider for your exams.


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