January, 2009 - Television, more than any other medium, has the ability to provide citizens with a mirror, create social cohesion, and generate significant economic benefits through the production of local high-cost drama. Yet, at this time of economic crisis and market fragmentation, broadcasters around the world are increasingly seeking the least expensive programming available; placing well-told and culturally significant stories under stress.
As part of its global mission to further the rights of writers, the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG) works to encourage and maintain distinct cultural identities in its members' countries.
To provide its membership with a "cultural toolkit" for building and maintaining a vigorous environment for local television drama, the IAWG commissioned broadcasting specialist Peter S. Grant to prepare a comparative study of regulatory policies employed by English-language countries. The resulting paper, titled "Stories Under Stress: The Challenge for Indigenous Television Drama In English-Language Broadcast Markets" is available for downloading in PDF format.
"The creation of popular television drama, including scripted comedy, is coming under increasing stress as viewing becomes increasingly fragmented among television services around the world. Although TV drama is one of the most popular of television genres, it is also the most expensive to produce. In the United States, the economic model supporting TV drama is being forced to change in order to reflect the fragmentation of the over-the-air television audience due to cable and satellite subscription services, and the impact of new technologies such as personal video recorders, video streaming and downloading on the Internet, and mobile broadcasting devices.
"These challenges to the economic model supporting TV drama were already evident by the summer of 2008. But they have been exacerbated by the financial crisis that hit the United States and other countries around the world in the fall of 2008. To the extent the ensuing recession results in reduced advertising expenditures from major advertisers, it will undoubtedly affect the ability of ad-reliant over-the-air TV broadcasters to support expensive programming like TV drama..."
To continue reading "Stories Under Stress", please click here to download a pdf copy of the study.