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Pre-reading task

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Work in pairs. Write as many types of TV programs as possible. What are your favorite ones? Give examples.

Study the following words and expressions:

Account for v [ ] - составлять

affiliate n [ ] - филиал

broadcast v [ ] - вещать, передавать по радио, телевидению

customarily adv [kʌs,tə’merili] – обычно, общепринято

distribution n [ ] - распределение; распространение

facility n [ ] - возможность, благоприятные условия; льготы; оборудование; средства

handle v [ ] - обращаться, рассматривать, управлять

income n [ ] – доход, прибыль

lease v [ ] - сдавать внаем (в аренду)

newscast n [ ] - последние известия

overlap n [ ] - частичное наложение; частичное совпадение, совмещение

revenue n [ ] - доход; выручка

scatter v [ ] - разбрасывать, рассыпать

purchase v [ ] - купить, покупать, приобретать

ultimately adv [ ] - в конечном счёте, в конце концов; окончательно


Read and translate the text using a dictionary if necessary:

Before we begin, it is necessary to define some of the key concepts and discuss the arrangements between major elements of the industry. The commercial television system consists of all those local stations whose income is derived from selling time on their facilities to advertisers. The noncommercial system consists of those stations whose income is derived from sources other than the sale of advertising time.

A local TV station is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to provide TV service to a particular community. In the industry, these communities are customarily referred to as markets. There are 211 markets in the United States, ranging from the number-one market, New York City, with about 6.6 million homes, to number 211, Miles City, Montana, with about 6000 homes. Some of these local TV stations enter into contractual agreements with TV networks. As in the radio industry, a television network is a group of local stations linked electronically so that programs supplied by a single source can be broadcast simultaneously. Four commercial networks in the United States supply programs to local stations: the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and the Fox Broadcasting Company (FBC). The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) serves as a network for noncommercial stations. The electronic part of the program distribution is done through microwave and satellite facilities. A local station that signs a contract with one of the networks is an affiliate. Each of the three major commercial networks has about 200 affiliates scattered across the country; Fox has slightly fewer. Local stations that do not have network affiliation are independents. With this background in contractual arrangements, let us now turn to an examination of how the industry is organized.

Much like the film industry, the TV industry is divided into three segments: (1) production, (2) distribution, and (3) exhibition. The production element is responsible for providing the programming that is ultimately viewed by the TV audience. The distribution function is handled by the TV networks and syndication companies. The exhibition of television programs - the element in the system that most people are most familiar with - is the responsibility of local TV stations. It should be kept in mind that there is some overlap in the performance of these various functions. Networks produce and distribute programs; local stations also produce programs as well as exhibit them. Let's take a more detailed look at two of these divisions.

Production.Pretend for a moment that you are the manager of a local TV station in your hometown. Your station signs on at 6 am and signs off at 2 am. That means your station must provide twenty hours of programming every day, or approximately 7000 hours of programming each year. Where do you get all this programming? There are basically three sources:

1. local production

2. syndicated programming

3. for some stations, network programs

Local production consists of those programs that are produced in the local station's own studio or on location with the use of the station's equipment. The most common local productions are the station's daily newscasts, typically broadcast at noon, in the early evening, and late in the evening. Stations have found that these newscasts attract large audiences, which in turn attract advertisers. As a result, the local news accounts for a major proportion of the ad revenue that is generated by a local station. Not surprisingly, local stations devote a major share of their production budgets to their news shows. Many stations are equipped with portable TV cameras, mobile units, satellite news-gathering vans, and even helicopters. Other locally produced programming might consist of local sports events, early morning interview programs, and public affairs discussion shows. It would be difficult, however, for a local station to fill its entire schedule with locally produced programming. As a result, most stations turn to programming produced by other sources.

If the station is affiliated with a network, much of its programming problem is solved. Networks typically supply about 65-70 percent of the programming carried by their affiliates. Not all of this programming is actually produced by the networks. In fact, only network news, documentaries, sports events, talk shows (such as Today and Good Morning America), some soap operas, and an occasional prime-time series are network productions. The other programs carried by the networks are actually produced by independent production companies or the television divisions of film production companies. Even though the network does not produce the program, it still has a stake in its performance since the network and the production company combine to finance it. If the program is a hit, both the network and the production company will make a profit. In the case of a motion picture, the network buys the rights to show the film one or more times on TV.

Distribution. As we have mentioned, the two main elements in the distribution segment of television are the networks and the syndication companies. The network distributes programs to its affiliates by transmitting them by satellite. The station then transmits them to its viewers as they are received, or it videotapes them and presents them at a later time period or different day. The affiliation contract between a local station and the network is a complicated document. In simplified terms, the station agrees to carry the network's programs, and in return the network agrees to pay the station a certain amount of money for clearing its time so that the network programs can be seen. (Although it may seem contradictory that the network actually pays the station to carry the network's programming, remember that the network is using the local station's facilities to show the network's commercials.) The amount of money paid by the network varies by market size. For example, in the late l980s, in Anchorage, Alaska, the local NBC affiliate received about $300 per hour. NBC compensated its local station in Dallas about $2,500 per hour, while it paid its New York affiliate $10,000 an hour. The network then sells time in its programs to advertisers seeking a national audience. Decreasing network revenues have lowered the compensation rates that are now paid to affiliates. The Fox Network has even instituted a plan in which compensation is tied to the performance of its shows. The better the net shows do in the ratings, the more compensation given to affiliates.

Syndication companies provide another kind of program distribution. These organizations lease taped or filmed programs to local television stations. Sometimes, as mentioned above, the syndication company also produces the program, but more often it distributes programs produced by other firms. Local stations that purchase a syndicated program receive exclusive rights to show that program in their market (a situation complicated by cable TV systems that bring in distant stations; see below). Usually a station buys a package of programs-perhaps as many as 120 episodes or more-and the contract specifies how many times each program can be repeated.

Ex. 1. Answer the following questions:

1. What is the difference between the commercial and noncommercial television systems?

2. According to what criteria is the USA divided into TV markets?

3. What is a TV network?

4. Can you name the TV industry segments? What are they responsible for?

5. What sources of programming does a local TV station have?

6. What does local production consist of? What programs does it offer?

7. What programs do networks produce?

8. What is the agreement between a local station and the network?

9. How do syndication companies distribute programs?

Ex. 2. Give Russian equivalents to these expressions:

Contractual arrangements, to be familiar with, let us now turn to, as well as, to sign a contract, a motion picture, to make a profit, as we have mentioned, in simplified terms, to receive exclusive rights, in return, in turn, a complicated document, as mentioned above.

Ex. 3. Arrange the words below into three categories:

TV stations TV equipment TV programs


Daily newscasts, public affairs discussion shows, documentaries, portable TV cameras, early morning interview programs, local, talk shows, mobile units, sports events, satellite news-gathering vans, affiliates, network news, sports events, independents, soap operas, helicopters, occasional prime-time series.

Ex. 4. What sort of TV programs do you think these would be?

1. Murder at the Match

2. The Amazing Underwater World

3. World Cup Special

4. The $10,000 Question

5. Last Week in Parliament

6. Hamlet from Stratford

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