I’ve been producing a show for the past several months. we are smack in the middle of a crazy production schedule, and expect episodes to start dropping the week of October 15th.
The interesting thing about making a TV show without network backing is that things cost money. You don’t actually make any money. And Christian stations don’t/won’t buy the show. So at best you get airtime for free. But on educational license stations, for-profit shows cannot even sell dvd copies of their program. I was stuck trying to figure out how to create a revenue stream.
Not because I want to get rich making TV. I need to have positive cash flow so that we can afford to keep making more episodes. And yes, at some point I would like to be able to do this for a living. Up until now the only revenue stream I will have is through youtube views.
Today I was talking to a friend who owns several Christian TV stations. He recounted a story from back when he was working for a major network affiliate where he traded a religious program air time. The station didn’t buy the show, but rather gave the producer 3:00 minutes worth of ad time. They could sell the spots, and pocket the ad revenue. The station sold the remaining spots.
That got me to thinking. Why couldn’t we do the same thing now?
I get an ad agency to negotiate a 30:00 slot on a weekend for a few commercial stations. They get 3:00 and I get 3:00. I sell six :30 spots in that market (or later as we grow, sell regional spots to larger companies). The sponsors write a check to the ad agency. They take their commission and send the rest of the money on to me.
Let’s say we can sell the spots for $100 each (Just a round number. This is probably too high.) So the episode bills out $600 for one week of play. The ad agency takes 10% and we see $520 come in. Obviously, if we grow this too much it gets out of control. So we hire someone to sell ads for 10%. So we see $480 come in. Per stations, every week. That’s a best case scenario.
Expand to 10 stations and we are tracking $4800 per week. Suddenly we can pay people to be a part of the show. Even at $50 per spot, we would be at $2400. Those are numbers we can work with. I’d take $25 a spot… $1200 per week.
There are still a lot of details to work out, but if this could work… we could do this for real, for the forseeable future.
UPDATE: Of course, finding a station that feels the same way is not that easy. So I have been figuring out, anyway.