Why are studios used to make programmes when tape is so cheap and available?
Studios offer alot of advantages whether live or recorded, however their advantages are mos important for live shows. Studios offer the advantage of a life audience and a gallery. The gallery is especially important due to the need to edit the programme when there is no time for post-production editing, with the only editing being used for TVs. The gallery acts as a live editing centre, picking which cameras to chose, choosing when the VTs are played and changing the sound levels when appropriate.
The presence of an established studio set also gives the show a feeling of being live and ‘real’. Top Gear uses this effect to make the show appear to be somekind of live motor show (and in many ways, it is) with the audience huddled around to presenters in a circle as if the crowed as gathered spontaneously, while The One Show and This Morning create a kind of ‘lounge’, bringing guests in for a friendly chat. This use of the audience and live guests is particularly important for magazine show, as the audience interaction represents the viewer’s following or ‘readership’ in a magazine sense.
What are magazine programmes? Why do audiences like them?
Magazine shows normally offer what their paper counterparts offer; professional opinion, guests, reviews and other ‘items’ on a specialist subject or for a particular target audience. They differ from other television shows in the way that they are often light-hearted and lean towards entertainment. For example, ‘The Daily Politics’ and ‘Newsnight’ are both about politics and current affairs, but ‘The Daily Politics’ is a Magazine Show because it involves a pair of presenters casking a sometimes light-hearted view on the recent political events, a VT showing said events in a humours metaphor, celebrity guests giving their view on politics despite otherwise having nothing to do with the political system, and a competition for the audience to win “the acclaimed and highly sort after Daily Politics mug”. Where as Newsnight gives serious reports about current affairs and their interviewees are restricted to politicians and other people who are involved with a given issue.
Audience like Magazine shows because they offer a variety of entertaining yet authoritative views about a subject that they are are interested in, or a more general entertainment format like The One Show; all the while not taking themselves too seriously.
What are the limitations of magazine shows? How can they be improved to ensure they continue?
Magazine shows can be limited in a number of ways; their specialised subject (if indeed they have one at all), their presenters and their dependence on new material. Their specialised subject can’t be too specialised or at risk of going out of fashion as they may risk becoming the television equivalent of those vague publications quoted on ‘Have I Got News For You’. And a more realistic thread to magazine shows is their dependence on trusted faces and a never ending flow of material to report on. That’s why shows like Top Gear and The Daily Politics are so successful; people will always be interested in cars of various sorts and politics, with political news and new car designs always coming out, more so with political news. If there were no more new car designs, Top Gear won’t have any more cars to review; which would force them to go even further down the ‘crazy challenges’ route of item content. And image if the BBC randomly decided to replace all or even just one of the presenters of Top Gear with new ones; it would break the social triangle* that the loyal audience has gotten used to.
*Clarkson is the slightly dominant opinionated one, Hammond is the relatively young one and May is “Captain Slow”.
The BBC finds this social triangle to be so vital to the show that they planned to postponed the next series of Top Gear because of Richard Hammond’s car crash.
Consider other sources of distribution for magazines type shows?
With the rise and rise of the internet, it is the only natural path for the magazine show and indeed most shows to go, with BBC running and improving its iPlayer service where where their magazine shows are already available for streaming or download.