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Open to all

One of the things I love about television is that it is so delightfully inclusive.

It’s OK Homer, the television feels the same way about you

There’s good TV, and there’s bad TV, but there isn’t really ‘private’ TV.  A moderate monthly fee and parental controls notwithstanding, anyone can watch what they want  And the evidence is that while some targeting is possible – so men are more keen on sport, and women on drama, and so on – TV programmes tend to attract fairly broad audiences who come and go willy-nilly.  Well, if not willy, then at least nilly.  No TV channel attracts ONLY affluent people – in fact I’d like to see any evidence of a TV channel with a majority of affluent viewers.   TV channels will talk about their skew towards particular types of people, but they usually attract viewers from outside their official target,

Here’s what they might say:

Channel Now, about our audience Elevator pitch
ITV We’re bigger We’re for everyone, all in one go. Bish bosh
Channel 4 Quality, yes AND quantity Same as ITV, on a good day,… but our viewers have added zest
Channel 5 Like the Daily Express We’re like ITV, (we ARE) but charge less, + throw in OK Magazine
Sky Sports We’re LIVE Live TV = engagement. Viewing in pubs is unmeasured
Dave Men aged 30+ They’re the ones with the money.
ITV2 We’re a mood We’re fun, Friday, frisky + friendly to advertisers
E4/More4 We are young Our viewers are young & sassy so they respond to your adverts
Discovery Trust, outdoorsy Our adventurous audience respects us.  So they’ll respect you too
CNN We’re IMPORTANT We reach decision-makers, and all of Europe for free
Cartoon Net. Pester power They don’t have money, but children are so cute when they nag
MTV Feel our brand values Our channel is a sexy and street smart brand – like you
Living We’ve got women They hold the purse-strings and are more responsive
CNBC Purchase Power Forget consumers – we’ll put your CEO on-air
Quizzes Leaning forward Our viewers are engaged and sitting forward
Various Early adopters Our viewers are few, but influential (cf Tipping Point)
Movies Glamour Our films are the most expensive TV. Then we interrupt them
ITV3 Classic people Older people have all the cash and loads of grand-children

If you were to write the actual audience in most cases it would typically be adults aged… let’s just say adults.

Magazines and some websites promote their targetedness, but TV cannot, easily.  I have a red squiggly line under ‘targetedness’ but WordPress thinks I might mean ‘nearsightedness‘:  clever WordPress, because excessive targeting means a blindness to people who are a little distance away.  It implies a closed-mindedness to people outside our normal group, to what they have to offer, to new ideas, to ‘the other’.  Near where I live, the old Arsenal football stadium seems to have been turned into a ‘gated’ residential community (though at least they were built, it’s NIMBIES I really loath), the fellow parents at my children’s primary school plan to send their angels to private schools or grammars rather than the good local comprehensives because they fear, rather than embrace, the influence of the broader base of children.

TV is open to all.

It’s an interesting stance, openness.  It can appeal across the political divide because it is inclusive, but also unfettered.  It’s about freedom to achieve (right-wing) and to try things out (libertarian), but equality of opportunity (left-wing).  It’s about self-reliance stemming from exposure to risk, and self-discipline (right-wing), but is also about co-operation stemming from empathetic relationships with others (left wing).

In a neologistic outburst some years ago, we created some new words Globehave, for someone who regularly displayed an open behaviour with the wider world (think, someone who travels a lot, or loves foreign food).  Globatude was our word for having an open attitude – so an empathy for people in other countries – you feel naturally friendly to other people.  A tourist who travels a lot but eats food from home and doesn’t engage with others has globehaviour, but not the attitude.  If you have both, then you, truly, are a Global Citizen. (click here for more).   I’m a  little guilty for suggesting, as we did, that if you had neither the globatude or the globehave you were a lesser person than the fine people who watched our channel but we had a particular point, and .. it was long ago and far far away.

It’s OK. Regardless of where you fit on here, television is for you.

Which is all very well, but television straddles it all.  And in its purest form – linear, broadcast, live – it is not only open to all, it is consumed with others.  It doesn’t get more open than that.

And if you don’t like that wonderful inclusiveness and openness to all then, frankly, I don’t like you.  I can be narrow too.






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