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Kevin Flach
Program Formats
on Aug 24, 2005 at 2:24:51 pm

I'm considering self-publishing a program and selling it via DVD over the web. I want to make it broadcast-friendly - just in case.

I know when I watch TV shows there's usually a short bit of the show followed by the titles followed by commercials and then the first full segment of the show.

How do I need to time a program to accommodate a 30 minute or 1 hour time slot?

Is it 2 minutes up front for the short bit of the show with the title?

How many minutes should I plan on having between commercials?

How many commercial breaks?

What kind of time should I plan on having at the end for credits?

I'd really appreciate someone filling me in on this info. If this is the wrong forum, please let me know which one is appropriate.

Thanks.


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Matte
Re: Program Formats
on Aug 25, 2005 at 2:18:35 am

Each network or station would have its own "specs".

There is no "2 minutes up front followed by Titles" rule or similar.

TV shows producers/writers determine how the shows go together.

Broadcasters and cable-casters determine how many minutes for spots internally.

But to my mind, you're kind of doing things backwards,

Unless this is an unusually compelling or unique, sought-after presentation, you might have a tough time getting someone to run it regardless of the "format" (although if the format is "unacceptable," it WON'T run as-is, regardless.) Do some research with LIKELY broadcast/cable outlets.

Another option is the "vanity show" (think, "Infomercial") where you would BUY the airtime or cable time to run your own show on your own "dime".
Then you could decide EVERYTHING, format-wise, (within the time-frame allotted) for yourself.


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Paul Thurston
Re: Program Formats
on Aug 26, 2005 at 5:22:38 am

Here's a guide, but like all guides, they may change based on the broadcast entity.

1-hour shows are usually 44 minutes in length. The remaining 16 minutes are filled with advertising by the broadcaster or syndicator or both.

30-minute shows are usually 22 minutes in length. The remaining 8 minutes are filled with advertising by the broadcaster or syndicator or both.

Some 1-hour programs are designed to not have much adverting, and therefore are specified to last 55 minutes in length.

If you're not sure what the program length requirements may be, you can't go wrong by editing to 44 minutes total length and editing in 8 cut off points (fade to black and fade up again) where it would be logical to add commercials in that slot later on if the show gets picked up.

22 minute shows usually have 4 cut off points.

Remember to add bars and tone for at least 30 seconds and at least 20 to 30 seconds of black before program start.

Regards,
Paul Thurston






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Kevin Flach
Re: Program Formats
on Aug 26, 2005 at 2:02:10 pm

Thanks for this info.

As far as I can tell, what I'm planning *is* a unique presentation of the material. I certainly haven't seen or heard of anything quite like it. That's why I think it's at least theoreticaly possible that this could get picked up for broadcast. This will involve a lot of animation, motion graphics, and highly customized music/audio - it's a very non-traditional presentation of the material. That's why It's so important to get this type of info up front. I want to make it easy for someone to say "yes" to by giving them fewer excuses to say "no."

Prior planning prevents poor performance. As much work as I will have to put into this, I *really* want to reduce the potential for poor performance.


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HawaiiRap
Re: Program Formats
on Oct 6, 2005 at 9:27:55 am

As previously mentioned formats vary within the market. Why not just ask your possible outlets for a program format sheet? One outlets may be 22:00content another may be 22:30 or even 23:00 of content for a half hour show. We all have put mega-hours into projects so good luck. Poor Planning..Great Planning..Mega-hours..unique programming..been there done that. Just ask the outlet and stay away from the catchy phrases. Depending upon your plan/program do not anticipate that an outlet is going to pay you for your work so focus on getting sponsors on board. Worked as a program director for medium market for many years. On average I got 5 proposals a week for shows. We didn't buy shows. If we did anything other than news, it was done internally... that's changing now so you may have just a little bit less of a mountain in front of you.



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Kevin Flach
Re: Program Formats
on Oct 6, 2005 at 1:44:45 pm

Wow. That sure complicates things.

This originally started as an idea to create and sell my own DVD. I'm trying to make it as easy as possible to put on TV is that ever becomes an option. I didn't realize that there was so much network to network variation.

I also didn't realize that I would have to find my own sponsors. That's good to know.

So much to learn...

(grin)


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