93500 - Cultures of Television Production (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course offers an overview of the main operating mechanisms of the television industry, the production and distribution processes and the professionals involved, placing them inside the wider media scenario in the contemporary digital context and highlighting some connections with the cultural, social and political system. At the end of it the student: - will master the main logics of television; - will have an in-depth knowledge of the professions and production supply chains of the television industry; - will be able to analyze the complex relationships between production, shows, schedules and the audience; - will be able to apply the knowledge acquired to the main television genres; - will be able to understand the role of television production and distribution in the contemporary digital media environment, both nationally and on a global scale.

Course contents

The course has two parts. The introductory lessons will place television within the contemporary media system, to reconstruct its main logics, explain its processes and supply chains, follow the evolutions in the digital scenario of mainstream networks, thematic channels and on demand platforms. The perspective of media production studies will help to highlight the writing and making of the shows, the distribution and promotional choices by the networks, the constant negotiations between professionals, and the impact of such processes on the texts and on their consumption. A second group of lectures is dedicated to deepening some creative and industrial aspects of the medium: the role of formats, the languages and formulas of television news, the hybridizations of infotainment and factual.


For non-attending students, the reference texts are:
- Luca Barra, Tiziano Bonini, Sergio Splendore (a cura di), Backstage. Studi sulla produzione dei media in Italia, Unicopli, Milano 2016;
- Luca Barra, Fabio Guarnaccia (a cura di), SuperTele. Come guardare la televisione, minimum fax, Roma 2020;
- Jean K. Chalaby, L’era dei format. La svolta radicale dell’intrattenimento televisivo, minimum fax, Roma 2017.

Attending students will have to study:
- an anthology of texts that will be provided during the lessons;
- Luca Barra, Fabio Guarnaccia (a cura di), SuperTele. Come guardare la televisione, minimum fax, Roma 2020.

Teaching methods

Due to the restrictions imposed by the current health emergency, teaching will be carried out with traditional methods: the professor will always be in the designated classroom, students will alternate in attendance according to a schedule of shifts being defined (more detailed information on the shifts and how to access the face-to-face lesson will be provided later). It will always be possible to connect remotely and follow live lessons via the Teams platform.

Traditional lessons supported by slides, audiovisual and digital materials, shared with students. The course will also host seminaries with experts in the TV and media industry.

ATTENTION: Given the fluidity of the emergency situation and since this program is published in July 2021, the teaching methods may change in the coming months. In this case, timely communication will be given through an update of this program, as through appropriate notices published on the institutional channels, i.e. on the professor’s page, on the INCOM website and on the official INCOM Facebook page. All students are encouraged to consult these resources periodically.

Assessment methods

The exam is different for attending and non-attending students. Students who have attended at least 80% of the lessons (12 lessons out of 15) will be considered attending students.

Attending students will present a ppt / pdf presentation (max. 15 slides) orally, in dedicated sessions, starting from a single case study, related to the course and previously agreed with the lecturer, completing the exam with questions regarding topics addressed in class and in the readings (parts indicated in class). Non-attending students will face a written computer-based test with 6 open questions, aimed at evaluating the appropriate study of the bibliography. The result of this module’s exam will complete that of the “Cultures of Film Production” module.

The achievement of an organic vision of the themes, the use of specific language, the ability to show knowledge of contemporary television, as well as the ability to link single productions and the media, social and cultural context will be evaluated with excellent grades. Knowledge that is too much based on the readings, a non-articulated ability to synthetize or analyse, or a correct but not always appropriate language, like a school domain of the discipline, lead to average evaluations. Gaps in knowledge or inappropriate language, such as a lack of knowledge of readings and contexts, allow the student to obtain grades on the threshold of sufficiency. Knowledge gaps, inappropriate language, lack of familiarity with the bibliography and inability to analyze are evaluated negatively.

To take the exam it is necessary to register via AlmaEsami. The exam for non-attending students is held in equipped computer rooms: in order to rationalize their use, it is necessary that the students, if they decide not to show up, cancel themselves from the exam list. Please note that it is necessary to show up for the session with UniBo credentials and to have an ID on you.

Teaching tools

Presentations, audiovisual material, videos, links and online resources, meetings with television and media professionals.

Office hours

See the website of Luca Barra