Syndication in television work is the basic selling structure used in the TV industry. This is a fundamental component of the financing structure of the entertainment industry. Syndication in television work is selling the airing rights of a single show or series of programs to multiple broadcasters such as television networks, cable networks and independent stations across the country or around the world.
Syndication in television work is what makes it possible for many shows to be aired at all. Without it, productions costs would be prohibitive and only the largest studio could afford to invest in any new programming.
Syndication in television work is what makes all of the existing American TV programs available to broadcasters throughout the world. It is the source of �Reruns�. Most TV programming produced by independent small production studios is produced strictly for syndication to anyone who will buy the program. Almost everything that is seen on TV is a syndicated program except for the individual network�s prime time programs. Even the prime time programs may be available in non-US markets as first-run syndications. American viewers frequently get to watch syndicated versions of British, Canadian and Australian and Spanish speaking networks programs.
Syndication in television work has historically served to underwrite the cost of taking the enormous risks associated with creating new TV programming. In the 1960s the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules were established that govern the copyright ownership of independently produced TV programs. Basically, the rules allow the copyright to revert back to the production company after the contractually agreed to number of runs on the purchasing network. After that, the producers are free to sell the shows to anyone. The idea is to make it possible for a production company to finance many �failures� with one or two highly successful programs. Production is an extremely risky business because the TV viewing public is a finicky group to please. Syndication allows the producers to produce the show at a loss without going bankrupt.
Syndication in television work programs are classified by terms such as first-run, second-run, off-network or barter syndication. First-run is self explanatory. It is exclusive right to air a new program. Second-run refers to running on another network. If run during the same season, the show must be run at a later date than the first-run version. An example would be TNT running WB�s Sunday night episode of Charmed on the following Tuesday night. Off-network refers to any national network program being run on another network. The majority of reruns fit in this category. Barter syndication is where advertisers purchase the time slots associated with the program no matter where it is run. Syndication in television work is the system that makes new TV programs possible.