Did you ever wonder what it costs to make a television program? Don’t forget, television is first and foremost… a business. This article talks about the business of television entertainment. There are a lot of costs associated with making a television program and ways they re-coop those costs and then some. Here’s what you need to know.
The Business of Television Entertainment
Television is a Business
We often don’t think of television as a business but it is a large business that employs many different people from actresses to actors, producers, extras, and so on. A show may cost on the low end around $500,000 to produce and on the high end, it’s several million per episode. It all depends upon the show and there can be a variety of variables involved. Some shows can be very expensive to produce such as the popular ER show which cost $13 million per episode to produce!
Shows generally make money through advertising from corporate sponsors. This is why there are so many commercials on television. These corporations pay big dollars to have their spots appear on popular television shows. If the show is highly rated then there’s a higher cost for the advertiser. For example, a typical spot during the Super Bowl can run millions of dollars because this is a time when many millions of people are watching. The advertisers pay to have their messages displayed and the ability to promote their brands.
Some channels don’t have any advertising but they make money through subscriptions to their content and sometimes with product placement in shows. You may see a certain smartphone all the time or a type of car they use and so on.
Actors and Actresses
It can be difficult to hire well-known actors and actresses for a show because they command high fees. The producer of a show may decide to hire unknowns to keep costs down or may hire an actor, for example, that hasn’t worked in a long time and needs the money. Some actors will command huge salaries such as the late James Gandolfini who was paid more than $800,000 per episode or Charlie Sheen for Two and a Half Men who was paid over $1.25 million per episode. This amount of money is rare for television as only the best-known in Hollywood can command this amount.
Many unknown actors may only make about $50,000 to star in a pilot or a made for T.V. movie but this can be a springboard to big-time movies and more money. For example, an actor like Will Smith started on television and then went on to make big-time movies and the same can be said for Tom Hanks along with many others. Most unknown actors will work up the ladder and if the show they star in becomes successful, they can immediately require more money. If the network doesn’t want to pay this then some stars may decide to walk out of the show. Many actors and actresses have a set price for their services or may require perks to take the position.
Television is as much a business as the movies are or any other business. It may not seem like it but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to the business of television entertainment. There is also a lot of money paid to those shows for the commercials you have to deal with during your show. DVR, anyone?