Starting a Hunting, Fishing, or Outdoor TV or Web Show | How to get your show seen
It’s hard to believe that there was a time when only a few hunting shows, like Realtree Outdoors and Buckmasters, and a few fishing shows existed. Nowadays, it seems as if nearly every hunter out there is part of some “clan” with a YouTube channel and Facebook page fixated on being the next Bone Collectors. The fact is most of these will never be anything more than just a collection of memories for friends and family, which is a great thing to have, but doesn’t pay the bills. So just how do you go about getting your show out in front of millions of other hunters and fishermen so your can earn a paycheck?
TV Isn’t Free
One of the biggest misconceptions is that getting your show on TV is only a matter of convincing the network that people will watch it. That’s definitely part of it, but there’s a little something called “air time” that for most, is not free. Worse yet, there are people walking around thinking most outdoor networks will BUY your show! Unless you are one of the perennial big dogs, this isn’t even in the realm of discussion and even then it’s rare.
Unfortunately, most TV shows are not profitable. Yes, your show is given a group of slots to sell to potential sponsors. However, after buying your air time, costs of travel, equipment, and production it is very likely that you will be seeing red…not a good thing. But really it’s all about the product, both your sponsors’ and your show’s, that will determine which side of the “break-even line” you will find yourself on.
Garbage In, No Show Out
If your show isn’t good quality, most major networks won’t even discuss it with you. There is a pretty strict set of standards that have to be followed in order for them to even look at a “pilot” of your shows concept. If you want to make it in the competitive TV world, you have to stand out.
If the footage quality is less than impressive, then you may not even be considered for a spot on the network. Sure, money is green, and they would be happy to take yours (who wouldn’t!). But a poor quality show will not help the channels ratings and viewership, which weakens their chances of expanded into more homes.
Along with that, and probably not needing mention, is anything that can be looked at as inappropriate content. This can be cussing, illegal activities, and safety issues. It should go without saying, but a game violation is a death penalty in this industry for most.
Do Your Homework
Don’t just contact the network and pitch a show. What happens when the cost for airtime during Q3 or Q4 is a complete sticker shock to you? Often you will only have one chance to impress. Know your strengths, your audience, and potentially some of the sponsors supporting your show.
If you are doing the WebTV route, things are definitely cheaper. But the success of your show and business relies on people wanting to watch it. Do they? Why do they? What are the advantages for a sponsor besides exposure? Do you have any current data on your viewership?
As crazy as it seems, people will pitch an entire show for the web which sounds promising, yet they are operating everything from a Facebook page! If you plan to approach a sponsor to contribute product or monetarily for a WebTV show, you will need more than a Facebook page. They will expect you to have a complete marketing plan in place to get eyeballs to your website and their products, if you fail to deliver, your concept fails too.
It’s one of the tougher tasks in the hunting and fishing industry any more, but having your own TV or WebTV show is easy. The hard part is making sure you don’t lose your butt on it. In order to succeed, have a solid marketing plan in place. The roadmap will mean a lot to prospective sponsors and will guide you and your show to a pay day…literally.