Monday, March 1, 2010

An Awfully Competitive Community

I just finished reading the last three chapters that I assigned myself from The Children's Television Community. These included descriptions of the different kinds of production models. It briefly discussed the CTW or Sesame Workshop model of production, content, and research being of equal value in the development of a program. This was a unique idea that had a huge impact on both PBS and cable programs.
There was a chapter written about the PBS model and one about the cable model written by PBS and Cartoon Network staff members respectively. Below are some of the highlights from each chapter and distinctions I discovered between the two models.

Commercial free
Education-based quality entertainment
Programming outlet- NOT PRODUCER. They do not own the properties.
Has slightly less control over the shows it distributes and airs since they don't own them
Usually, but not always, an advertiser-supported model
Branding is important to distinguish each network
Owns and has control over some of the properties
Produces some programs
Sells their educational programing to broadcasting networks (CBS, ABC, NBC)

There was some information that I found particularly shocking: "The amount of money that public television receives per taxpayer is not much more than $1 per year!" That's it?! PBS seems like such a comforting space for children particularly because it is commercial-free. Disney promotes itself as commercial-free, but it is constantly selling the Disney name and airing licensing-driven programs which can then sustain the cost of the network.
These articles really made me think. I thought about how competitive the "community" or industry is right now. If it was this competitive in the '70s, would we have had as many episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood to watch? Competition doesn't completely scare me, but it usually means there are politics associated to it in some regard. Politics scare me. I thought long and hard about what I would do if I was pitching a show. Would I find the network that best matched the goals of my program? Would I choose the network that best matched my personal values and goals? Would I choose the network that offered me the best deal? Would I choose the network that simply offered me ANY deal?! What would you do?

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