Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sky's The Limit

So Rupert Murdoch has bought a share of NTL, apparently to scupper their proposed take over of ITV.

Do I care? I think I do. But not much. Okay I'm not sure how one cable/satellite provider is allowed to take what is in effect a controlling interest in another. That can't be good for competition.

Secondly, if the motives were to scupper the takeover then those motives seem fairly suspect. It's no secret that ITV are on their uppers. Ratings and advertising are down and new legislation preventing junk food advertising is going to cost them another 40 mill a year. So are they trying to wreck ITV? That has to be a bad thing.

But at the same time I can't help thinking that the money men are running around doing their deals and forgetting ITV wouldn't be in the position it is in if it made better programmes. Now while that does have a lot to do with money, it has far more to do with talent. And I don't mean writing talent.

Someone commissioned the series of stinkers that made ITV a viewing no go area apart from Reality and Soaps. And believe me I mean someONE. Because that is the way ITV is set up. ALL network commissions have to go through Network Centre. Be it Granada, Thames/Talkback or the smallest indy. They can't move without the head of Network Centre approving.

Okay the BBC have Jane Tranter, but they also have commissioning through other routes like the regions and Indy commissions. All handled seperately.

A network having ONE person dictate what gets shown is not a good idea in my opinion. It's not about money, it's about talent. Would you risk a Billion pound enterprise on the talent of one person? That's how ITV operate.

Entertainment was, is and always will be about talent. Yes, people can make a great deal of money out of the fact that others have talent. Hell, making money is a talent in itself. But making money out of entertainment means having the right talent in the right place at the right time. Right now that means the ones who can spot 'Cool TV'.

The Holy Grail for TV execs is to bring back the 16-35 age group. The ones who are tuning off in droves. And the advertisers' wet dream.

You know what I want to see? Good stories, likeable characters and people saying clever things.

That might be deemed shallow, but clever is hard. And that's the difference.


wcdixon said...

Just to clarify, 'pretty' people saying clever things, right?

English Dave said...

Did you catch it before the edit?

Good Dog said...

Apart from having one bod in charge (who obviously made some extreme errors of judgement) do you think it all started to go wrong for ITV when they seriously got into the golden handcuffs deals with various actors?

Rather than look for good dramas they were more interested in finding they could stick these folk in.

John Thaw, for example, was always reliable but even toward the end he was in some stinkers that even made him look uncomfortable on screen.

English Dave said...

That's an interesting point. I suppose there must be a temptation to look for projects that might suit that actor, and having to rush that project through development before the deal expires.

To be honest I never really saw the point of those deals. Especially as most seemed to be with interchangeable soap stars.

I do recall a writer mananged to get a deal as well.

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