It seems that lately the number of business/entrepreneurial programmes on our TV has really exploded. With all the original formats of reality TV having been exhausted (Big Brother, I’m a Celeb etc.) it was inevitable that the programme makers would look to diversify into new areas, and it’s great that they have chosen the world of business. Anything which encourages entrepreneurship is fantastic in my opinion.
I am a huge fan of Dragons Den but it is questionable whether it is a ‘business’ show or purely entertainment. Very brave entrepreneurs pitch for investment to five snarling and very rich business people. Although one or two strong pitches get included in each series for good measure (for example, Sharon Wright), I have heard of many other entrepreneurs with great products who have waited for their turn at the TV studio for days only to be cut out of the series. Even former Dragon Rachel Elnaugh admits that “the footage most likely not to end up on the cutting room floor is of the “hapless” ones. Slick, well presented business ideas don’t make nearly such good TV.”
My favourite business show has to be the Apprentice, although it is probably the least realistic of them all. It suggests that to succeed in business you have to be ruthless and out only for yourself, which I don’t believe is true. It is great entertainment although I wish they wouldn’t keep editing it to be so obvious who is going to get fired (the person who says at the beginning that they will be fantastic at the task and are going to be the next Apprentice). I wasn’t sure if Junior Apprentice was going to be as good but it is, I think its a fantastic inspiration for young people and shows that not all of them aspire to be a pop star or a WAG. Some of the contestants look so young, it does seem a little harsh.
Fantastic article on Marketing Donut: Eight things you can learn from TV business shows.
What do you think? Do you think there are any business lessons to be learned from these programmes or are they purely entertainment?