“The Lightbulb Conspiracy”, wins Best Documentary Award at TV Academy ceremony

A Media 3.14 Article Z production in co-production with Arte France, Televisión Española and Televisió de Catalunya

Last Thursday saw the TV Academy of Arts and Sciences present its Best Documentary Award to “The Lightbulb Conspiracy”. The award was given to the programme’s director, Cosima Dannoritzer and producer, Joan Úbeda, as part of the ceremony held in the National Music Auditorium in Madrid. The winning speeches highlighted the impact that the documentary has had wherever it’s been broadcast and the debate that it has generated about planned obsolescence as well as underlining the importance of the support of international TV channels in making the production of “The Lightbulb Conspiracy” possible.

The documentary reveals the secret history behind planned obsolescence (the design and manufacture of products with a limited life-span to encourage consumerism). Based on detailed research for more than 3 years and using unseen archive footage, “The Lightbulb Conspiracy” tells the fascinating story of planned obsolescence from its origins in 1920 to modern-day cases of electronic products such as iPods and printers. The documentary was shot in Spain, France, Germany, the USA and Ghana, where it shows the enormous “electronic waste” dumps which have grown up around cities like Accra.

Broadcast in more than 12 countries

“The Lightbulb Conspiracy” will shortly be broadcast on TV channels in Canada, Denmark, Poland and Israel with early predictions suggesting impressive viewing figures to swell the already excellent numbers achieved across Europe.

More than 2,500,000 people have now watched the documentary on a variety of different European TV channels and to that total the amount of people who’ve watched the documentary online also has to be added. On Arte France, the screening beat the channel average with an average audience of 709,000 viewers. On Arte Germany, it was watched by 600,000 viewers doubling the channel average for the day and the time-slot.

On the Arte website, it broke all previous viewing records. With more than 121,000 views in Germany and close to 215,000 in France, it has become the most watched video since the launch of the website. With a total of 336,000 views it easily beat the previous record of 217,000.

In Belgium, its broadcast on the RTBF channel attracted an average of 104,000 viewers, for an excellent 8.6% share. On TSR in Switzerland, it was watched by 43,000 viewers. Ireland (TG4) and Norway (NRK) are two more countries where its broadcast has caused substantial debate on the phenomenon of planned obsolescence.

In Spain, it was premiered on TV3 with a share of 5.3% and 74,000 viewers. On La 2 de TVE it was the most watched documentary of the 2010/2011 season, 841,000 viewers and a 4%.

International Festivals

The recognition of the TV Academy in presenting its Best Docuemtary Award to “The Lightbulb Conspiracy” comes on the back of a string of other awards including a Special Jury Mention at the FICMA 2011 Environmental Festival, one of the most prestigious in its sector. In addition, it won the Best Science and Technology Award at the Guangzhou International Festival (China) and was nominated in the Best Social Documentary section in the Shanghai TV Festival (China).

In the coming months it will compete in two new international festivals: the Beach Festival du Documentaire (Cameroon) and the SCINEMA Festival of Science Film (Australia). Other events in which it has taken part include: Environmental Film Festival (USA), Energy Film Festival (Switzerland), Vedere la Scienza (Italy), Cineambiente Environmental Film Festival (Italy) and the Bourges International Festival (France).

“The Lightbulb Conspiracy” is a Media 3.14 Article Z (France) production in co-production with Arte France, Televisión Española and Televisió de Catalunya, in collaboration with six other international TV channels as well as receiving support from the EU’s MEDIA programme.

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