Creativity in Television Production - DR3's Channel Strategy

Project: Research

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Description

My PhD project consists of a production analysis of the influence of systemic production conditions on creativity (Csikszentmihalyi 1988, 1999) in television production (spring 2016-spring 2019). My project uses the Danish public service television institution DR’s new channel for a younger audience (age 15-39) DR3 as a case study that embodies this transition from linear flow TV to the purely digital television channel. DR3 was launched in 2013 in a tense situation as the Danish public service media institution DR’s reaction to an intensified technological, political, and competitive pressure with challenges for DR and for traditional flow television in general (Williams 1975). That DR3’s programmes in spite of these obstacles are described as experimental and fairly original (MediaWatch, 05/05/2014, 10/04/2015) points to the influence of systemic conditions on creativity in a collective production process like television production (Frandsen 2007; Redvall 2010). The project has the following research questions (RQ):
RQ1 – Production analysis of creativity: What generates creativity in DR3’s TV production? What systemic structures at the network, channel, and programme level support creative experiments?
RQ2 – Production analysis of channel launch: To what extent has the establishment of a new channel culture with its own production practice enabled DR3’s creative experiments?
RQ3 – Production analysis of digitization and strategy: What needs do DR3’s TV production practice serve in relation to market strategy and digitization?

An important context for the project is the digital transformation that television is undergoing where online streaming is growing (DR 2014: 32) and new viewing habits like cord-cutting (having no TV subscription)and binge-watching (watching several episodes in a row) is challenging traditional TV theories (Strangelove 2015). Especially younger users are dropping flow TV and this development is redefining the framework for TV production practices. In its current situation DR3 has chosen a creative strategy that combines elements of both classic flow television and purely digital television. Television seems to be reacting to present changes in technology and audience habits that currently put DR3 in a rather paradoxical situation where their target audience is starting to abandon flow TV. Consequently, many of DR3’s programmes try to incorporate Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat in an effort to encourage participation by mimicking the supposed social media habits of their target audience. But at the same time DR3 has created several unconventional live events (Dayan & Katz 1992) and many live shows that theoretically could be considered a return to one of television’s classic strengths: liveness. It is not yet decided whether DR3 will remain a flow channel or become a purely digital channel (like BBC3) but upcoming public service committee hearings will decide this in 2017. My approach conceptualizes how creativity in TV production could emerge through a combination of strategic branding (Johnson 2012) and experiment. The project’s mixed methodological approach consists of ethnographic observations of selected productions, interviews with production team members, document analysis of relevant strategic documents, organizational analysis, and textual analysis. The preliminary findings so far suggest that original flagship programmes play a decisive role as bearers of both creative originality and strategic pragmatism.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date01/02/201631/01/2019

ID: 129043444