20070811

A new method for making TV shows

  1. Narrowcast, use the internet
  2. No advertisements, sell directly
  3. If you wish to, sell subscriptions
In more detail
1. Good TV doesn't appeal to everyone, no need to compromise as long as you can find enough people worldwide to pay for it.

No need to appeal to the masses, no need to be censored, no reason to have to write episodes that are 44 mins long in 5 acts, and seasons that are 22 episodes long, and have to have your most exciting stories take place not where they belong, but when it's sweeps.
No need to wait for distribution deals in each country, if they ever arrive. You have a potential audience of billions

2. Don't pander to advertisers, that's just more censorship. Don't interrupt your art every 10 mins, film makers don't. And don't let the broadcasters put their own adverts on top of your show.

Sell your show for as little as profitable. Assuming distribution costs fall to 0, which, by using, say, bittorrent, is almost true today. The only cost is making your show, say $2 million. Find 10 million people who'll pay 25c each.

Previously viewers paid their cable bill (average $40), and then bought the DVDs. With this model neither are needed. So the viewer has saved enough money to buy, to keep, 5 hours of TV a day.

Obviously to reach 10 million people it's going to have to be easy for them, get your distribution system onto PVRs such as Tivo, then viewers can just press a button on their remote to buy an episode, or an entire season.

Reduce the middlemen, make more money, have more control.

Utilise recommendation systems such as Amazon's. People who watched Show A may also like Show B (that's your show). Talk to people, become the next popular TV show creator. People will watch your new show if they know it's from the same people as your old good show.

3. If you're writing arc based story lines, and you should be, otherwise why aren't you making films?, then considering selling subscriptions to guarantee that you'll have enough money to tell the end of the story. Tell people: I wrote show A, which you liked, I will make show B, and you will get an ending, if enough people subscribe.

Wait until you have your 10 million subscriptions, then start making the show. Or, if 10 million is too many, offer people the chance to pay more. If you then get more people buying it the cost to each person drops, thus encouraging people to tell their friends, and not illegally copy it.

Which brings us to DRM, don't use it, a) it doesn't work, b) it reduces sales, c) you're going to want to let people make their own DVDs, so it can't work.

Postscript
Obviously you can't start with a multi-million dollar show today, but get the ball rolling, make the kind of shows which are cheaper to create, sitcoms, documentaries, factual shows.

Conclusion
Please change TV for the better, otherwise I'll be left with only two options, rewatch all my DVDs, or go outside. And you don't want that.
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