maanantai 21. marraskuuta 2011

I was reading the Economist on a train today. The issue had an interesting article about the French people's obsession with a number 20. According to the article, teachers grade their students out of 20, the French language uses 20 as a base for counting between 70 and 100 (80 is quartre-vingts 'four twenty'), Paris has 20 arrondissaments, Paris has the 20 kilometres de Paris running race, there is a free newspaper called 20 minutes, and the main news broadcast is called the Journal de 20 heures.

Paris is also hosting the G20 summit this year.

Another article that caught my eye was about Britain's reality-tv business. It was telling how many of the world's most popular tv programmes were invented in Britain -especially when it comes down to unscripted shows such as quiz shows, singing competitions and other forms of reality tv. The article had found interesting figures, as shows such as Britain's Got Talent (created in 2006) has become cloned to 44 countries, there are 22 different versions of Wife Swap and 32 of Masterchef. According to the article, until June this year, Britain supplied 43% of the whole global entertainment formates, followed by the US (22%) and Netherlands (11%), the rest of the sum was divided between the rest of the world (24%). 

How can this be then? It has all to thank a government action in the early 1990s and later in 2004, when trade regulations ensured that most rights to tv shows became retained by those who make the tv shows, not those who broadcast them. Thereby, production companies went global in order to further sell their tv formats. For instance, Claire Hungate the CEO of Shed Media (The Bachelor  Waterloo Road, Young Herriot, Garrow's Law, Who Do You Think You Are US, The Choir, The World's Strictest Parents, Supernanny, Stace Dooley Investigations etc) said that 70-80% of their profits come from intellectual property (that is from selling formats and tapes of shows that have already been broadcast mostly to other countries). 

Consumer tastes are also changing continuously. Now the trend seems to be (according to the Economist) for gritty, fly-on-the-wall documentaries like One Born Every Minute, and soft-scripted Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex types of shows.


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