Since the announcement last weekend, I’ve been in formation along with the rest of the BeyHive in preparation for the Lemonade World Premiere on HBO. I wore my Ivy Park all day and got my soul ready to have my edges peeled clean off by the only Queen I acknowledge. Alas this was never meant to be because when HBO announces a "World" Premiere Event, what they really mean is an American Premiere. You know, cos the whole world lives in America. Instead of getting my life, I spent half an hour crying hysterically while trying and failing to find a link that worked then settled on watching Beyonce’s art on Periscope. Watching Lemonade on Periscope was akin to watching it on a Nokia 5110. It was the most unpleasant Beyonce experience I’ve ever had and it’s not Beyonce’s fault (could it ever be?) I rest sole responsibility at the feet of HBO and International Broadcasting in general.
Back in March, The Hollywood Reporter asked if "America’s TV Exports were too diverse for oversees?" In the article they suggested that “international audiences have yet to truly embrace diversity on the small screen” Nah, trick, get it right. We've been embracing diversity on the small screen, we’re just not waiting for your antiquated asses to get with the program. I’ve had this argument at my job so many times. “Minorities” who live both simultaneously outside of the United States and away from their countries of origin see themselves represented in American TV shows, therefore want to watch those shows. The problem is people of colour, and white people who enjoy other races represented on their screens, are unwilling to wait the three months it takes broadcasters to get the programs to their screens. So guess what they do? Pirate them.
"The revolution will not be televised because it’s being pirated."
This article explains the contractual complexities of having TV shows and films premiere around the world simultaneously. But I don’t care about the minutiae because these restrictions only seem to apply to content where the is seen as "niche" or the leads are people of colour. I know HBO screens Game of Thrones in the US on Sunday and Sky Atlantic here in Britain has it on Monday, similarly The Walking Dead shows on Sunday and on Monday night we have it here in Britain but when it comes to shows like Empire, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Blackish, Being Mary Jane (this list is extensive) they are screened in September and expect us to wait until January for you to get your contracts in order? This is the digital age. The revolution will not be televised because it’s being pirated. And the worst thing about it all is TV bosses will look at the paltry viewing figures for TV shows they’ve exported and say “Look, we tried this diversity thing, foreign markets just aren’t interested.” No, seriously it’s actually what they’re saying. Rudiger Boss, head of acquisitions at ProSiebenSat.1, which bought Empire for German TV said "I love the show, and we took a big risk on it. But our courage was not rewarded," It’s like they’re wearing blinders and refusing to acknowledge that social media had so much to do with the success of Empire and unlike TV, Twitter doesn’t have international holds on when information can be shared. If American Twitter says Empire is popping, those of us in the UK, Germany, Australia, Africa, we want to enjoy along with them! By the time E4 or ProSiebenSat.1 have finally acquiried the show the tea with Cookie and Lucious is no longer piping hot and no one likes lukewarm tea! We want to share in these experiences together as a whole.
But you see, in this 2016 the year of my Lord Jesus Christ, Her Royal Highness Beyonce is not beholden to archaic international contracts that would see her subjects outside the US disenfranchised. I’m going to watch Lemonade with my Tidal subscription, on my big screen, listening through my surround sound speakers. Unlike TV bosses since the release of her self titled album in 2013 and against the advice of executives who “feared that an exclusive release of this type would anger powerful distributors” Beyonce and her team have understood their consumers and this new media landscape we operate in.
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