TV Commissioning must move with the times


On Monday leading programming experts discussed the future of TV commissioning and whether it could survive. The good news for commissioning editors was that they would not be without a job in the near future but that they would have to learn to adapt to the new multi-platform world.

According to Jamie Cason, executive producer of BBC Comedy, there was no threat involved for public broadcasters with the emergence of online entertainment on portals such as Yahoo! and Google. “We have to compete harder or find ways of co-operating,” he said. He added that portals were just another way of getting BBC content to consumers.

Online promotion was exactly what FX Network used to promote the series Rescue Me between seasons, said Eric Schrier, senior vice-president of original programming at FX Network. They also used online to find ideas for the comedy a€˜It’s Always Raining in Philadelphia’. But their focus remains with producing hit shows for TV.

Anne Julienne, head of acquisitions and international co-productions at France’s Channel 5, said that even though all their factual programmes were available for online viewing for two week after screening, it had little effect on her commissioning process.

Richard Woolfe, director of programmes for Sky One, Two and Three, made the point that his company was more advanced than the BBC in terms of providing content on the web and mobile. They saw the web and mobile as providing add-on value for TV subscribers.

The basic problem of how to generate revenue from online and mobile content was being addressed by Sky. He revealed that the broadcaster is working on technology that sends advertising and channel promos to users whenever they downloaded a programme.


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