Understanding the Global TV Format
Recent years have seen an astonishing growth in the adaptation of program formats in television systems across the world. Under the new market conditions of the multi-channel cluster brought about by new technologies and increased privatization of service, the adaptation of successful and popular TV formats from one place to another is occurring on an increasingly regular basis. Hence, the remaking of different national versions of Big Brother and Pop Idol are only part of what is going on. In fact, from Chinese versions of Coronation Street and Sex and the City, Indian and Indonesian remakes of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, program clones of Ground Force and other make-over and renovation shows across Europe and the UK, the present is the era of the global TV format.
But what exactly is a format? After all, programs have been copied and imitated since the beginnings of broadcasting. In this, the first book in the English language to systematically deal with the subject, Albert Moran and Justin Malbon provide a valuable guide to the institutional, cultural and legal dimensions of the format. Now widely referred to although equally often misunderstood, the TV format is a commodity of production, finance, distribution, broadcasting and marketing knowledges, that is facilitating the international reconfiguration of program making.
Understanding the Global TV Format thus addresses the different stages and issues of the business. It tracks the steps whereby formats are devised, developed and distributed. Major companies are profiled as are the international markets and festivals at which trade occurs. However, there is also a great deal of piracy taking place so that the book is concerned with the control and regulation of format remaking. Legal protection is often both the first and last recourse of parties and the authors examine the relevance of laws relating to such matters as copyright and contract.