The paradox of TV formats. Why pay for something that is free?

Kretschmer, M. and Singh, S. (2009) The paradox of TV formats. Why pay for something that is free? In: 1st Annual Workshop of International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property, Milan, Italy, 26-27 Jun 2009,

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Television formats, such as Big Brother, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Pop Idol or Strictly Come Dancing, are fast growing programme types in a multi-channel media environment, and a major export of the UK creative industries. However, since a series of court decisions (Green v Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand, 1988; Norowzian v Arks, 2000) it is widely accepted that there is no such thing as a television format right under copyright law. This has created a paradox: Why do programme buyers pay for a format if they can re-create it for free? This paper reports first results from an ESRC funded empirical study, exploring the practices of transaction in the exploitation of television formats. The research was based on (1) semi-structured interviews of media buyers and sellers at three international trade fairs; (2) a case study of the exploitation of television formats developed by FremantleMedia, one of the leading UK independent television producers.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Keywords:Television format rights, protection strategies, empirical evidence, format rights database, ESRC TV Formats Website
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kretschmer, Professor Martin and Singh, Dr Sukhpreet
Authors: Kretschmer, M., and Singh, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law

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