An Analysis of a TV Format: “Big Brother” Author`s Name School Name “Internationalization is a key to the success of television formats.” – Michael Keane (2008) Prior to analyzing a particular TV format, it is crucial to identify the definition of a format as different authors have addressed the topic differently…
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However, some of the authors confuse formatting with genres due to which it becomes important to draw distinctions between the two concepts. Esser (2010) associated the concept of a format with two aspects; the first one relates to the collectivity of the characteristics found in the program while the second one relates to the tradability factor which he deems as an important recipe of the format. Furthermore, Esser (2010) quotes that, “Formats are the concretization of an idea, sold in the form of a production bible, a compilation of production information, including technical requirements, lessons learned, a shooting schedule, crew list, budget sample, and anything else of value to the production team. Software for the graphics and videos from the original and local adaptations can complement the bible, together with scripts in the case of scripted formats. Moreover, where the rights have remained with the original licensor...” To produce a more clear understanding of the concept of a format, Keane (2008) has drawn a distinction between genres and formats. To create a further sense of division between the two concepts he has also utilized the concept of “engines” as a variable in determining the divergence points between the phenomena. According to his vision, format is a product of change both in the broadcast and the narrowcast. However, genre deals with the standardized content in coherence with the conventional narratives and forms. The difference between the two lies in the intensity and the nature of change that has occurred over time. For instance, when a genre like a sitcom is in need of a change, the most that can be done is the introduction of new character. However, a format is an evolutionary product with apparent changes in the mode, pattern, business models, marketing strategies and the like. The audience requires a stronger format which is in turn a product of various engines i.e. sources of innovation, which has the potential to mix and mash various genres together to create a new idea. Tradability of the concept is also one of the crucial elements of a format (Keane 2008). Enfranchisement of the concepts of these formats is the key to the popularity of these programs, also the diverging factor between genres and formats. A format has a legal copyright, and in order to replicate the format in another country the copyrights have to be purchased (Moran and Malbon 2006). A genre however doesn’t need a copyright to be replicated as the conventional pattern of a genre may be copied as such with a different concept. The concept of format however is also being evolved overtime with the changing interests of the audience and the globalization. The concept is being appraised and criticized by the scholarship worldwide at the same time. Big Brother. Survivors and Who Wants to be a Millionaire are the first ever formats that were conceived and were later traded in different countries all over the world (Keane 2008). Big Brother is the classic example of a format as it has gone through various stages which add value to the formatting of the program. In order to analyze the core components of this format, it is important to trace the history of the format, the international distribution format of this format, the engine for the format as change, the dramatic arc, various format points and the
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