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Distinctiveness and originality are always key in any aspect of the media, as it allows anything to be set apart from the rest, drawing the audiences attention towards it. However distinctiveness and originality are becoming a thing of the past as ideas are running thin. Constantly we are able to see similar or replicas of past programming on our screens, whether it be in reality television, soap storylines or big dramas. The BBC have always been known for is popular programming.
In the early days of the BBC, they strived to follow a common trend of having an educational programme, follow an entertainment programme. However, as such programming scheduling has been scrapped, both educational programmes do appear in the scheduling. But the question is how original and distinctive are these programmes that the BBC are producing? Well firstly the BBC have publicly admitted that they will be reducing their amounts of repeats to below 10% in their programming schedule within the next 10 years. But will this help the BBC become more original and distinctive?
In one sense it will, as the BBC have become well known for having constant repeats they will now have to think ip exciting ideas to fill the slots of the original repeats. However will the BBC crumble under the pressure and resort to common concepts and genres, such as reality and soaps? Well it seems not as the BBC have made a vow to bring the best original ideas to the screen, Saying that the channel will invent, refresh and discover new passions and interests. New educational programmes such as The Blue Planet and Son of God are among the line up.
With The Blue Planet exploring the earths final frontier, from the deep to the shore, from pole to pole. It revealed new and extraordinary life and behaviour that had never before been captured on film. While Son on God used breakthroughs in archaeology, astronomy, forensic science and history to help viewers make up their own minds about the man who changed the world. There is said to be no crisis of orginality in British television – though there may be for ITV. Why is this? Well for one ITV has a very important and unique posistion as the only UK channel expected to deliver a mass audience to advertisers, day in day out.
With this kind of pressure on their backs ITV have the most to prove with originality and distinctiveness in their programming. Numerous programmes have catered to these needs in recent years. For example the television revival of John Galsworty’s Forsyte novels The Forsyte Saga, and also The Jury, an innovative six parter starring Derek Jacobi and Antony Sher. However ITV is not required to cater specifically for non-mainstream tastes and interests, or to meet particular requirements for innovation, experimentation or distinctiveness.
That is not to say that these characteristics will not appear in ITV’s programming. Channel 4 has always stood out, as in the beginning it was designed for minority groups. But today, Channel 4 still stands out with its range of programmes, and it is often said that distinctiveness, diversity and innovation are key requirements to Channel 4’s programming. Shows such as Green Wing, Touching the Void, Spitfire Ace, My Foetus and Supernanny demonstrate that these have been achieved in every part of the schedule and with significant public impact.
Channel 4 proved its distinctiveness with programmes ranging from Shameless to Hamburg Cell to Sex Traffic. Channel for has continued and progressed in supplying original and quality programmes that challenge the veiwers opinions and personal veiws. Channel 4 continued to find new formats and reach new audiences with Musicality, Cheating At Athens – Is It Worth It? , Bollywood Star, The Great British Asian Invasion and Time Team’s Big Dig. Overall i feel that originality and distinctiveness has great importance of the ever changing television market, as it sets each channel apart form one another.
Also it allows us all to see the potential that these channels have and what they could do when they enter the digital age after the analogue switch off. With this originality and distinctiveness, will the Big 5 be able to compete in the digital age with numerous other channels pinning for the maximum audience share? Yes, i feel they will as they will have a step up on the other channels with their programming. However i feel that this will only happen if the Big 5 continue and improve their originality and distinctiveness in programming, instead of settling for a common concept.