On the University of South Wales BA Hons Media Culture and Journalism I led a workshop on Commissioning for Television as part of the Contemporary Popular Television module. 20th November 2015
Having outlined the main channel remits and service licences, we considered audience profiles and tastes. Using the BBC as a pattern, we took a look at the BBC commissioning system for factual programmes and who is responsible for which genres per channel. We looked at majority and minority tastes, novelty, repeatability and other key factors.
Students were asked to design two series ideas, for network and for BBC Wales. They were given briefings, budget parameters and slot requirements and encouraged to think about production talent as well as content. They pitched in teams to ‘commissioning editors’ and it didn’t take long for them to start sounding like producers, defending their ideas and demonstrating what they could offer to the channel palette, nor for the commissioners to probe weak points or be quick to spot an unmissable opportunity.
A fun morning and there is clearly plenty of production talent in the pipeline on this course!
Course lecturer, Alex Brady reported: “The students said they enjoyed the session very much. They appreciated the greater understanding of how the commissioning process works and what is expected of them, beyond an initial good idea, to get something on to television and who they would work with in developing a concept.”