Sunday, October 9, 2011

Creativity in Television...Not so much in Movies

The readings touch on product development from the standpoints of two different media producing industries, the television and the movie industry. The much lengthier case study by Roberts, "Revisiting the Creative/Commercial Clash," looks into product development decision making within the BBC and other independent companies in the TV industry. The case study took a biased approach to its investigation from the beginning when the researcher tried to build a report against previous research supporting the distinctive separation between the creative and commercial departments in television industry. The biases can be seen with the observatory method of collecting his data via interviews with individuals from junior to senior positions working in both departments, as well as choosing the BBC as the primary target of investigating. At the end of the case study, Roberts mentions that BBC has different guiding principals governing its product development since it is a public broadcasting corporation. This being said, the BBC and other independent television productions showed increased communication and understanding of goals and obstacles among both creative and commercial departments. Also, since he used an interview method to gather evidence, the data collected leans away from a primitive separated business model to a more collaborated holistic effort to make a quality TV product. He said this might have happened because of the questions being asked to the interviewees or the interviewees answering the questions representing the industry in a positive light.
Although, the research might be skewed, the case study results seem to be accurate and are worth noting. As the research has shown, the TV industry seems to be moving from a distribution economy that is less worried about final product being seen to an attention based economy. One theme throughout the TV readings was the concentration on the audience. There are so many channels today which means there is a variety of audiences. And the first question raised by both creative and commercial is whether the idea for a product has a network, that has a schedule, and that has an audience for the final product. Because of this transition the creative department has a much more central role on product development decision making. Also, even though the two different sectors have two different agendas there is much more communication between the creative and commercial departments which is necessary to benefit both side's final goals. But this new relationship between the creative and commercial departments isn't represented in all media industries and even though its happening in the US with television as shown by the reading focusing on 'Always Sunny' operations, it is clear that the movie industry is sticking to what works, comics and sequels.
The two articles by Kung and Harris concerning Hollywood product production operations made it clear why quality movies with well developed narrative and depth are becoming more rare and its because of the "movie going" audience and world wide commercial grossing. The audience that goes to movies today are people who know what they are getting before they see the movie. They want branded movies like "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Fast and the Furious." High octane sequels that provide action packed sequences that provide excitement and big named actors. And its been happening since "Top Gun." The trailer and the marketing are what sells the movie now and if its a quality movie we will just wait to see it on Netflix or iTunes. But the main reason why Hollywood keeps producing trash is simple, its the money figures these comic and sequels are producing. The figure in the WSJ reading says it all, "Alice and Wonderland" made a total of $1.6 billion vs. "Toy Story 3" which made $9.8 billion world wide. There is so much more money that can be made through merchandise and DVD sales through sequels, comics, or any brand name movie that already has a following. In conclusion about the movie industry, why change what isn't broken? These movies have an audience and make so much money and until that changes, there will be less quality movies being produced.

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