I have this little problem. I dream too big. See, we’ve all got these goals that we want to accomplish in our lives, but I have this nasty tendency to set the bar a little too high. It especially hurts right now, when people are pressuring me to do something with my life. So then, I’ve decided to take some of my big dreams, and put them down on paper for your enjoyment. Here is the first in what will probably be a series.
In the ever-expanding multi-channel universe, there seems to be a channel for everything. We have the Golf Channel, the Outdoor Channel, the Learning Channel, the Cooking Channel, the Home and Garden Channel. We’ve got channels for everything. But there is one niche market that has yet to be filled. I think that the time is right to start up the Anime Channel.
Is the time really right?
I believe that it is. Anime has been growing to prominence all throughout the last decade. When Sailor Moon debuted on North American shores in 1995, it seemed to fill a void that had been created; quality cartoon programing for young girls. Currently, every child is wrapped up in the Pokémon craze, with its companion feature films proving to be blockbusters. And thanks to Pokémon, a slew of anime copycats are coming to North America: Digimon, Monster Rancher, and a few others. The U.S.’s Cartoon Network is already recognizing this, and has begun showing such well-known animes as Tenchi Muyo, Gundam, and even a comeback of Sailor Moon. Disney has recognized this, and has begun importing the works of Hayo Miyazaki (apologies if that’s spelled wrong). With the ever growing presence of anime in the North American culture, an Anime Channel is only a matter of time.
Explain the programming a little more
I’m sure you want more specifics than just “all anime, all the time.” In the beginning, to establish ourselves, we would probably have to lean on some of the established favorites to bolster our line-up. Expect to see quite a few reruns of Pokémon, Sailor Moon, and classics like Astro Boy, Speed Racer, and Kimba the White Lion. Hell, a lot of cable channels tend to show some of there more popular programs at least twice a day, so expect us to do that. Besides the mainstream hits, we’d also venture into the anime community, and kick off with some of the more popular programs that have yet to hit the mainstream: Ranma 1/2, Tenchi, Record of Loddos Wars, and the like.
For weekend programming, we could follow the model established by City TV. For our prime-time line-up, we could start off at seven with reruns of some of the most popular programs out there. Then, at 8, we would gear up for our movie of the night. At movie’s end, we could conclude with more programs (something a little racier, since we’re after 10), and then conclude our broadcast day.
Daytime programming would be tricky. Since, in the beginning, a lot of people will be treating this as just another cartoon channel, it would be wise to show kid-friendly programs during the day. That way, if some parent just plops their child down on this “new cartoon channel,” the 4-year old won’t be subject to tentacle porn or anything like that. Then, as time went on, we could start showing programs that are a little more for the older audience.
Weekday programming would be relatively simple: just do what the regular networks do. Take some well known, established shows (like Ranma or Macross Plus), and squeeze some newer, unknown shows in between. Well, that’s a bit of an oxymoron. For the average viewer, this will mostly be new, unknown shows. That’s why we’ve got the established classics of Astro Boy and Speed Racer on our side.
How about event programming?
Every network does something splashy for sweeps, and we’d be no different. We could take some of the established classics, and put new twists on them. We could set aside a night called Pokémon: The Banned Episodes, in which we show all the episodes of Pokémon that have been deemed unsuitable for North American broadcast. There could be Sailor Moon Uncut, in which we show Sailor Moon in it’s original, unedited-for-North-America, subtitled glory. And don’t forget movies. The Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S. has had great success with nights where they show a classic sci-fi film from the 1950’s, and then show its 1980’s remake, allowing you to do a side-by-side comparison. We could do the same involving dubbing and subtitles, to add fuel to that debate.
How would you get your programming?
Of course, it would be vital to get the North American distributors on our side. They are already doing all the work: bringing it over, dubbing or subbing the product, and then shipping it off to stores. What we would have to do is convince them that it would be in all our best interests to give us the broadcast rights for a song. Naturally, this would be a business boost for the distributors: if a customer sees it on TV and likes it, they will probably run out and buy the videos.
In the long run, a natural spin-off would be forming our own distributor, as a subsidiary. That way, we would be able to bring over more current programming, and thus we could be more self-sufficient by having our own video label.
Bottom line: how much money are we looking at?
And there in is where I dream too big. It takes a lot of money to start up a TV network, even something as small as a cable channel. If I were to venture a guess, I would say at least $75 Million. We would have to buy the equipment, hire a knowledgeable staff, buy a building to house it all, and of course, apply for our broadcast license. Then, we’d have to run around to all the distributors purchasing our programming. Hopefully, we can get some of the older classics for cheap, but some of the stuff that’s only been on video in North America will probably be a little more costly. And then, we still have to sell this to the cable companies as something worth carrying. MuchMoreMusic was stuck in development for three years because cable companies couldn’t carry it. (Not enough room for an analog signal, or so they were told.) It would take a lot of work, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but I think it would work.