If you didn’t know, the BBC has axed Robot Wars, click here to find out more. So, what is the future of the show without the BBC and what options do Mentorn have for the brand they own.
One aspect of UK robotic combat that remains the same from this past week is the fact that live robotic combat shows will be happening up and down the country as they are well attended. Whether or not attendance will rise or fall isn’t certain but, I think more fans of the show will need to get there Robot Wars from somewhere and live events aren’t a bad place to do it.
The future of the show on television is far less certain. The costs associated with the modern show lead to TV networks that don’t have the largest bank balance as ruled out from presenting the show (e.g. Challenge, Dave, Watch, etc.). Channel 5 is unlikely to want the show on their network either after they cancelled the show 14 years ago and aren’t trusted by the fanbase. They also have the rights to Battlebots so, they are a very unlikely new home for Robot Wars.
ITV have been moving away from niche shows and have moved away from high budget TV shows to shows starring celebrities, or Reality TV shows. They are also, less likely to take a show the BBC has only just axed.
This leaves two more likely networks for a future home of Robot Wars, Channel 4 and Sky. Channel 4 is seen as a more youthful network than ITV and BBC and also do have an existing relationship with Mentorn. They also have revived 1990s shows like The Crystal Maze & The Price is Right. They also showed Robotica in the UK back at the start of the century. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens and expect the show to be treated as a big deal if it did.
Sky TV is the other network that could be looking at bringing the series back. Sky have had a lot of bad publicity in recent history and such an announcement could be seen as a way to get people talking more positive about the network. They currently host the Drone Racing League and have a good ability to sell and buy shows abroad. This is an option that not many have looked at but, could definitely be a good option for the show to have a higher budget.
I think the show could go to either Sky or Channel 4 but, on technicalities, I think Sky would create their own new brand of robotic combat rather than continue with a brand they might have to buy from Mentorn and a brand the BBC has ditched.
Video on Demand
A lot of fans have been calling out for the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or YouTube Red to come and bring the show back to life. However, with all of these brands being of a USA origin, they are unlikely to take a brand that the BBC has ditched. They also lack UK programming of a premiering nature and it is unlikely to gain them the audience they want on a global platform. Especially when they can create their own American brand or buy the USA origin brand of Battlebots. I doubt Robot Wars will be funded beyond reruns by any of the networks above.
A while ago, we spoke about Robot Wars being like WWE and managed like that entertainment brand (click here to find out more). One aspect that wasn’t addressed was the idea of the show having its own Network (very similar to the WWE Network) so that it could be a subscription service that can be a global product. To those fearing the payment for a product they like, the BBC gets over £150 a year from most UK households. This may be the most profitable and potentially successful path forward but, is a very unlikely one for Robot Wars in 2018.
I think there may be a future for robotic combat in the UK on screen but, it may be without the branding of Robot Wars unless Mentorn sells the rights to Robot Wars cheap (why would they) or the brand is valued a lot higher than the BBC valued it. Hopefully, Robot Wars will be back on the small screen sooner rather than later.
If you want to know more about Robot Wars being axed by the BBC, click here.