This spring, Fuji Television affiliate Kantele (Kansai Telecasting Corporation) announced the establishment of a new 30-minute drama series slot “Tuesday Drama★Eleven” at 11pm on Tuesday nights.
The TV Asahi affiliate also established a new drama slot in the Sunday night 10:00 p.m. slot. Nana Seino (28) will play the lead role in the first series. The script was written by Okada Yoshikazu (64), known for his work on the morning drama “Hiyokko.
With the establishment of video streaming services, each station is focusing on drama productions that are easy to monetize. Since the start of Reiwa, the number of drama slots has continued to increase.
TV Asahi is using its Tuesday night 9:00 p.m. slot to broadcast dramas for an entire year. Normally a four-cour season, they will air five-cour seasons, pausing for special programs during the changeover period. Not only TV stations but also video distribution sites are putting their efforts into producing original dramas, so popular actors are competing for the schedule,” said a director of a production company.
This is a good trend for the entertainment agencies to which many actors belong.
In the past, the main cast of a drama had to be a veteran actor with a proven track record. Now that core ratings (ratings among men and women aged 13-49) have become the benchmark for hits, drama casts have been rejuvenated considerably. With late-night and distributed productions, newcomers have more opportunities. In the past, newcomers and young talent had to be put on variety shows and information programs to promote themselves. However, this would also require them to talk about their own personal life, which, to be honest, has its disadvantages. Nowadays, if he is genuinely talented as an actor, he will be approached. It’s healthy.
The increase in the number of experimental and high-quality productions is another benefit of the increased number of drama slots.
Last year’s blockbuster hit “silent” (Fuji TV) employed staff who normally work in film production. The number of carefully crafted productions is increasing,” said a producer from a key station.
Of course, it is not all good things.
There is a polarization between productions that are expensive and those that are aimed at idols and other fans. For example, the fees for late-night dramas starring idols are low, even for the leading roles. They are mainly shot on location without the use of luxurious sets, and staff are recruited from departments other than drama productions, making for a sloppy production. Everyone is exhausted.
Another drawback is that the number of drama productions has increased to such an extent that some dramas have become buried in the background.
If the productions themselves are interesting, they can be talked about on distribution sites even after they have finished airing, but if there are too many of them, promotion is also difficult. But if there are too many of them, it is difficult to promote them. The number of specialty magazines that are willing to pick up the drama is decreasing, such as Weekly Zahevision, which has ceased publication,” said a key station advertising representative.
A senior executive at an entertainment company laments, “Even if you get a lot of views through distribution, you don’t get much back,” he says.
The incentive based on the number of views is basically not reflected to actors and staff such as on-site managers, except in cases where the entertainment agency is also involved in production. However, the profit from distribution is not so much about the current TV market as it is about the number of times a film is distributed. Currently, only TV stations can make money from distribution.
This is why they are so eager to increase the number of slots.
From the April 21-28, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： SAKAMOTO, Shinji