Smaller audiences

More channels, more choice, what does it mean for the people who run the core channels that have been around a long time? Apparently it is not acceptable to keep doing the same sort of stuff to smaller and smaller audiences. That seems to defy logic, unless we are all going to watch a lot more tv, which seems unlikely in these days of multiple video platforms. When we had just two channels (BBC & ITV) audiences could sometimes be astronomical. As more channels came along the programmes that commanded those huge viewing figures came along less frequently. It is so obvious that this process is continuing that it hardly needs to be stated.

Yet the tv executives are looking for programmes like Time Team, Who Do You think You Are and Top Gear. These are great brands. Wonderful tv programmes but there must be a limit to the number of shows like these there can be!

In pursuit of these huge audiences tv executives have learnt a lot about the people who sit in front of the screens. Science and history, apparently mean nothing to them. Intelligent provocation motivates them to keep watching. They are interested in food and the morbidly fascinating.

There is a tendency to skew programmes towards old white men, certainly when it comes to the presenters. The BBC seems to be trying quite hard to move away from this concentration. (The idea is to offer more than a retirement package for elderly news readers). Other channels seem to be less committed to this.

Bang Goes the Theory is a great way of presenting a science programme to a younger audience. Victorian Farm appealed to a huge number of people, particularly women.

The executives say there is a commitment to the authored documentary (which makes it sound as if the genre is doomed).

Am I getting old or is the anti-elderly prejudice growing in tv?