Friday, 22 February 2013

The Henry Rollins Show - Case Study

The Henry Rollins Show was essentially a televised forum for music, movies, art and independent thinking. The show was on the American television network IFC (Independent Film Channel). Anomalous in it's premise, The Henry Rollins Show featured live musical performances, interviews with actors, directors and musicians and skits such as the 'Teeing Off' segment of the show where host Henry Rollins would give his opinion on a certain topic. Henry Rollins is an intimidating presence, tall, muscle bound, covered in tattoo's and sporting a grey crew cut, Rollins speaks clearly and in a 'matter-of-fact' voice that clearly outlines the point of the show; to deliver culture and intellectual nourishment in a sensible and progressively minded environment.

Channel And Brand Identity

The Henry Rollins Show was somewhat of an anomaly for IFC. In recent years IFC has been known for showing re-runs of modern American sitcoms such as Arrested Development and Malcolm In The Middle and certain British exports such as The IT Crowd. The Henry Rollins Show almost seems to have been a purposeful break in the IFC routine to cease re-runs and create their own recognisable original programming. The show is certainly not a simple minded 'entertainment' show whose purpose is necessarily to make the audience laugh, the show is more focused on bringing culture to the masses and in that case it was very successful in breaking IFC out of it's rut of airing other television network's shows.

Target Audience And Scheduling

The target audience for The Henry Rollins Show seems to be anybody with an interest in culture or independent thinking. There is very little that indicates that the show is geared towards any particular age group, there is very little slang in Rollins' speech, modern topics for discussion such as the internet are typically passed up for more widely recognised topics that focus on improving one's own outlook on life. There is occasional swearing from Rollins himself meaning that children are obviously exempt from the ideal audience but all other age groups seem to be well catered for. Perhaps the only aspect of the show that seems geared towards particular groups of people are the live music performances. Most bands featured on the show are underground acts such as Dinosaur Jr, Jurassic 5, and Bob Mould, artists that are only largely recognised in their own sub-genres and therefore may be alien to the average music listener who is not well informed on underground music.

Audience Appeals And Responses

The main appeal of the show is Henry Rollins himself. Rollins past in the underground American music scene is legendary. Rollins was the lead singer of the Hardcore Punk band Black Flag, it was here during the 1980's that Rollins (perhaps deliberately) built his image as a gentle giant, his square jaw, aggressive stage presence and toned body being misnomers to the well spoken and disciplined man that he truly is. Making Rollins the host of the show was a smart move by IFC as Rollins has a lot of respect from music fans and has achieved status in the alternative music world as an arbiter of truth and decency. Segments of the show such as 'Teeing Off' and 'Rollins Reconsider's are a joy to watch as the audience gets to see Rollins in his element, viciously dismantling aspects of society that he has qualms with. These segments are also very easy to relate for a wide audience as often Rollins doesn't discuss topics such as the economy or politicians but rather concepts such as truth and free speech, Rollins deals more in "personal politics", asking the audience to figure themselves out before they concern themselves with larger problems that relate to the whole world. These concepts are encountered by everyone on an almost daily basis and therefore can actually be more widely and democratically discussed than any political issue.

The second function of the show is as a platform for the arts. Each episode of the show feature an interview with one subject and a performance from a band. Despite it's small budget The Henry Rollins Show certainly didn't skimp on the star appeal of their guests as interview subjects have included Ozzy Osbourne, Eddie Izzard, Steve Buscemi, Marilyn Manson and Christopher Walken. The show's roster of interview subjects is very impressive with some of the music and film worlds most recognisable personalities who are there to give insight on their projects and personal lives. In this way The Henry Rollins Show is appealing in the same way as shows such as The Graham Norton Show or Late Night With David Letterman, the show is a laid back conversation between people who want to discuss the arts and is informative for the audience, the audience uses the show to hear from their idols.

Format And Technology

All episodes of The Henry Rollins Show are available on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video, perhaps to engage a younger audience who are often better aquainted with services such as Netflix. These streaming video services have become incredibly popular in recent years with more and more people relying on their computers for entertainment rather than their TV's and a show like The Henry Rollins Show that is focused on culture and the arts benifits from being available on the internet where it can reach a larger audience. People usually watch TV to be entertained but people will often go on the intenet to be informed so it makes sense to have a cerebral and intellectual show such as The Henry Rollins Show available on the internet where it is in peoples better interests.

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