More Family Programming Needed?

Theater owners and TV stations/network owners have interesting, possibly opposing viewpoints when it comes to "family" entertainment content.

Seems that movie attendance is down some 12% this year so far. Why? Theater owners at their big annual event in Las Vegas, CinemaCon, are blaming too many "R"-rated movies. They suggest that the studios make more family-friendly fare -- and that will take care of things.

This strategy would seem to be the exact opposite of what TV programmers are doing.

Rough and racy TV content is big, from AMC's "The Walking Dead," to any Real Housewives show.

For years a contingent of the Association for National Advertisers have pushed for more family programming -- especially on broadcast networks. That hasn't gone as well as those marketers would like.

TV programming experts will tell you that overall "family" programming doesn't really work, that most pull in mediocre TV ratings for this fare. And despite what some advertisers say they want publicly, still some want high-rated TV shows.

A big segment of TV advertisers would like more family programming because it's safer, less controversial, and won't get their customers (or future customers) into a snit should a marketer be associated with something less-appropriate.

Theater owners don't have that problem. But theater owners do have a good argument when looking at the big success of animated-family movies -- Fox's "Ice Age: Continental Drift" ($879 million worldwide box office); Paramount's "Madagascar 3" ($743 million); Disney's "Brave" ($538 million); and Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph" ($435 million).

What do studio chiefs think? Adam Fogelson, chairman of Universal Pictures, said it's not about fewer "R" movies and more "family" films. It's about producing fewer "strange R-rated" movies.

Maybe the answer is more  "good" movies or TV shows  -- whatever good  means.

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3 comments about "More Family Programming Needed? ".
  1. Rob Frydlewicz from RAF Consulting , April 19, 2013 at 1:34 a.m.
    Part of the reason movies targeted to kids do so well at the box office is due to the fact that millions of tickets are sold to parents who must accompany their wee ones. Once home, however, where supervision isn't required, the kids are put in front of the set to watch Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel while Mom & Dad escape to watch the likes of "The Walking Dead", and "Game of Thrones".
  2. Edmund Singleton from Winstion Communications , April 19, 2013 at 4:58 a.m.
    Good idea lets have more family programming that nobody watches...
  3. Chris Edwards from Cox Media , April 19, 2013 at 11:22 a.m.
    Actually what TV needs is GOOD family programming. Most "family" programs on TV are so insipid and stupid that they are unwatchable. I know that creating a successful TV show is an extremely difficult task. But in an effort to please everyone, networks end up pleasing no one. What I see in most family programs is a complete lack of imagination.