Media Franchising & TV Spin-offs

The franchise exists everywhere around us and is well within our media. Franchises can be found on screen, making the food we eat, the toys and video games we play with, or even the books we read. The franchise business model, as explained by Derek Johnson in Media Franchising – Creative license and Collaboration in the Culture Industries, can ideally “have the advantage of both the large and small business,”(35) by combining larger companies with smaller independent operators to work together as a team. By the 1950’s and 60’s, there was a franchise boom that led to the creation of the International Franchise Association, which would “ ‘promote better franchising, to protect the investor in franchised business, and, through this activity, to better guarantee the efficient marketing of goods and services to the American consumer.’ ’’(Johnson, 36)


Johnson notes on how retail franchising depends on contractual relations in order to successfully sell and distribute the product. They not only need to be mass-produced, but they need to be identical every single time. This is where retail and media franchising differ. Whereas the main focus of retail franchising is on the production and distribution of the same untouched product, such as the Coca-Cola syrup or the McDonald’s hamburger, media franchising puts a focus on how they can collaborate with producers who can generate new types and kinds of product. Most of the major media conglomerated such as Time Warner or Disney get involved in these contracts with independent subsidiaries as well, allowing them to create more products based on the franchise, such as Time Warner creating Batman video games, or Viacom’s partnership with video game publisher Activision in 1998, allowing them exclusive rights to the Star Trek Franchise.(43) Although this proved to not work out well for the two companies due to the conglomerates “mismanagement” and failure to exploit the Star Trek Franchise as they were supposed to. This points out the importance of a successful collaboration in order for a franchise to successfully grow and continue.


Breaking Bad – Walter White & Saul Goodman

Media franchises found on TV have proven to be quite popular and successful, as CSI and Law & Order were the first two crime drama’s that were able to create separate but similar shows based on the original (CSI:Miami, CSI:NY, L&O SVU), featuring a different cast and whole new deal of situations. Lately, it seems that television and cable networks have been welcoming franchises for quite some time. Johnson mentions the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off show Private Practice, and the Buffy Spin-off, Angel, both existing within the same world of the diegesis that support their own individual franchise by presenting more content to the consumers. The newest television series belonging to a franchise that we are welcoming to our weeknights is the Breaking Bad spin-off series titled, Better Call Saul. Viewers don’t have to have scene Breaking Bad in order to enjoy this new series, but for those serious fans of the franchise, it opens up a whole new chapter with familiar characters in the world of Breaking Bad, from which they once loved. That’s the great appeal of media franchises. It gives fans the opportunity to continue their interest in a specific subject by allowing them to view newer and greater content over time.

Better Call Saul TV Poster

Better Call Saul TV Poster


Johnson, Derek. Media Franchising: Creative License and Collaboration in the Culture Industries. NYU Press, 2013. Print. Postmillennial Pop.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: