UK TV Case Study

Posted: September 17, 2014 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 14_16
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So, Task 1 of the Brief asks you to construct a Case Study of a TV Broadcaster. We start by looking at Distribution, Audience Profile and Regulatory Bodies. So, here we go…


Distribution is the act of getting the product to the audience. We have the modes of delivery, or the technical methods used to get the shows out there. There are the traditional ways, such as Terrestrial TV Broadcast or Freeview (paid for by TV Licensing or advertising) and Satellite Broadcast (Subscription model), Internet downloads (and we are talking legal within copyright restrictions) , Streaming (the new boy on the block – Netflix, Spotify etc) and  Cinemas . Then we have physical distribution:-  Delivery Logistics of the actual physical delivery of Films to Cinemas, DVD and CD to shops.

These methods are different depending on whether we are distributing regionally (ie local radio, local programing on a national channel), nationally (BBC1, 2, 3, 4, radio 1, 2, 3, 4 etc all broadcasting to the UK, or iPlayer that can only be used within the UK) or internationally via BBC worldwide – selling formats, shows for broadcast in new territories, or Physical copy for sale in another territory.

The main object of distribution is to get product to an audience and make money. The traditional model of paying for entry (such as Cinema) still exists, and has an analogue with Subscription services where there is a charge for access. We can even do this online, using secure log in.

The BBC license fee is a legal requirement for owning a TV and does grant access – even though it feels as if TV is free to access (and much of it is paid for by advertising), the British public need to pay for it in advance.

But look at what that pays for: That’s a lot of distribution Channels! Each one has a means of raising Revenue, EG BBC Worlwide relies on selling DVD’s, shows to other channels, merchandise etc. BBC TV and Radio in Britain tends to be purely funded by license fee, and BBC America and Dave have adverts. (See Funding)

Regulatory Bodies

We have ASA who cover Advertising, BBFC Covering Film classification, ATVOD and internet watch foundation covering online amterial, but we are interested in BBC Trust and Ofcom.

BBC trust are internal, and the Chairman is placed by the Culture and Media secretary. They are charged with ensuring there is value for money for all license fee payers. In the absence of Adevrtisers & Shareholders,

Ofcom cover all UK Broadcasting, and are a legal body who regulate against the Broadcasting Code. They deal with complaints from the public, judging them against the relevant legal requirements and reporting back in Broadcast Bulletins. See here for the report covering Top Gear’s Burmese Special as an example of how it relates to the BBC.

Audience Profiles

Information about a groups of people as though they are an average person, including media habits, background, income, opinions, age, gender, geodemographics.

See Thinkbox – They sell advertising in media, and have case studies of Profiles to show how they have improved sales. Not only does this include examples of what a case study can look like, it also has examples of the profile and how it is used.

Acorn actually make audience profiles. They are an audience research company who construct classifications based on national statistical research – this is statistical analysis at it’s most profitable – and this is how they do it!


We can start to put all this together. The BBC Commission shows (we’ll worry about that later), but basically means they identify a time Slot on a channel and ask for ideas within a specific genre. For example, BBC Three has it’s own target audience, and there is a profile that describes what they are like. Then there is a more specific profile for the comedy shows, including  relevant production information. But that’s another lesson….

Your job:

Find more examples of Audience Profiles, and explore what they are actually saying.

Have a look at how the information is collected and analyzed.

Explore more about Distribution – what are the pros and cons of different methods?

Focus on Regulatory bodies for TV only (don’t worry about Press Complaints etc) and have a look at some of the rulings by Ofcom, and find what the trust said about the same complaints.

What exactly does the trust cover?

What exactly does Ofcom Cover?

Keep all the sources you use, and start assembling your case study:- whether is is a Prezi, powerpoint, essay, report, video, podcast, etc….


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