The term tent-pole or tentpole refers to a broadcast programming or motion picture expected to hold up (as is the function of a tent pole) and balance out the financial performance of a movie studio or television network. It also refers to movies that are expected to support the sale of ancillary tie-in merchandise.
In the movie business, tent-poles are sometimes widely released initial offerings in a string of releases and are expected by studios to turn a profit in a short period of time. Such programming is often accompanied by larger budgets and heavy promotion.
Another definition for a "Tentpole movie" is a film that is expected to support a wide range of ancillary tie-in products such as toys and games.
An example of this strategy in television is to schedule a popular television program alongside new or unknown programming, in an attempt to keep audience viewers watching after the flagship program is over; a prominent example is the long-running Star Trek franchise.
- "Rise of the Blockbuster". BBC News. 2001-11-16. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
- Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Art and Technology in 1970s U.S. Filmmaking. Julie A. Turnock ProQuest, 2008. P. 236
- Teitelbaum, Sheldon (1991-05-05). "How Gene Roddenberry and his Brain Trust Have Boldly Taken 'Star Trek' Where No TV Series Has Gone Before : Trekking to the Top". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). p. 16. Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
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- Indian Television article 'Karishma' pivot for Sahara's big league push Posted on 22 August 2003 says "Tent-pole programming -- where one or two blockbuster shows are used to hook the viewers and ensure that they stay loyal to the channel just for those one or more programmes. An oft-used term nowadays but one which certainly applies to ..."
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