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The Protection of television formats: intellectual property and market based strategies.

Singh, S., 2010. The Protection of television formats: intellectual property and market based strategies. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Television formats have become a major export product, with Britain alone accounting for nearly half of all format hours broadcast annually worldwide. Yet, there is no such thing as a television format right under copyright law. Any producer is free to develop game, reality and talent shows that are based on similar ideas. This research analyses the paradox of growth in the international trade of formats in the absence of any legal solutions which provide precise and enforceable governance. The research first assesses the limits of copyright law as a means of protecting formats, by creating a bespoke database of 59 format disputes reported in the trade press and in online services. Disputes are categorised by jurisdiction, ground of dispute and decision or settlement. Secondly, theoretical propositions of format protection are developed, based on theories from the diverse fields of cultural theory (production of culture perspective), marketing (brand identity, innovation and extensions) and media economics (distribution dynamics and scale of production). These propositions then are exposed to semi-structured interviews with format sellers at international television trade fairs, as well as senior managers at Fremantlemedia (a leading format originator and distributor). The qualitative data is synthesized into a theory of format trade using IP and market based means of protection. Format developers appear to use three groups of strategies to exploit TV formats internationally. These are (1) Formalization and transaction of know-how (format bibles, flying producers, confidentiality agreements and access control); (2) Managing the brand (brand identity, localisations, brand extensions, innovation, trademarks); (3) Distribution dynamics and industry conventions (scale of production, social networks, retaliation, trade fairs). This research contributes to original knowledge in media and cultural industries management by first empirically illustrating a recurrent, under-researched problem and then advancing a theory to understand industry behaviour to overcome the same.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:15935
Deposited On:13 Aug 2010 13:01
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:02


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