FT 303 Mullen Notes

FT 303 Mullen Notes - Mullen: A Scheduling and Programming...

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Mullen: A Scheduling and Programming Innovator (1980-1995) Issue – In 1980s and 1990s, cable nets faced the significant challenge of making inexpensive and usually recycled types f programming seem as interesting and worthwhile as what viewers already could watch free of charge on broadcast stations. Premium Cable Nets – advantage over basic nets because they were in existence since the previous decade (70s) and had begun to recover start up costs and had more resources to use on original programming. Hefty subscriber fees helped as well. Cable’s greatest programming breakthroughs have been in the areas of scheduling and promotion. Creating a brand identity is a key factor in a net’s success. Joseph Turow’s tripartite strategy that cable nets have used to create and sustain their identities. 1) the consistent use of logos and other onscreen promotions, 2) a selection of compatible reruns, and 3) signature shows. It is in the third of these that nets zooms in on the precise qualities they desire in their audiences. Second item is what draws viewers to a network in the first place. And it is his first item that gives viewers reason to continue watching other broadcast or cable nets that show similar reruns. Cable nets exploit aesthetic sensibilities (TV literacy, camp, nostalgia, and postmodernism) to draw audiences back to familiar, often overused, program material. Goal of True Narrowcasting (offering a schedule of original programs intended for a highly specialized viewership- hasn’t been realized in modern cable. Cable nets have given appearance of such specialized targeting by balancing a small amount of truly original programming with a large amount of carefully selected acquired programming, using interstitial material such as bumpers (program lead ins) and other self promotional spots to inforce the chosen identity, and altering acquired programming thru the use of voice over’s and image overs. Narrowcasting Cable nets made their mark by simply recycling broadcasting television programming. Some cable nets used a stockpile of originally produced special interest programming to enter into competition with broadcast television (ESPC, all news CNN and Weather Channel). Case of Cable’s Cultural Networks Combo of established popularity and low production costs has made genres like news and sports succeed as cable fare. Cultural Nets launched during 1980s – CBS Cable, Bravo, ABC-ARTS, Entertainment Channel – all offered programming typically associated with PBS. Such programming was seldom available on commercial broadcast television so it was assumed that they would prove lucrative on cable. Cable entrepreneurs thought that viewers who were frustrated with the formulaic narratives of
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FT 303 Mullen Notes - Mullen: A Scheduling and Programming...

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