Monday, February 25, 2008

ITV1's new drama travails

In Media Guardian, Maggie Brown and Stephen Armstrong ask what has gone wrong with ITV1's recent run of new drama launches, none of which has enjoyed ratings success.

The conclusions seem to be contradictory. On the one hand:
"ITV viewers expect certain things from their Friday night drama," explains Chris Curtis, news editor at TV trade magazine Broadcast. "They like cars and explosions, and shows they know."
And on the other:
"Creating vanilla drama for the masses is no good because the mass audience doesn't exist any more," warns Steven Hesse, managing partner at Orange and Mercedes agency Weapon7.

He thinks the problem is that ITV has to become more experimental. "Create content that connects, entertains and informs the viewer, then embrace new technologies that allow for more targeted distribution."
Perhaps the most telling point is one that adds some context:
An ITV network executive who has recently left says that veteran former drama controller Nick Elliott tended to ignore the contemporary themes and high-concept dramas pioneered by [Jane] Tranter at the BBC. So the channel had a lot of catching up to do.
Update (25.02.08): It's not all bad news, however. Many existing dramas continue to thrive - for example, Taggart has just been recommissioned for another ten 60-minute episodes.

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