There’s more to the headline above than an excess of capital letters that would have my English teacher steaming at the ears and some of the pedantic readers of bbc.co.uk/jersey knawing their teeth.
There is a reason I filled it with caps – you see it’s full of new television channel names – well one is an old television channel name – but it’s part of the same family.
The words in the headline that aren’t either a television channel name or part of one are ‘and’, ‘to’ and ‘an’.
Go On Laugh Daily (or G.O.L.D.), Alibi and Watch are all new channels (or at least re-brands of existing channels) that are being launched on 7 October by the UKTV network.
The UKTV brand will remain for the subject specific channels (at least for now). So that is Documentary, History, People, Style, Homes, Gardens and Food.
Dave is the other consistent – but that was given its new non-UKTV brand not very long ago and is already a ‘personality’ channel.
UKTV Gold, previously UKGold is set to become G.O.L.D. or Go On Laugh Daily – a channel moving from being an all round UK repeats network to a comedy network – that I’m guessing will play shows from around the world.
G.O.L.D. is on Sky 110 (laughdaily.co.uk)
Drama seems to be evolving into Alibi – a network specifically showing crime dramas – its tag line is ‘The Deadliest Place on TV’.
Alibi is on SKY 132 (theperfectalibi.co.uk)
And then there is Watch. tagline ‘simply good TV’ that seems to be the place that will include Richard and Judy.
Watch is on SKY 109 (justwatch.co.uk)
On first glance I’d say this is a womens network but actually it looks like it will include everything not included on the new look UKTV as well as a load of other stuff from around the world – as well as movies. This looks like its going to be one of my new favourite channels.
And it’s brilliant that these newly branded channels are creating a new identity, that they will make it easier to see some of the best programmes made (of all time and of recent years) but, and this is a big giant great huge but – what about the new stuff?
I mean it’s great that they are putting emphasis on showing great content but they are showing great content made by other broadcasters (with the exception of a few cheap to make shows).
At the moment the only big budget dramas, comedies and daring shows are being made by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.
BBC is fully public service – funded by the licence fee. Channel 4 doesn’t have to make a profit as its state owned and ITV has the background of being the ‘third’ channel and the second major British network.
It also has a unique place as the third channel on all platforms so can demand more advertising revenue – and has that background to draw from.
Maybe we will start to see more dramas and comedies (original ones) coming out of the likes of UKTV, Virgin, Sky et al after digital switchover – but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Why make something new and spend huge amounts of money on a series that might not be successful when you could buy it in from the USA or Canada – when you guy buy a repeat from BBC or ITV or when you could make something relatively cheap but high impact that would get as good a ratings.
After all – in a advertising funded world where the advertising revenue is directly reflected by the number of viewers – you’ll do anything possible to get viewing numbers up for as cheaply as possible.
So if you can make a chat show that will get 2 million viewers but only cost £10k per episode and bring in £50k – you’re hardly going to spend £30k on a drama or comedy series (even a cheap one) that will get the same viewing figures and the same advertising revenue.
That is why the BBC is important – that is why incentivising ITV to keep making high impact dramas and comedies (as well as local news and childrens) is important and why some kind of public funding should be found for Channel 4.
Maybe the BBC could give the revenue from the sale of ‘formats’ to Channel 4. Not the whole of BBC Worldwide just the international format rights – so ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘Weakest Link’ and even ‘Top Gear’.
I’m not saying give the SHOWS THEMSELVES to Channel 4 (especially not TopGear – that needs to stay on a commercial free network for Clarkson alone) but the revenue from international deals – oh and maybe a share of magazine and merchandising revenue on those shows as well.
Let the BBC keep the money from DVD sales of dramas, comedies and other shows – let it keep international sale rights for those shows – just give C4 the formats.
Just an idea. But also slightly off the point – public service broadcasting is essential to retain a high standard of local television commissions – to retain investment in British broadcasting and production as a whole.
If it were left to the market we would see lots of self help, chat shows and imports – with the occasional big budget drama or comedy every year – instead of the dozens of dramas and comedies we see today.
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