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Old October 13th, 2006, 09:42 PM   #1
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How to get a paid show on tv?

I use to do a day in the life fireman tv show that aired on local access cable. I was never involved in the business side of things but basically the shows creator/producer and a sales assistant sold ads to businesses located in and around the town of the fire dept. We would film the show and the ads and thats how we paid ourselves.

My primary phyisician does a call in health talk show on local access. Its well done and informative. He brings on different specialist each show to talk about different subjects. But he was telling me he has to put in a lot of his spare time to do the show and he doesn't get paid. He wants to do a commercial show but neither of the major networks want to do it and the community access channel won't allow commercial programming. This might because he uses their equipment/studio to shoot it so they will only allow non-profit programming.

So I'd like to take his show commercial but I have no clue about the business end works.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 01:28 AM   #2
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From the broadcaster's point of view:
They need content. Good content is their lifeblood, otherwise they can't sell advertising.

They will tend to have a pipeline of new ideas coming in. Lots of people pitch their projects to the development execs, some of those go into development, some become pilots (some broadcasters may not do them, because pilots are expensive), and then some shows actually get produced. It's in their interest to sift through the best ideas.

To be more specific:
A- The broadcaster targets a specific demographic. Demographics are really important to advertisers... having detergent ads shown to 200,000 moms and better than having it shown to 800,000 non-moms. So your show needs to target the broadcaster's demographic, whatever it is.

B- The show has to be good.

In your case, you might succeed based on the doctor's personality. Good on-air personalities is a rare and important thing. i.e. for talk shows, it's everything. If he is interesting to watch and/or makes the subject matter interesting, then that's good. I would make a short demo reel showing interesting segments from the show (and make sense standalone), demonstrating that he's a good on-air personality.

An interested broadcaster could team him up with some experienced producers, who would produce the show with him as the talent. His talent (assuming he has it) is probably the most valuable thing you bring to the table. Ideas are valuable, but it's hard to protect them. And you presumably don't have producing experience, so that's not something you are bringing to the table.

This is what I can determine anyways.

2- You could also look into alternative distribution routes... i.e. the Internet.

If you can figure out how to get lots of viewers, the economics of it works out decently since distribution of video over internet doesn't cost too much. You would have to figure out how you want to make advertising money... a simple route would be Google, and you should be able to guestimate that income. i.e. you may be able to find figures for Adsense. You spend little effort trying to get advertisers.
It may not necessarily be that much money; I haven't crunched numbers myself.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 10:59 AM   #3
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thx glenn for the detailed reply.

I was wondering if it be better for me to go the route of the fireman show. ie i sell and shoot ads for local businesses to support the show fianancially then buy air time on local access cable.

It would seem to me that the healthcare market has lots of money to spend and would be a perfect match for the show. (Pharmaceutical , hospitals, health insurance...) Target audience would be a perfect match, for example have a show on heart problems and then have ads for relevent medications. I also would think lots of ppl have health related questions.

What you said about the personality of the doctor is important. This guy is kind of dry and boring so it makes sense thats why the tv stations didn't want to pick his show up. So that pretty much means if I wanted to go forward with the idea I'd have to form it around an engaging doctor/host.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 07:42 PM   #4
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1- I wonder what the laws are regarding advertising for medical products. In Canada (and I think the US too), there are specific laws on this. So this is why we have some really value medical ads, which advertise a name or the product (but not both!!).

The medical industry is huge though, and they do spend a lot of money on advertising.

2- You do have to figure out how to get advertisers, although presumably if it worked for the fireman show it might work for you?

Quote:
So that pretty much means if I wanted to go forward with the idea I'd have to form it around an engaging doctor/host.
It could also be that the content itself is presented in an interesting way. At the end of the day, you want to attract lots of people to watch the show.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 09:32 AM   #5
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I'm going to put this on my long term goals. I realized my speciality is in filming/editing and even if i was able to pitch this show to a TV station I wouldn't be producing the show so I don't know how I would fit into the equation.

Going the fireman route of selling and creating ads plus producing the show would take more time than I have. Maybe doing streaming audio/video over the internet would be a better solution.

I jumped into this idea when I talked to my physician but now that I've thought about what would be involved I'm not so hot on it. It has potentional but might be better to pitch to a major hospital who funds it.
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Old October 16th, 2006, 07:33 AM   #6
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Fiind out who the doctor's medical sales rep's are. Like everyone here has said pharmaceutical companies have advertising money to spend. Talk to the sales reps, pitch the idea with the doc, and they in turn can probaly get you going in the right direction. Cable companies need programming, If you shoot a pilot, show it to the rep's they might want to advertise. Plus you'll have a pilot to show to cable networks. Good luck
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