Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Pre-funding TV show rescues from cancellation

What if, instead of petitions or letter-writing campaigns to save our favourite TV shows from cancellation, we just ran our own Kickstarter funding drives? That way, assuming the audience is there, when the network calls "cancel", we can respond with "Oh, yeah? Here's your next season funded right now. UNCANCELLED!" I'd get behind this. In fact, I'd be happy for some shows to put some cash in escrow in case of cancellation - an emergency fund, if you will.

It's not without problems, of course. First, how do you trust that this cash is going to the right people in the first place? What would be to stop someone setting up a fund, slapping the name "Firefly" on it, then pocketing some cash and disappearing, before a trademark dispute can even be raised? Second, you don't want the emergency fund to be the lazy fallback position. If the studio hears that there's a few million dollars held in trust, they might be less likely to greenlight the next season with their own money. Just say its cancelled, grab the rescue fund and carry on. Zero investment, full profit. Third, you want to get the rights right. You don't want fans swooping in droves to save a cancelled show, only to have the network pick it back up and, again, pocket the profits. If the angel investors are the show's fans, they should get a cut of the profits for funding like this. Point 3 should cancel out point 2. Unless you paid in, you don't get cash out. Fourth, and perhaps the biggest problem, by the time the public hears about a show being cancelled, it's way too late to save it. By then, the props and costumes are warehoused, recycled or pillaged, the sets are torn down and the stages reassigned, plus the writers, actors and other crew are looking for their next gig. The network completely dismantles a show, then makes the press release to say it's over, and then the fans cry out in an uproar. We need to get in just at the point where the studio decides their money is better spent elsewhere.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - If we can get in at that point, this might work.
PPS - Or we might learn that TV is way more expensive than we thought.

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