Sign in to follow this  
SansFin

Is TCM changing?

81 posts in this topic

TCM does have commercials, what they don't have is commercial interruptions, and that is fine with me. For one thing, they advertise stuff I actually want. Thanks to TCM's vault MOD collections I now have a watchable print of "Female on the Beach". They've coaxed Sony and even Universal into putting out restored films that would not be out there otherwise. Much better than the odd practices on other stations. AMC not only interrupts their programs, they advertise things that have nothing to do with their target demographic. During "Walking Dead" they have ads for scooters and life alert targeted for seniors who I doubt are interested in that show. Left leaning MSNBC regularly shows ads by people trying to rally support for conservative causes. Most ponderous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Commercials between movies are no big deal. They're no worse than some of the other junk they use between films. Commercials WITHIN movies are really annoying. The only positive is that they allow comfort breaks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}If there is more selling going on, it's to make money for TCM. That money is used to keep TCM alive and to be able to license more films. You have a problem with that?

To procure more showings of Doctor Zhivago? :^0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before you know it, daddy O will be doing commercials for.. 'Hair Club For Men',..... Not classy ! :|

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without the money earned from selling stuff, we'd be seeing ZHIVAGO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, SOME LIKE IT HOT, and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY in what's known in the music radio biz as "heavy rotation".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to remind all that I began this thread as a discussion of the expansion of themes from day-long or evening-long incidents into month-long or multi-month-long events. I wished also to delve into the possible effects.

 

I did not mean this to be a discussion of advertisements, age of movies or other such oft-repeated and often-mindless issues.

 

I will to that end pose this question: do you believe that this will result in deeper delving into specific aspects or types of movies when selecting premieres to the detriment of the diversity in premieres selected in the past?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}Without the money earned from selling stuff, we'd be seeing ZHIVAGO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, SOME LIKE IT HOT, and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY in what's known in the music radio biz as "heavy rotation".

With an occasional drop-in visit from old friends Lawrence and Bob Stroud. :^0 :^0 :^0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=FlyBackTransformer wrote:}{quote}With an occasional drop-in visit from old friends Lawrence and Bob Stroud. :^0 :^0 :^0

And other all too familiar tagalongs Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Infinite,

 

> I am sorry, but I have to take a contrary opinion. I don't see TCM as the same channel it was when I started to receive it in 2001. In the early days TCM, at least to me, appeared to care more about the classic films it showed. The films were shown uninterrupted, commercial-free, and UNEDITED. Today, it seems that more and more of the classic films are being shown in whatever condition TCM can get their hands on. There is no quality control. No one, it appears, works at TCM who knows these films frame by frame enough to know that there are any cuts, nor do I believe that TCM cares one way or another.

 

We have had these discussions before, and based on your responses to me there is no "so-called" appropriate answer for you. No one it seems can fully answer that problem you have with edited films being shown. You seem on proving to others that there is something wrong with TCM when they DO show an edited film by mistake. As I have written before as others have as well, no cable channel is perfect. They are going to make mistakes.

 

I am going to try and do this one more time. I have posted these questions and answers before, but like I wrote in the preceding paragraph, I think you may feel that whatever reasons TCM comes up with is still not good enough for you.

 

A while back Charlie Tabesh, the Senior Vice President for Programming at TCM appeared on the Silver Screen Oasis website to try to answer questions the members there had about TCM. He was very generous with his time and answered as many questions as he could. In one of the questions asked to him, he talks about the types of films TCM gets?..

 

*Question:*

 

Occasionally I notice that a print shown on TCM doesn't appear to be of the same quality as a DVD I own of the same title; I've noticed this a couple times with MGM musicals. If my perception is correct, is there any particular logistical reason that TCM isn't able to show the best print available? Just curious.

 

*Answer:*

 

We are playing more of both Universal and Paramount, maybe not as much as a lot of people would like, but definitely a lot more than we have in the last few years. As I said in an earlier reply, we are limited in the number that we can play but at least we do have some access, more than we've ever had before.

 

As for the quality of the films that we play compared to dvds, in almost every circumstance we should be able to get the same version that's been released on dvd. There have been times that we've made a mistake by not ordering the upgraded version. And there are very rare circumstances when one company has the television rights and another has the dvd rights and the television company can only send us the version that they have. But this is very rare because we can usually still access the version from the company that has a better version on dvd. I do remember a film recently for Underground that the rightsholder felt that what was out on dvd was illegally being distributed and so we couldn't access it. And there was the time that Paramount wouldn't supply us with the Photoplay version of "Wings" and Photoplay couldn't provide it to us without Paramount's permission. But those situations are very rare, the truth is a lot of times it's our fault that we missed the fact that something better was created - we do try and stay on top of that, though.

 

The only caveat I have is that some films are unavailable due to materials. I'm not saying that's the situation with any of those that have been requested, but that's a possibility. But we look into the situation for each one (we do have a deal with Sony that provides us with great access to the Columbia library, but materials can be an issue).

 

 

Let me ask you something Infinite:

 

When you first started receiving TCM in 2001, did you notice then that they were showing films that were edited? And the reason I am asking is that you seem to know an awful lot about most films. Or at least the way they ARE edited and or not edited. In other words, do you know for sure that TCM was not getting films back then that at that time were not edited versions of the originals?

 

Personally, I don't really understand how you think TCM can improve any of the so-called problems you think they are having with this issue of yours. If they request a film from a studio who has already leased a version of that film out to another channel, and the studio does have another version available, maybe a version that has been edited for network television showings and TCM gets that one by mistake, what recourse does TCM have?

 

They have already planned to show the film months out from when they initially lease the film, unless TCM takes the film and screens it first and then possibly returns it to the studio in hopes of getting the non-edited film. That to me sounds like a lot of work for a very small staff in TCM Programming. According to Mr. Tabesh, he has a staff of five folks. So for TCM staff to screen each and every film they receive would probably be cost prohibitive. There is not enough time in every day to screen each film. Are you really that serious in suggesting that TCM devote that much time in making sure that each film is screened?

 

Lets do some math, okay?

 

An average film being shown on TCM has lets say a running time of 90 minutes. And lets say we take the 388 films being shown on TCM in July and that comes to 34,920 minutes.

 

There are 21 working days in July. That is taking into account that most corporate entities give the day after July 4th off as well.

 

There is an average of 8 hours in a work day.

There are 60 minutes in an hour.

There are 480 minutes in a work day.

 

For July's 21 work days that comes to 10,080 minutes total for the month. Now, based on the 100 minutes per film average, the TCM programming staff would need almost four employees to review all 388 films in order to cover the 38,880 minutes of film. I do not believe that any department that is so short staffed like this department's could do this in addition to performing all of their other functions, do you?

 

They are not a large operation Infinite. They may be owned by Time Warner, but they are the only cable channel in their listing of channels that does not run commercials. And when I say commercials, I mean the ones that are hawking regular retail products and services, not the special DVD sales or cruise/festival commercials that they do run between films.

 

> Contrary to what anyone says, there are more post 1950s films then ever added to the schedules and they are more times then not, the bottom of the barrel.

 

It all depends on how you decide how to count films on the schedule. For instance the July schedule has according to my count 388 films. This figure does not count shorts, documentaries, or the Johnny Carson shows. Of this total, there are 276 films being shown on TCM made before 1960 and 112 films being shown on TCM made after 1960. 71% of all films being shown on TCM during the month of July were made before January 1, 1960. 29% of all fins being shown on TCM during the month of July were made after January 1, 1960. TCM on average will show anywhere between 20 to 30% post 1959 films on the schedule. That is more than a two to one ratio.

 

July had the following decade breakdown:

 

1910's: 1

1920's: 9

1930's: 59

1940's: 97

1950's 110

1960's: 77

1970's: 25

1980's: 10

 

> The foreign films, and there are too many of them, belong in art houses or on a spin off channel, why not TNT or TBS since those channels already cater to the lowest common denominator.

 

There are not that many foreign films on TCM. As someone else has indicated, TNT and TBS do not show foreign films. TNT is Time Warner's commercial drama station and they sometimes will show films. TBS is Time Warner's commercial comedy station plus they also show sporting events. These two channels would NEVER show foreign films. So that leaves TCM.

 

> The addition of documentaries and TV show interview segments are out of place on this channel. This does nothing, in my opinion to further TCM's reputation, but displays a laziness, a cheapness, and an uncaring attitude that will only serve to drive away TCM's base of classic film watchers to other channels or their home video collections.

 

> In fact, TCM is fast becomming the greatest advertisement for not watching their channel, by their obvious lack of respect for their loyal fan base, their lack of pride in what they show, their false pride in sub par schedules that do no justice to their brand, and their over concentration on film festivals, cruises, and commercials for DVDs, books, toys, and whatever, that the majority of viewers could care less about. TCM appears to be in a race to catch up to or down to amc's level. If this is too negative, I am sorry, but I find myself, as of late, watching less and less of the channel then I have in the past, for all the above reasons. I hope this answers your question.

 

Well maybe these decisions will drive people like you away. But for many film fans, it is a true lea sure to be able to watch these interviews between Johnny Carson and these film stars unfold. Many times they are very funny. As long as the segments just show the interactions between Johnny and his film guests, I see nothing wrong with showcasing these segments. Johnny Carson whether you liked him or not was very good at interviewing these Hollywood stars and he did it for so long as well. The Dick Cavett Shows and any other shows that feature these Hollywood legends "off" the screen so to speak is always entertaining and allows the film fan to see them away from the lights and the cameras.

 

I do not believe the channel is straying that far away from their original focus. That focus has always been on classic films. Many believe that the definition of classic indicates any film made slightly before and slightly after the Golden Age of Hollywood. I would venture to say as others have said that the word classic is defined by something that may hold value beyond any number of years and or is something that we can cherish from today or from a few years back.

 

Your opinion is that TCM is loosing any of it's core audience simply because they have decided to increase viewer participation by showing interviews, or other documentaries that support Hollywood and the world cinema. There is nothing wrong in my opinion in trying to bring in younger audiences. In fact according to what TCM General Manager Jeff Gregor indicated recently: TCM had done ?some demographic work? recently and discovered some things about audience composition. ?I don?t want to say it was a surprise,? he said. ?But two-thirds of our audience is 18-54.?

 

So in order for TCM to attract and maintain younger audiences, sure possibly newer films need to be shown. They can't get every older classic film available. It is way too cost prohibitive. But no channel can do this on a regular basis. I think what TCM is trying to do is great. A mix of all things movies. That might include interviews, docs, and other devices. But clearly the focus is showing films.

 

As far as selling DVDs, or making announcements about the Film Festival or Cruises, these are ways for TCM to raise much needed capital to ensure that they can continue to purchase films in the future. As far as the quality of the films are concerned, That is always going to be an ongoing issue for some, especially like yourself. But TCM has always shown some pretty horrible films on the channel going all the way back to 1994. Nothing is different now as it was then.

 

In my belief TCM is not trying to catch up to AMC. Why would they? AMC is NOT the channel it once was. They only use the "AMC" now with no inclination to going by "American Movie Classics" anymore. Plus with the change in format to showing heavily edited films and commercials, only the less classic inclined fan will watch this channel.

 

Here were some additional questions and answers to and from Charlie Tabesh when he appeared over at the Silver Screen Oasis website:

 

*Question:*

 

Besides rights issues, what are some of the other problems you encounter when trying to book older, lesser known titles?

 

*Answer:*

 

Other than rights the biggest issue, by far, is quality of materials. A lot of films are in very bad condition, some aren't playable at all. And even if a studio does have film elements, they still need to be transferred to video which can be very expensive (and cost-prohibitive).

 

*Question:*

 

I don't have to tell you that TCM has a very loyal core audience and we all have varied tastes when it comes to films and what we expect from TCM. It has to be very challenging to try and program something for everybody. Are there times when you're working on a schedule and just pounding your head on your desk trying to decide whether to add a lesser know, seldom seen, classic for all of us serious film buffs or another run of some well know film (like "Singing in the Rain") in an effort to get viewers who may tune in because they've seen it before or at least have heard of it? How do you do it?

 

*Answer:*

 

That is really the balance that we try to achieve. As you suggest, our hardcore fans, and I assume most people here at Silver Screen Oasis, are excited about the rare or obscure titles. But we're also a place that many people discover classic movies for the first time. In addition - because there are so few options out there for classic movie fans - some people are watching TCM almost all the time and, to them, any repeat is annoying because they might have seen that film on the channel a month or two ago. One more point: if we play a title 5 or 6 times a year, that's a whole lot for us; that might happen with less than a dozen titles each year and the average title plays between 1 to 2 times in a year. And even when we play a film 5 or 6 times, it's almost always at different times of the day. But if you've seen those films a few times you want something new and different. So we're trying to please a lot of people and different levels of classic movies fans. I'm sure we get it wrong sometimes but we do take pride in our role and try to do our best.

 

*Question:*

 

I hope that however the ratings are evaluated that "time shifting" viewing is somehow taken into consideration. Including Silent Sundays, many of the movies I'm interested in are on overnight, so I do tend to watch them later in the week.

 

*Answer:*

 

Believe it or not we don't consider ratings when making programming decisions. In fact, we don't even get ratings information from Nielsen. At one point we did some special reports from them just to see what movies had the biggest audience and who was watching, but that wasn't ever something we did to determine what to play. Having said that, we're definitely aware that a lot of people time shift, I know I do.

 

*Question:*

 

Are all or most of the films shown by TCM presented in digita-beta format transferred from a 35mm print ?

 

*Answer:*

 

Over 99% of what we play are 35mm films transferred onto digibeta. As several people know, there were a couple of times this year that 16mm transfers were the only option for us, but that's very rare.

 

*Question:*

 

Does Warners strike new prints or make new transfers of films for viewing on TCM or do you have to simply have to program what you are told is available?

 

*Answer:*

 

No studio strikes new prints for us, including WB. And if a film hasn't yet been transferred to video, they usually will only do the transfer themselves if there's a dvd market for the film, our license fee is high enough to cover that cost (plus a little more), or if we pay for it ourselves. There are some exceptions, but economics certainly drives a lot of the decision-making, as you might expect. With regard to WB specifically, many of the films were transferred years ago by Ted Turner. In the '90s WB acquired the TEC library but for a lot of films we still use transfers that were made many years ago. We're in conversations now with WB on the best way to update the library, and I should say there are some people there (one in particular) who are very passionate about that and they're taking a leading role in the process.

 

*Question:*

 

I'd like to know your observations of the differences in working for a non commercial station like TCM. Can you explain just how you can continue broadcasting a station not funded by commercials? Why can't/won't other stations do it?

 

*Answer:*

 

Almost all of our revenue comes from our cable/satellite affiliates. As you suggest, that's very rare in the television world. As most people know, what seems to happen is that a channel starts out with a niche (A&E, AMC, Bravo, etc.), then once they have a certain level of distribution, they become much broader in order to attract more ad dollars. With AMC, once they added advertising it really dictated that they change their programming in order to attract audiences that advertisers wanted. But one consequence of them doing that was that their loyal viewers were pretty upset, which led to a long period where a lot of people feared TCM would do the same thing - there were never any plans to do that on our end, but I actually think the outcry over AMC made us more committed than ever to keep it that way.

 

The truth is there's just no way to do a lot of the programming that we do if the business model is based in any significant way on advertising (which makes it much more fun for us as programmers). I don't think I explained that very well, but the end result is that being commercial-free makes our brand stronger; it also means we can take more chances and do things that we consider interesting and important, rather than trying to attract advertiser-friendly audiences. And playing films uncut and in their original aspect ratios also helps us establish ourselves as a network that truly cares about these films and their history (which we genuinely do). Our business isn't at big as many of the ad-supported networks out there, so our budgets are smaller, but I think we do pretty well with what we have. As for the interstitial pieces, promos, introductions, website, they're all done at the network and they're consistently fantastic - they're essential to our brand and people that create them care deeply about the films and are extremely creative. And, of course, Robert Osborne is the most important of all, we're very lucky to have him.

 

Edited by: fxreyman on Jul 13, 2013 3:07 PM

 

Edited by: fxreyman on Jul 14, 2013 12:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think TCM would have to change, to a certain extent. I don't expect them to have the same format as they did in 2001 either.

Remember, when they started out, it was with titles from the old MGM, RKO, and WB libraries; they rarely showed titles from Paramount and Universal, and practically nothing from Columbia and 20th Century-Fox.

Now, in more recent years they have been more inclusive of films from these other studios, and quite frankly, a lot of those titles are grade-b or worse, especially from Columbia. And I like some of those old stinkers.

 

Also, they are the only movie channel that shows the shorts and docs that the studios cranked out back in the day. My only criticism would be to upgrade the quality of the movies shown on TCM Underground. You can only pass off bad as "kitsch" for so long.

 

Weekends, at night, should be for more "silver age" classics from the late 60's thru early 80's.

They should have a regular time slot to celebrate the "New Hollywood" of the 1970's, which is really another golden age, if you think ablut it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm 28, A few years ago, I stumbled on to TCM, it's on my cable package. I was one of those who loved the modern films and didn't bother with B&W.. Seeing James Cagney on the screen changed my perception that older movies stink. Now, some are like me but others don't even bother and stay in their TV rotation. if the audience was more aware.. then maybe they would like it or not but TCM is in their own little bubble. At the very least, they need ads on other channels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I seem to remember a few ads on other channels during 31 days of Oscar, but that's all. I think they might have some print ads in magazines as well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=SansFin wrote:}{quote}I would like to remind all that I began this thread as a discussion of the expansion of themes from day-long or evening-long incidents into month-long or multi-month-long events. I wished also to delve into the possible effects.

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> I did not mean this to be a discussion of advertisements, age of movies or other such oft-repeated and often-mindless issues.

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> I will to that end pose this question: do you believe that this will result in deeper delving into specific aspects or types of movies when selecting premieres to the detriment of the diversity in premieres selected in the past?

 

The History of Film is an extended multi-month event, but then it takes time to tell such a tale and show all of the films. The only other change along those lines is the change of Friday nights to one month-long spotlight. That is probably done because they need to hire one specific guest host for that slot who is interested in one specific theme for the entire month. This probably goes back to the fact that as Bob Osborne is getting older he is requiring more and more time off. When Bob was hosting Friday nights you could do a different theme every Friday because he was a full-timer at TCM.

I don't think the change will necessarily mean more or less premieres.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=calvinnme wrote:}{quote}

> I don't think the change will necessarily mean more or less premieres.

 

I am assuming the number of premieres will remain constant. I must wonder if the manner of their selection will have an impact.

 

I have not checked the schedule closely for when Alfred Hitchcock's movies will be featured on Sundays as an expanded theme but I assume there are several premieres. It is possible that some would never have been chosen for a normal day-long theme because they appeal only to hardcore Hitchcock fans but they were needed for that schedule to fill out the time slots.

 

It may be as if the movies are a meadow and they will no longer dig small holes hither and thither but will do massive excavations at selected sites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mikat1 said the 70's were another classic era and I agree. Most of us are conditioned to think of "Classic" as pre 60's. The 70's is the decade of Pacino, DeNiro, Hackman, Streep and so on and these are considered the next great generation of actors. Along with people like Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges and even Warren Beatty, made plenty of good films or gave good performances in films that didn't quite change the world.

 

Serious dirctors emerged like Coppola, Scorsese. I would not be averse to seeing films like Deer Hunter, Dog DayAfternoon, Serpico, Sophie's Choice or Mean Streets on TCM.

 

These folks, just like the greats of previous eras, had their share of clunkers or movies that weren't well received or overlooked. Even these would be worthy of TCM. I remember a film of Pacino's called "The Panic in Needle Park" where he played a NYC junkie. I thought he was good in it. Come to think of it these films I mentioned don't often get shown. I don't get channels like The Movie Channel or FLIX so I don't know if they are being shown.

 

Edited by: yogiboo on Jul 14, 2013 7:40 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> . I would not be averse to seeing films like Deer Hunter, Dog DayAfternoon, Serpico, Sophie's Choice or Mean Streets on TCM.

All those films have been shown on TCM !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=heuriger wrote:}{quote}

> > . I would not be averse to seeing films like Deer Hunter, Dog DayAfternoon, Serpico, Sophie's Choice or Mean Streets on TCM.

> All those films have been shown on TCM !

And the only reason that The Panic In Needle Park hasn't shown up on TCM is that Fox has kept it exclusive to the FMC.

 

What yogiboo needs to do is just stick around for awhile. He'll be finding many pleasant surprises that he thought he'd never see with each passing month. That's certainly still the case with me, and I've been following TCM like a hawk for nearly four years now. Just look at the Truffaut retrospective this month, or the one for Hitchcock (with 6 of his newly re-released silents) in September. It's not as if all we're getting are endless loops of Splendor in the Grass and Lawrence of Arabia, even if at times it may seem that way. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=fxreyman wrote:}{quote}Infinite,

>

> > I am sorry, but I have to take a contrary opinion. I don't see TCM as the same channel it was when I started to receive it in 2001. In the early days TCM, at least to me, appeared to care more about the classic films it showed. The films were shown uninterrupted, commercial-free, and UNEDITED. Today, it seems that more and more of the classic films are being shown in whatever condition TCM can get their hands on. There is no quality control. No one, it appears, works at TCM who knows these films frame by frame enough to know that there are any cuts, nor do I believe that TCM cares one way or another.We have had these discussions before, and based on your responses to me there is no "so-called" appropriate answer for you. No one it seems can fully answer that problem you have with edited films being shown. You seem on proving to others that there is something wrong with TCM when they DO show an edited film by mistake. As I have written before as others have as well, no cable channel is perfect. They are going to make mistakes.

>

> *Agreed. It's not so much the occassional mistake that bothers me so much. It's more the repeated mistake. For example, I've complained so many times about every TCM showing of THE CYCLOPS that uses the same cut video master. I find it hard to believe that no one in programming has read any of those posts, yet the same cut master is the one that TCM chooses to show. Frustrating.*

>

>

> I am going to try and do this one more time. I have posted these questions and answers before, but like I wrote in the preceding paragraph, I think you may feel that whatever reasons TCM comes up with is still not good enough for you.

>

> A while back Charlie Tabesh, the Senior Vice President for Programming at TCM appeared on the Silver Screen Oasis website to try to answer questions the members there had about TCM. He was very generous with his time and answered as many questions as he could. In one of the questions asked to him, he talks about the types of films TCM gets..

>

> *Question:*

>

> Occasionally I notice that a print shown on TCM doesn't appear to be of the same quality as a DVD I own of the same title; I've noticed this a couple times with MGM musicals. If my perception is correct, is there any particular logistical reason that TCM isn't able to show the best print available? Just curious.

>

> *Answer:*

>

> We are playing more of both Universal and Paramount, maybe not as much as a lot of people would like, but definitely a lot more than we have in the last few years. As I said in an earlier reply, we are limited in the number that we can play but at least we do have some access, more than we've ever had before.

>

> As for the quality of the films that we play compared to dvds, in almost every circumstance we should be able to get the same version that's been released on dvd. There have been times that we've made a mistake by not ordering the upgraded version. And there are very rare circumstances when one company has the television rights and another has the dvd rights and the television company can only send us the version that they have. But this is very rare because we can usually still access the version from the company that has a better version on dvd. I do remember a film recently for Underground that the rightsholder felt that what was out on dvd was illegally being distributed and so we couldn't access it. And there was the time that Paramount wouldn't supply us with the Photoplay version of "Wings" and Photoplay couldn't provide it to us without Paramount's permission. But those situations are very rare, the truth is a lot of times it's our fault that we missed the fact that something better was created - we do try and stay on top of that, though.

>

> The only caveat I have is that some films are unavailable due to materials. I'm not saying that's the situation with any of those that have been requested, but that's a possibility. But we look into the situation for each one (we do have a deal with Sony that provides us with great access to the Columbia library, but materials can be an issue).

>

> Let me ask you something Infinite:

>

> When you first started receiving TCM in 2001, did you notice then that they were showing films that were edited?

>

> *The only other film that I know for sure was edited was THE SWINGER (1966*

> *film starring Ann-Margret). I don't remember the first time TCM showed this film, but I know it was a cut/edited version of the film. Please be aware, at no time am I saying that TCM personally did the cutting or editing of this film, only that they continued to show this version every time they asked for it.*

>

> And the reason I am asking is that you seem to know an awful lot about most films. Or at least the way they ARE edited and or not edited. In other words, do you know for sure that TCM was not getting films back then that at that time were not edited versions of the originals?

>

> *Obviously I cannot be sure of every film. I can only be sure of films that are my particular favorites. For these films I base my conclusions on 1. My memory of the films as they were shown in movie theatres 2. Confirmation from other fans 3. Missing scenes that turn up on YOU TUBE 4. My extensive home video collection on VHS and DVD of pre-recorded store bought films. My bigger concern is the films that I do not know by heart, how can we be sure that they are complete and uncut? What guarantee do we have that they are? TCM MISSION, you know.*

>

> *I also know that most, if not all films, had cast lists at the end of the film. Yet TCM more and more is cutting off a film before the cast list is shown. Maybe this is done to conserve time, I don't know, but it is still editing the film.*

>

> Personally, I don't really understand how you think TCM can improve any of the so-called problems you think they are having with this issue of yours. If they request a film from a studio who has already leased a version of that film out to another channel, and the studio does have another version available, maybe a version that has been edited for network television showings and TCM gets that one by mistake, what recourse does TCM have?

>

> They have already planned to show the film months out from when they initially lease the film, unless TCM takes the film and screens it first and then possibly returns it to the studio in hopes of getting the non-edited film. That to me sounds like a lot of work for a very small staff in TCM Programming. According to Mr. Tabesh, he has a staff of five folks. So for TCM staff to screen each and every film they receive would probably be cost prohibitive. There is not enough time in every day to screen each film. Are you really that serious in suggesting that TCM devote that much time in making sure that each film is screened?

>

> Lets do some math, okay?

>

> An average film being shown on TCM has lets say a running time of 90 minutes. And lets say we take the 388 films being shown on TCM in July and that comes to 34,920 minutes.

>

> There are 21 working days in July. That is taking into account that most corporate entities give the day after July 4th off as well.

>

> There is an average of 8 hours in a work day.

> There are 60 minutes in an hour.

> There are 480 minutes in a work day.

>

> For July's 21 work days that comes to 10,080 minutes total for the month. Now, based on the 100 minutes per film average, the TCM programming staff would need almost four employees to review all 388 films in order to cover the 38,880 minutes of film. I do not believe that any department that is so short staffed like this department's could do this in addition to performing all of their other functions, do you?

>

> They are not a large operation Infinite. They may be owned by Time Warner, but they are the only cable channel in their listing of channels that does not run commercials. And when I say commercials, I mean the ones that are hawking regular retail products and services, not the special DVD sales or cruise/festival commercials that they do run between films.

>

>

>

> > Contrary to what anyone says, there are more post 1950s films then ever added to the schedules and they are more times then not, the bottom of the barrel.It all depends on how you decide how to count films on the schedule. For instance the July schedule has according to my count 388 films. This figure does not count shorts, documentaries, or the Johnny Carson shows. Of this total, there are 276 films being shown on TCM made before 1960 and 112 films being shown on TCM made after 1960. 71% of all films being shown on TCM during the month of July were made before January 1, 1960. 29% of all fins being shown on TCM during the month of July were made after January 1, 1960. TCM on average will show anywhere between 20 to 30% post 1959 films on the schedule. That is more than a two to one ratio.

>

> July had the following decade breakdown:

>

> 1910's: 1

> 1920's: 9

> 1930's: 59

> 1940's: 97

> 1950's 110

> 1960's: 77

> 1970's: 25

> 1980's: 10

>

> > The foreign films, and there are too many of them, belong in art houses or on a spin off channel, why not TNT or TBS since those channels already cater to the lowest common denominator.There are not that many foreign films on TCM. As someone else has indicated, TNT and TBS do not show foreign films. TNT is Time Warner's commercial drama station and they sometimes will show films. TBS is Time Warner's commercial comedy station plus they also show sporting events. These two channels would NEVER show foreign films. So that leaves TCM.

>

> > The addition of documentaries and TV show interview segments are out of place on this channel. This does nothing, in my opinion to further TCM's reputation, but displays a laziness, a cheapness, and an uncaring attitude that will only serve to drive away TCM's base of classic film watchers to other channels or their home video collections.> In fact, TCM is fast becomming the greatest advertisement for not watching their channel, by their obvious lack of respect for their loyal fan base, their lack of pride in what they show, their false pride in sub par schedules that do no justice to their brand, and their over concentration on film festivals, cruises, and commercials for DVDs, books, toys, and whatever, that the majority of viewers could care less about. TCM appears to be in a race to catch up to or down to amc's level. If this is too negative, I am sorry, but I find myself, as of late, watching less and less of the channel then I have in the past, for all the above reasons. I hope this answers your question.Well maybe these decisions will drive people like you away. But for many film fans, it is a true lea sure to be able to watch these interviews between Johnny Carson and these film stars unfold. Many times they are very funny. As long as the segments just show the interactions between Johnny and his film guests, I see nothing wrong with showcasing these segments. Johnny Carson whether you liked him or not was very good at interviewing these Hollywood stars and he did it for so long as well. The Dick Cavett Shows and any other shows that feature these Hollywood legends "off" the screen so to speak is always entertaining and allows the film fan to see them away from the lights and the cameras.

>

> I do not believe the channel is straying that far away from their original focus. That focus has always been on classic films. Many believe that the definition of classic indicates any film made slightly before and slightly after the Golden Age of Hollywood. I would venture to say as others have said that the word classic is defined by something that may hold value beyond any number of years and or is something that we can cherish from today or from a few years back.

>

> Your opinion is that TCM is loosing any of it's core audience simply because they have decided to increase viewer participation by showing interviews, or other documentaries that support Hollywood and the world cinema. There is nothing wrong in my opinion in trying to bring in younger audiences. In fact according to what TCM General Manager Jeff Gregor indicated recently: TCM had done some demographic work recently and discovered some things about audience composition. I dont want to say it was a surprise, he said. But two-thirds of our audience is 18-54.

>

> So in order for TCM to attract and maintain younger audiences, sure possibly newer films need to be shown. They can't get every older classic film available. It is way too cost prohibitive. But no channel can do this on a regular basis. I think what TCM is trying to do is great. A mix of all things movies. That might include interviews, docs, and other devices. But clearly the focus is showing films.

>

> As far as selling DVDs, or making announcements about the Film Festival or Cruises, these are ways for TCM to raise much needed capital to ensure that they can continue to purchase films in the future. As far as the quality of the films are concerned, That is always going to be an ongoing issue for some, especially like yourself. But TCM has always shown some pretty horrible films on the channel going all the way back to 1994. Nothing is different now as it was then.

>

> In my belief TCM is not trying to catch up to AMC. Why would they? AMC is NOT the channel it once was. They only use the "AMC" now with no inclination to going by "American Movie Classics" anymore. Plus with the change in format to showing heavily edited films and commercials, only the less classic inclined fan will watch this channel.

>

> Here were some additional questions and answers to and from Charlie Tabesh when he appeared over at the Silver Screen Oasis website:

>

> *Question:*

>

> Besides rights issues, what are some of the other problems you encounter when trying to book older, lesser known titles?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> Other than rights the biggest issue, by far, is quality of materials. A lot of films are in very bad condition, some aren't playable at all. And even if a studio does have film elements, they still need to be transferred to video which can be very expensive (and cost-prohibitive).

>

> *Question:*

>

> I don't have to tell you that TCM has a very loyal core audience and we all have varied tastes when it comes to films and what we expect from TCM. It has to be very challenging to try and program something for everybody. Are there times when you're working on a schedule and just pounding your head on your desk trying to decide whether to add a lesser know, seldom seen, classic for all of us serious film buffs or another run of some well know film (like "Singing in the Rain") in an effort to get viewers who may tune in because they've seen it before or at least have heard of it? How do you do it?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> That is really the balance that we try to achieve. As you suggest, our hardcore fans, and I assume most people here at Silver Screen Oasis, are excited about the rare or obscure titles. But we're also a place that many people discover classic movies for the first time. In addition - because there are so few options out there for classic movie fans - some people are watching TCM almost all the time and, to them, any repeat is annoying because they might have seen that film on the channel a month or two ago. One more point: if we play a title 5 or 6 times a year, that's a whole lot for us; that might happen with less than a dozen titles each year and the average title plays between 1 to 2 times in a year. And even when we play a film 5 or 6 times, it's almost always at different times of the day. But if you've seen those films a few times you want something new and different. So we're trying to please a lot of people and different levels of classic movies fans. I'm sure we get it wrong sometimes but we do take pride in our role and try to do our best.

>

> *Question:*

>

> I hope that however the ratings are evaluated that "time shifting" viewing is somehow taken into consideration. Including Silent Sundays, many of the movies I'm interested in are on overnight, so I do tend to watch them later in the week.

>

> *Answer:*

>

> Believe it or not we don't consider ratings when making programming decisions. In fact, we don't even get ratings information from Nielsen. At one point we did some special reports from them just to see what movies had the biggest audience and who was watching, but that wasn't ever something we did to determine what to play. Having said that, we're definitely aware that a lot of people time shift, I know I do.

>

> *Question:*

>

> Are all or most of the films shown by TCM presented in digita-beta format transferred from a 35mm print ?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> Over 99% of what we play are 35mm films transferred onto digibeta. As several people know, there were a couple of times this year that 16mm transfers were the only option for us, but that's very rare.

>

> *Question:*

>

> Does Warners strike new prints or make new transfers of films for viewing on TCM or do you have to simply have to program what you are told is available?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> No studio strikes new prints for us, including WB. And if a film hasn't yet been transferred to video, they usually will only do the transfer themselves if there's a dvd market for the film, our license fee is high enough to cover that cost (plus a little more), or if we pay for it ourselves. There are some exceptions, but economics certainly drives a lot of the decision-making, as you might expect. With regard to WB specifically, many of the films were transferred years ago by Ted Turner. In the '90s WB acquired the TEC library but for a lot of films we still use transfers that were made many years ago. We're in conversations now with WB on the best way to update the library, and I should say there are some people there (one in particular) who are very passionate about that and they're taking a leading role in the process.

>

> *Question:*

>

> I'd like to know your observations of the differences in working for a non commercial station like TCM. Can you explain just how you can continue broadcasting a station not funded by commercials? Why can't/won't other stations do it?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> Almost all of our revenue comes from our cable/satellite affiliates. As you suggest, that's very rare in the television world. As most people know, what seems to happen is that a channel starts out with a niche (A&E, AMC, Bravo, etc.), then once they have a certain level of distribution, they become much broader in order to attract more ad dollars. With AMC, once they added advertising it really dictated that they change their programming in order to attract audiences that advertisers wanted. But one consequence of them doing that was that their loyal viewers were pretty upset, which led to a long period where a lot of people feared TCM would do the same thing - there were never any plans to do that on our end, but I actually think the outcry over AMC made us more committed than ever to keep it that way.

>

> The truth is there's just no way to do a lot of the programming that we do if the business model is based in any significant way on advertising (which makes it much more fun for us as programmers). I don't think I explained that very well, but the end result is that being commercial-free makes our brand stronger; it also means we can take more chances and do things that we consider interesting and important, rather than trying to attract advertiser-friendly audiences. And playing films uncut and in their original aspect ratios also helps us establish ourselves as a network that truly cares about these films and their history (which we genuinely do). Our business isn't at big as many of the ad-supported networks out there, so our budgets are smaller, but I think we do pretty well with what we have. As for the interstitial pieces, promos, introductions, website, they're all done at the network and they're consistently fantastic - they're essential to our brand and people that create them care deeply about the films and are extremely creative. And, of course, Robert Osborne is the most important of all, we're very lucky to have him.

>

> Edited by: fxreyman on Jul 13, 2013 3:07 PM

>

> Edited by: fxreyman on Jul 14, 2013 12:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=fxreyman wrote:}{quote}Infinite,

>

> > I am sorry, but I have to take a contrary opinion. I don't see TCM as the same channel it was when I started to receive it in 2001. In the early days TCM, at least to me, appeared to care more about the classic films it showed. The films were shown uninterrupted, commercial-free, and UNEDITED. Today, it seems that more and more of the classic films are being shown in whatever condition TCM can get their hands on. There is no quality control. No one, it appears, works at TCM who knows these films frame by frame enough to know that there are any cuts, nor do I believe that TCM cares one way or another.We have had these discussions before, and based on your responses to me there is no "so-called" appropriate answer for you. No one it seems can fully answer that problem you have with edited films being shown. You seem on proving to others that there is something wrong with TCM when they DO show an edited film by mistake. As I have written before as others have as well, no cable channel is perfect. They are going to make mistakes.

>

> I am going to try and do this one more time. I have posted these questions and answers before, but like I wrote in the preceding paragraph, I think you may feel that whatever reasons TCM comes up with is still not good enough for you.

>

> A while back Charlie Tabesh, the Senior Vice President for Programming at TCM appeared on the Silver Screen Oasis website to try to answer questions the members there had about TCM. He was very generous with his time and answered as many questions as he could. In one of the questions asked to him, he talks about the types of films TCM gets..

>

> *Question:*

>

> Occasionally I notice that a print shown on TCM doesn't appear to be of the same quality as a DVD I own of the same title; I've noticed this a couple times with MGM musicals. If my perception is correct, is there any particular logistical reason that TCM isn't able to show the best print available? Just curious.

>

> *Answer:*

>

> We are playing more of both Universal and Paramount, maybe not as much as a lot of people would like, but definitely a lot more than we have in the last few years. As I said in an earlier reply, we are limited in the number that we can play but at least we do have some access, more than we've ever had before.

>

> As for the quality of the films that we play compared to dvds, in almost every circumstance we should be able to get the same version that's been released on dvd. There have been times that we've made a mistake by not ordering the upgraded version. And there are very rare circumstances when one company has the television rights and another has the dvd rights and the television company can only send us the version that they have. But this is very rare because we can usually still access the version from the company that has a better version on dvd. I do remember a film recently for Underground that the rightsholder felt that what was out on dvd was illegally being distributed and so we couldn't access it. And there was the time that Paramount wouldn't supply us with the Photoplay version of "Wings" and Photoplay couldn't provide it to us without Paramount's permission. But those situations are very rare, the truth is a lot of times it's our fault that we missed the fact that something better was created - we do try and stay on top of that, though.

>

> The only caveat I have is that some films are unavailable due to materials. I'm not saying that's the situation with any of those that have been requested, but that's a possibility. But we look into the situation for each one (we do have a deal with Sony that provides us with great access to the Columbia library, but materials can be an issue).

>

> Let me ask you something Infinite:

>

> When you first started receiving TCM in 2001, did you notice then that they were showing films that were edited? And the reason I am asking is that you seem to know an awful lot about most films. Or at least the way they ARE edited and or not edited. In other words, do you know for sure that TCM was not getting films back then that at that time were not edited versions of the originals?

>

> Personally, I don't really understand how you think TCM can improve any of the so-called problems you think they are having with this issue of yours. If they request a film from a studio who has already leased a version of that film out to another channel, and the studio does have another version available, maybe a version that has been edited for network television showings and TCM gets that one by mistake, what recourse does TCM have?

>

> They have already planned to show the film months out from when they initially lease the film, unless TCM takes the film and screens it first and then possibly returns it to the studio in hopes of getting the non-edited film. That to me sounds like a lot of work for a very small staff in TCM Programming. According to Mr. Tabesh, he has a staff of five folks. So for TCM staff to screen each and every film they receive would probably be cost prohibitive. There is not enough time in every day to screen each film. Are you really that serious in suggesting that TCM devote that much time in making sure that each film is screened?

>

> *Realistically, and unfortunately, I know that would be an impossible task. I doubt there are any people on his staff who know each and every film frame by frame to catch every cut or edit. But, they do know there are some repeat offenders. Would it really take up that much time for one or two people on his staff to make a list of the repeat offenders and screen those films prior to their air date? That does not sound unreasonable to me. The only other alternative would be for TCM to add a general disclaimer before each film that states that TCM is not responsible for the condition of the following film. Then if the film does not live up to TCM's and fan's standards TCM can wash their hands of any responsibility and fans have to watch at their own risk.*

>

>

> Lets do some math, okay?

>

> An average film being shown on TCM has lets say a running time of 90 minutes. And lets say we take the 388 films being shown on TCM in July and that comes to 34,920 minutes.

>

> There are 21 working days in July. That is taking into account that most corporate entities give the day after July 4th off as well.

>

> There is an average of 8 hours in a work day.

> There are 60 minutes in an hour.

> There are 480 minutes in a work day.

>

> For July's 21 work days that comes to 10,080 minutes total for the month. Now, based on the 100 minutes per film average, the TCM programming staff would need almost four employees to review all 388 films in order to cover the 38,880 minutes of film. I do not believe that any department that is so short staffed like this department's could do this in addition to performing all of their other functions, do you?

>

> They are not a large operation Infinite. They may be owned by Time Warner, but they are the only cable channel in their listing of channels that does not run commercials. And when I say commercials, I mean the ones that are hawking regular retail products and services, not the special DVD sales or cruise/festival commercials that they do run between films.

>

>

>

> > Contrary to what anyone says, there are more post 1950s films then ever added to the schedules and they are more times then not, the bottom of the barrel.It all depends on how you decide how to count films on the schedule. For instance the July schedule has according to my count 388 films. This figure does not count shorts, documentaries, or the Johnny Carson shows. Of this total, there are 276 films being shown on TCM made before 1960 and 112 films being shown on TCM made after 1960. 71% of all films being shown on TCM during the month of July were made before January 1, 1960. 29% of all fins being shown on TCM during the month of July were made after January 1, 1960. TCM on average will show anywhere between 20 to 30% post 1959 films on the schedule. That is more than a two to one ratio.

>

> July had the following decade breakdown:

>

> 1910's: 1

> 1920's: 9

> 1930's: 59

> 1940's: 97

> 1950's 110

> 1960's: 77

> 1970's: 25

> 1980's: 10

>

> *I would have prefered if the 1930s and 1960s numbers would have been reversed. Perhaps in TCM's earlier days they were?*

>

>

> > The foreign films, and there are too many of them, belong in art houses or on a spin off channel, why not TNT or TBS since those channels already cater to the lowest common denominator.There are not that many foreign films on TCM. As someone else has indicated, TNT and TBS do not show foreign films. TNT is Time Warner's commercial drama station and they sometimes will show films. TBS is Time Warner's commercial comedy station plus they also show sporting events. These two channels would NEVER show foreign films. So that leaves TCM.

>

> *One foreign film per day is acceptable. A whole day or evening of foreign films makes for a boring schedule. So, if TNT and TBS are out, and foreign film festivals are in so much demand, I still would prefer a spin off channel. If there would be enough viewers or systems to support it. If not, why waste time with them on TCM?*

>

> > The addition of documentaries and TV show interview segments are out of place on this channel. This does nothing, in my opinion to further TCM's reputation, but displays a laziness, a cheapness, and an uncaring attitude that will only serve to drive away TCM's base of classic film watchers to other channels or their home video collections.> In fact, TCM is fast becomming the greatest advertisement for not watching their channel, by their obvious lack of respect for their loyal fan base, their lack of pride in what they show, their false pride in sub par schedules that do no justice to their brand, and their over concentration on film festivals, cruises, and commercials for DVDs, books, toys, and whatever, that the majority of viewers could care less about. TCM appears to be in a race to catch up to or down to amc's level. If this is too negative, I am sorry, but I find myself, as of late, watching less and less of the channel then I have in the past, for all the above reasons. I hope this answers your question.Well maybe these decisions will drive people like you away. But for many film fans, it is a true lea sure to be able to watch these interviews between Johnny Carson and these film stars unfold.

>

> *Perhaps it is a lea sure, if I knew what a lea sure is. I think you meant pleasure, of which it is anything but.*

>

> Many times they are very funny. As long as the segments just show the interactions between Johnny and his film guests, I see nothing wrong with showcasing these segments. Johnny Carson whether you liked him or not was very good at interviewing these Hollywood stars and he did it for so long as well. The Dick Cavett Shows and any other shows that feature these Hollywood legends "off" the screen so to speak is always entertaining and allows the film fan to see them away from the lights and the cameras.

>

> *But, really, the real reason for them is that TCM can save money on renting a few more classic films. Right?*

>

> I do not believe the channel is straying that far away from their original focus. That focus has always been on classic films. Many believe that the definition of classic indicates any film made slightly before and slightly after the Golden Age of Hollywood. I would venture to say as others have said that the word classic is defined by something that may hold value beyond any number of years and or is something that we can cherish from today or from a few years back.

>

> *It gets back to perception and how the channel wants to be perceived. Does TCM want to be veiwed as the old classic movie channel OR just another movie channel. If it's the later then anything goes, if it's the former, then they have a higher standard to uphold.*

>

> Your opinion is that TCM is loosing any of it's core audience simply because they have decided to increase viewer participation by showing interviews, or other documentaries that support Hollywood and the world cinema. There is nothing wrong in my opinion in trying to bring in younger audiences. In fact according to what TCM General Manager Jeff Gregor indicated recently: TCM had done some demographic work recently and discovered some things about audience composition. I dont want to say it was a surprise, he said. But two-thirds of our audience is 18-54.

>

> *But how much of that two-thirds are the twentysomethings that another poster claimed this new TCM is dying to attract and how many of them are just as happy watching amc?*

>

> So in order for TCM to attract and maintain younger audiences, sure possibly newer films need to be shown. They can't get every older classic film available. It is way too cost prohibitive. But no channel can do this on a regular basis. I think what TCM is trying to do is great. A mix of all things movies. That might include interviews, docs, and other devices. But clearly the focus is showing films.

>

> *What are those other devices? My/our concern is that since, as you say, no channel can show older classic films on a regular basis due to the cost, how long before the focus of the channel changes and it becomes another amc? Obviously TIME WARNER is not spending any money on the channel, as you hinted at above, so where is TCM going to get it's revenue from?*

>

> As far as selling DVDs, or making announcements about the Film Festival or Cruises, these are ways for TCM to raise much needed capital to ensure that they can continue to purchase films in the future. As far as the quality of the films are concerned, That is always going to be an ongoing issue for some, especially like yourself. But TCM has always shown some pretty horrible films on the channel going all the way back to 1994. Nothing is different now as it was then.

>

> *That's good to know????? TCM consistently has shown horrible films?????*

>

> In my belief TCM is not trying to catch up to AMC. Why would they? AMC is NOT the channel it once was. They only use the "AMC" now with no inclination to going by "American Movie Classics" anymore. Plus with the change in format to showing heavily edited films and commercials, only the less classic inclined fan will watch this channel.

>

> *YES, TWENTYSOMETHINGS. Seriously, it does seem like history is repeating itself. If you followed the downward spiral of AMC, like I did, it did not happen over night either. It took a number of years for AMC to change into amc and I see a lot of parallels with TCM. The only difference between the two channels, as you put it above is that AMC's focus changed drastically and it is now amc. TCM's focus, in my opinion, is changing, perhaps at a slower rate, but changing nonetheless. What worries me even more is that CHARLIE TABESH is either blind to it or ignores it by glossing over the concerns of long time fans. He is truly TCM'S resident politician.*

>

> Here were some additional questions and answers to and from Charlie Tabesh when he appeared over at the Silver Screen Oasis website:

>

> *Question:*

>

> Besides rights issues, what are some of the other problems you encounter when trying to book older, lesser known titles?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> Other than rights the biggest issue, by far, is quality of materials. A lot of films are in very bad condition, some aren't playable at all. And even if a studio does have film elements, they still need to be transferred to video which can be very expensive (and cost-prohibitive).

>

> *Question:*

>

> I don't have to tell you that TCM has a very loyal core audience and we all have varied tastes when it comes to films and what we expect from TCM. It has to be very challenging to try and program something for everybody. Are there times when you're working on a schedule and just pounding your head on your desk trying to decide whether to add a lesser know, seldom seen, classic for all of us serious film buffs or another run of some well know film (like "Singing in the Rain") in an effort to get viewers who may tune in because they've seen it before or at least have heard of it? How do you do it?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> That is really the balance that we try to achieve. As you suggest, our hardcore fans, and I assume most people here at Silver Screen Oasis, are excited about the rare or obscure titles. But we're also a place that many people discover classic movies for the first time. In addition - because there are so few options out there for classic movie fans - some people are watching TCM almost all the time and, to them, any repeat is annoying because they might have seen that film on the channel a month or two ago. One more point: if we play a title 5 or 6 times a year, that's a whole lot for us; that might happen with less than a dozen titles each year and the average title plays between 1 to 2 times in a year. And even when we play a film 5 or 6 times, it's almost always at different times of the day. But if you've seen those films a few times you want something new and different. So we're trying to please a lot of people and different levels of classic movies fans. I'm sure we get it wrong sometimes but we do take pride in our role and try to do our best.

>

> *Question:*

>

> I hope that however the ratings are evaluated that "time shifting" viewing is somehow taken into consideration. Including Silent Sundays, many of the movies I'm interested in are on overnight, so I do tend to watch them later in the week.

>

> *Answer:*

>

> Believe it or not we don't consider ratings when making programming decisions. In fact, we don't even get ratings information from Nielsen. At one point we did some special reports from them just to see what movies had the biggest audience and who was watching, but that wasn't ever something we did to determine what to play. Having said that, we're definitely aware that a lot of people time shift, I know I do.

>

> *Question:*

>

> Are all or most of the films shown by TCM presented in digita-beta format transferred from a 35mm print ?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> Over 99% of what we play are 35mm films transferred onto digibeta. As several people know, there were a couple of times this year that 16mm transfers were the only option for us, but that's very rare.

>

> *Question:*

>

> Does Warners strike new prints or make new transfers of films for viewing on TCM or do you have to simply have to program what you are told is available?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> No studio strikes new prints for us, including WB. And if a film hasn't yet been transferred to video, they usually will only do the transfer themselves if there's a dvd market for the film, our license fee is high enough to cover that cost (plus a little more), or if we pay for it ourselves. There are some exceptions, but economics certainly drives a lot of the decision-making, as you might expect. With regard to WB specifically, many of the films were transferred years ago by Ted Turner. In the '90s WB acquired the TEC library but for a lot of films we still use transfers that were made many years ago. We're in conversations now with WB on the best way to update the library, and I should say there are some people there (one in particular) who are very passionate about that and they're taking a leading role in the process.

>

> *Question:*

>

> I'd like to know your observations of the differences in working for a non commercial station like TCM. Can you explain just how you can continue broadcasting a station not funded by commercials? Why can't/won't other stations do it?

>

> *Answer:*

>

> Almost all of our revenue comes from our cable/satellite affiliates. As you suggest, that's very rare in the television world. As most people know, what seems to happen is that a channel starts out with a niche (A&E, AMC, Bravo, etc.), then once they have a certain level of distribution, they become much broader in order to attract more ad dollars. With AMC, once they added advertising it really dictated that they change their programming in order to attract audiences that advertisers wanted. But one consequence of them doing that was that their loyal viewers were pretty upset, which led to a long period where a lot of people feared TCM would do the same thing - there were never any plans to do that on our end, but I actually think the outcry over AMC made us more committed than ever to keep it that way.

>

> The truth is there's just no way to do a lot of the programming that we do if the business model is based in any significant way on advertising (which makes it much more fun for us as programmers). I don't think I explained that very well, but the end result is that being commercial-free makes our brand stronger; it also means we can take more chances and do things that we consider interesting and important, rather than trying to attract advertiser-friendly audiences. And playing films uncut and in their original aspect ratios also helps us establish ourselves as a network that truly cares about these films and their history (which we genuinely do). Our business isn't at big as many of the ad-supported networks out there, so our budgets are smaller, but I think we do pretty well with what we have. As for the interstitial pieces, promos, introductions, website, they're all done at the network and they're consistently fantastic - they're essential to our brand and people that create them care deeply about the films and are extremely creative. And, of course, Robert Osborne is the most important of all, we're very lucky to have him.

>

> Edited by: fxreyman on Jul 13, 2013 3:07 PM

>

> Edited by: fxreyman on Jul 14, 2013 12:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you actually have anything to say, or did you screw up the quoting so badly that whatever comments you had are trapped in a wall of text?

 

I can't speak for anybody else, but I know that when I see such a long wall of quoted text anywhere, I can't be bothered to read what the poster is actually saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I read the response to fxreyman's original post and it's basically the same complaint infinite1 has always had. That TCM is not living up to his/her impossible standards and no matter what anyone posts to counter his arguments, even though Tabesh was very thorough in his responses, it will never be good enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=Fedya wrote:}{quote}

> I can't speak for anybody else, but I know that when I see such a long wall of quoted text anywhere, I can't be bothered to read what the poster is actually saying.

 

I hope you will forgive me a moment of gloating when I say that I did not see a wall of quoted text. I have overcome my natural reluctance to such a thing and have begun to use the "Ignore Member" feature of the forum software.

 

I find it freeing in unexpected way and it eliminates minor irritations such as you encountered. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=helenbaby wrote:}{quote}Oh, I read the response to fxreyman's original post and it's basically the same complaint infinite1 has always had. That TCM is not living up to his/her impossible standards and no matter what anyone posts to counter his arguments, even though Tabesh was very thorough in his responses, it will never be good enough.

 

 

I think I made some concessions, but please bear in mind that the "impossible" standards that I ascribe to TCM are not made out of malice for the channel. They are made out of my love for the channel and the classic american films that I love and respect. Also, TCM bears some of the blame for these "imposible" standards by the tone that they themselves set. I don't think you would argue that TCM presents itself as the elite channel of classic film. Of course we all have our own definition of what that takes into account. Now, Rey has his opinions and I have mine. I am aware, through Rey and others, of Mr. Tabesh's remarks. But, you have to understand one thing. Mr. Tabesh is an employee of TCM. He is repeating the company line. If I choose to believe what he says, partially believe, or not at all, it is my choice. If I choose to agree with what he says, partially agree, or disagree, it's my choice. If I feel he has covered everything, partially covered, or skipped over some things that concern me, then it's my opinion. On the other hand, if you and Rey choose to accept 100% everything he says, we can agree to disagree. But, since Rey's original post was a direct response to my original post and was basically a rehash of his same on going defense of Mr. Tabesh's comments, I had no alternative but to counter with basically the same complaints, although I did make some concessions. I am curious Helen, since no one is 100% satisfied all of the time, did you ever have any problem with TCM that you can share, other then my posts? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us