Talent for television 

1 September 2001 tbs.pm/1713

The thing about good presentation is that it is insidious. The more ill-informed may believe that ‘the majority’ failing to notice presentation is an example of how unimportant it is.

The reverse is true. Good presentation is that which goes unnoticed by the majority. It guides them from programme to programme, it encourages them to not only identify the channel they are watching but also to identify with the channel they are watching.

Truly great presentation bring people back time and time again for reasons transparent to the viewers thus trapped, but perhaps more obvious to us. Faced with the non-choice between crowd-pleasing, mediocre, lowest-common-denominator programmes on all sides with nothing to commend them to anyone, what reason does the viewer have to choose one channel or one programme over another?

The brand. This is the modern term for what will draw people back. Like choosing between supermarket own-brand and Heinz for beans, the majority chooses Heinz because of the implicit value of the brand and the trust they place in it.

But on television and radio, how do you build this brand? Experience is never valued in the media – indeed, the less you have the better seems to be the rule – but it shows us that, beyond the ‘change everything’, brand and re-brand modus operandi of modern ‘image makers’ lies a hidden truth evident to those with a true experience of the industry.

That truth is simple. You can throw money and time at a brand and still fail. But if you throw talent at presentation you lose nothing and can only gain from the audience loyalty this provokes.

A slogan saying you have a talent for broadcasting is one thing; actually having the talent is another. When the final reckoning is made, quality tells. And although quality cannot be measured and remains an intangible commodity to the majority, everybody knows whether it is there or not.

Those that say otherwise say it for one reason: they see the writing on the wall and it reads “No talent means no future”.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Liverpool, Wednesday 22 May 2024