reality tv revenue stream?
October 7, 2010 11:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an overview of the economics of reality television - how much does this sector generate in cash?

I'm plowing through the trade publications, but can't find anything with an intelligent broad perspective of the industry, and revenue streams of successful series, that delineates the relative dominance of unscripted versus scripted programming. any suggestions?
posted by TMezz to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Anecdotal, but I have worked on reality shows where there was a specific product-placement deal in action, where we had to make sure that we added a shot of the product (facial cleanser, in one case). I'm sure there was revenue generated from that. No idea how much.
posted by Spyder's Game at 12:59 PM on October 7, 2010

Reality TV is almost always nonunion (Amazing Race and Survivor are DGA, and a couple are WGA) and much, much cheaper to produce than is scripted TV.

A network pays a production company a license fee to produce the series. Whatever the production company can charge to the series (overhead, etc.), the production company will do so. Anything left over from the expenses of the actual production is profit.

Sometimes the network will own the series entirely, but more commonly, the production company will share in the ownership, and if the show can be sold into syndication (where sitcoms make their REAL money), then there's more profit (scripted TV shows have to pay residuals, nonunion shows don't.)

Product placement is lagniappe--nice to have, but it's not any real revenue spinner.

Old story from Forbes.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:55 PM on October 7, 2010

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