The root cause of the “disappointing content and results” of year-end and New Year’s programs | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The root cause of the “disappointing content and results” of year-end and New Year’s programs

Commercial broadcasters unable to surpass "M-1" in the end, NHK's "Kohaku Uta Gassen" denies all meaning of "what to watch

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In 2021, the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen was held at the Tokyo International Forum as the main venue because NHK Hall could not be used due to construction… (photo: Kyodo)

Let me start with a conclusion. The end of the year and the beginning of the new year has been a disappointment for the TV industry. This year’s New Year’s holidays ended in disappointment for the TV industry, as I feel that it made many people feel that they don’t need to watch terrestrial TV specials anymore.

To summarize, the commercial broadcasters had neither the motivation nor the money, while NHK had the motivation and the money, but they spent it in the wrong direction.

Although the direction they were going in was 180 degrees different from each other, both private broadcasters and NHK were exactly the same in the sense that they made viewers conclude that there was nothing more to watch in the year-end and New Year’s specials, which further accelerated the trend away from television. It was a very sad year end and New Year.

As for the commercial broadcasters, NTV’s “Laugh Shouldn’t Die” series and other “familiar year-end and New Year’s specials” were probably eliminated due to money problems, and the programs that were aired in their place were almost all “without motivation or money,” which was even worse than I had imagined.

Almost no large-scale special programs that require a lot of effort and money were produced, and only programs that piggybacked on comedians were aired. The reason for this is easy to guess. The reason is easy to guess: if you invite comedians and have them perform comedy or comedy skits, you can make a “somewhat interesting” program without much money or effort.

In past years, it was not until the New Year that entertainment programs started in a big way. This is because it is customary to watch entertainment at the beginning of a happy new year. This time, however, perhaps because of the “saving mode,” the television has already become a parade of “entertainment programs” since the end of the year. And no matter which station you look at, all you see are shows that feature the winner of the competition, such as “M-1 champion is participating,” and the same people come out and perform the same material.

It’s no wonder that viewers get bored with these shows, and there’s no way they can make a show more exciting than M-1 with the M-1 champion. I think the summary of the commercial broadcasters is that they brought this on themselves.

The rest of the programs were just specials of regular programs at best. It would not be an exaggeration to say that even those were not interesting enough to be worth mentioning, and the most interesting was the “Hakone Ekiden”, which was …… cold.

Next is NHK. This year’s Kouhaku Uta Gassen was a complete disaster. It was clear that a lot of money had been spent on the production, especially on the technology, and I could feel the motivation to change the old style of Kohaku. However, in conclusion, it was not a good performance at all. In my opinion, it ended up as a result of “plenty of motivation and money, but completely misused.

Here is my analysis of the reasons why the Kohaku Uta Gassen has been such a “nationally popular” program in the first place.

(1) It is a “big festival program” broadcast live for a long time at the end of the year on New Year’s Eve.
(2) Families can look back on the year and say, “What songs were popular this year?
(3) You can just sit back and watch the farce of who will win, the red team or the white team, with no gain or loss for anyone.

It may have been natural to reform Kohaku, but honestly speaking, after pouring a lot of money and burning passion for reform, Kohaku ended up denying all these reasons why we should watch it.

First of all, let’s talk about the “big festival program”. This time, the main venue was the Tokyo International Forum, instead of the usual NHK Hall. The main venue was the Tokyo International Forum, which was connected to NHK’s studios in Shibuya, where a huge amount of money was spent to bring in the latest filming and lighting equipment, as well as the use of virtual production and other gorgeous state-of-the-art technology. The silent pressure of the message, “We will show you the results of our efforts,” was tremendous. ……).

As a result, the camerawork and screen direction became too elaborate and complicated, and the result was something that did not look like it was shot normally in a live studio.

Ironically, this completely overshadowed the “excitement and festivity of the live broadcast. It was as if they were playing a series of “well-made music videos.

The Kohaku Uta Gassen is a “festival” in a sense, and it is good to have the feeling of “the excitement is going on live at NHK Hall in Shibuya right now” even if there are a few mistakes, and that is what makes the New Year’s Eve special. –In addition, some of the artists were actually “pre-recorded”, which made it very difficult to get excited.

In addition, the video was too beautifully produced, and the sound from the audience was almost completely cut out, or there was no audience in the studio, which made me think that 80% of the artists were “lip-synching,” although I don’t know how it actually happened. I felt that this was the first time I had seen such an event.

Next, I would like to talk about (2), “What songs were popular this year? In my opinion, the songs that were popular this year were probably only a few, such as “Noso”, and the rest were by artists who were popular this year, but I wondered why their songs were popular. There were only a few songs that were popular this year, such as “Noso”.

I thought the show consisted of three main categories: “NHK-related songs, old songs, and unfamiliar songs. I think there were many songs that were unfamiliar to everyone from the elderly to the young. There were many songs that I thought, “What is this song? And since the MCs and the audience were very short in their talks this time, I felt as if I was being told, “You are not the audience of this program, so you don’t need to watch it.

Another problem was the content of the “old songs. Some of the songs were more than 60 years old, such as “Yurakucho de aiishimasu,” but most of them were about 20 years old. In other words, the songs were mostly from the past, but not so nostalgic for the elderly, and not so nostalgic for the young generation Z. In the end, it was the viewers in their 30s and 40s who felt the most nostalgic. After all, isn’t this the age of the program production staff? In the end, it was the age of the program production staff.

When I think about it together with the earlier point that “we spent a lot of money on filming equipment and tried to make it look cool,” I have a strong suspicion that it was a Kohaku Uta Gassen made more for self-satisfaction than for the audience, but I would like to think that I am overthinking this. But I’d like to think that I’m overthinking this. No, I’m sure I’m overthinking it. Isn’t that right, NHK?

3) The battle between the Red and White groups. This is something that is being discussed here and there right now, so I’ll try to keep it simple. What I’m trying to say is that there is nothing wrong with the division into red and white groups, since red and white are celebratory colors.

I completely agree with the point of view that it is no longer appropriate to separate men and women to fight for gender. However, I think it would be better to simply divide the artists into red and white groups by drawing lots or something. I wonder what NHK is thinking about in such a complicated way. I don’t know what it is, but it’s “colorful.

I don’t know what it is, but I wonder if the viewers want to see “colorful” as a theme, “diversity” as a preachy word, and “SDGs” or “Paralympics” as just a few elements.

The main venue was filled with colorful fresh flowers, Yuzu was decorated with flowers on his shoulders, and even the announcers were dressed in strange and flashy outfits, which made me feel that their efforts to “somehow make the Red Team and White Team as inconspicuous as possible” were ridiculous. To whom is this effort directed? Isn’t it really an appeal not to the viewers, but to the big people at NHK who are saying “let’s get rid of the Kohaku Uta Gassen”? I can’t help but wonder if this is an appeal to the big people at NHK who want to eliminate the Kohaku Uta Gassen.

The fact that they still maintained the gender-biased framework of “red for women and white for men” left me with some doubts. That’s why I personally couldn’t accept the theme of “colorful” honestly.

I think it’s time to think again about the fact that no one is looking for a preachy theme in Kohaku, and that it’s good to try your best to be seen by the younger generation, but don’t cut off the elderly, and whether your efforts are really going in the right direction. That’s my conclusion after watching the Kohaku Uta Gassen.

I think it is time for both commercial broadcasters and NHK to rethink the idea of creating programs based on the idea of “showing the audience they want to show”. The idea is “from the top” and arrogant and irreverent, as if it is the way of thinking of advertising companies and they only think of viewers as money.

I would like to see a change in mindset from “showing what we want to show to the viewers we want to show it to” to “having the viewers who want to see it watch it willingly. Otherwise, not only the young but also the elderly will rapidly leave terrestrial TV. If we don’t change our mindset, not only the young but also the elderly will rapidly leave terrestrial TV. As a member of the TV industry, this year-end and New Year holidays made me more aware of this crisis.

I would love to see an interesting year-end and New Year’s special next year. I want to see everyone from the elderly to the young laughing and enjoying themselves in a happy mood.

  • Text Hiromichi Chinmoku / TV producer and writer

    Joined TV Asahi in 1992. After covering the Great Hanshin Earthquake and Aum Shinrikyo as a reporter in the Social Affairs Department, he worked as a director for Super J Channel, Super Morning, and News Station before becoming a producer. After working as a director of Super J Channel, Super Morning, and News Station, he became a producer. He has been involved in many overseas projects, including coverage of China, the Korean Peninsula, and the terrorist attacks in the United States. In August 2019, he became an independent producer and has been active not only in broadcasting but also in various media. He is also a part-time lecturer at the Department of Newspapers, Faculty of Letters, Sophia University. As a member of the Society for Public Communication, she has studied regional media, and has researched and written articles on face-hame-panels as her life's work. His recent publications include "Dramatically Increase Access and Registration! Video Production" (Nihon Jitsugyo Shuppansha).

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