Friday, September 9, 2011

Commercial vs. Non-commercial media

The fundamental difference that exists between the commercial broadcasting system and the non-commercial one is that the “primary commodity of a commercial television system is not the programming but the production and sale of audiences.” Therefore, the sale of products, or pursuit of profits is the main focus of commercial stations. Since the day of conception of a show, the writers, producers, and executives have a common goal of making it profitable by any means. The ultimate goal of any show is the ability to reach syndication, allowing itself to become the infinitely profitable.

The Upfront presentations prior to the release of shows, show the industries interest in franchising and disenfranchising their viewers. By tailoring a show specifically to a profitable audience, they can reach their goal of profits. However, in a non-commercial system such narrow focus is not forced to exist. Upfront presentations are not needed to “excite” advertisers in a pep rally form, instead there is a focus on service to the public. A concerned effort can be taken to represent the disenfranchised without the thought of profit. The Upfront presentations with their elaborate performances, star cameos, and over the top promotional culture signify a key problem in commercial television. The lack of focus on quality becomes evident in the frequent turnover of shows every year. There is also a fear creating controversial material, despite the fact that they are already disenfranchising viewers

Non-commercial media, while unable to create shows with the extraordinary budget of commercial stations, operates with much less strings. The scuffle for payment by advertisers will undoubtedly affect the type of content that is shown, a freedom from such worries should lead to more unique and quality programming. Educational programs can also be considered, informing and entertaining an audience? Such a pitch would die quickly in the world of commercial television.

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