Business TV shows unrealistic about enterprise

Entrepreneurial television shows such as The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den could be damaging UK enterprise because they promote ‘an unrealistic view’ of business, research finds.

Three quarters of the 200 small and medium-sized enterprise managers surveyed for the poll say they believe the shows don’t offer an accurate portrayal of the business world, the research from reveals.

More than half of the respondents (52 per cent) say rather than educating the public on how to successfully develop their own enterprise, the shows instead are designed to bolster the notoriety of the celebrity business figures that appear on the programmes.

A further 29 per cent report that the shows are becoming more about those involved than the business concepts the participants work on, with just one in five (19 per cent) stating they believe they still serve as an informative guide of how to make it in business.

One business leader comments that while the shows continue to feature moments of business brilliance, those involved have become more interested in creating a ‘media persona’.

Another says that heavy editing and unrealistic tasks are to blame for creating a warped perception of what being in business really entailed, while a third person adds that the shows encourage short-term money-making rather than long-term investment.

The survey reports one saying, ‘Contestants are put in unnatural situations which would never happen in real life and it’s often hard to see who the best performers actually are because the footage is edited so heavily.

‘The average job is not a series of challenging tasks, each judging you on different skills. Most people do pretty much the same thing every day, so programmes like The Apprentice lead young people to think work is constantly different, leaving them sadly disappointed with the truth.’

Related: Does The Apprentice do a disservice to entrepreneurs?

Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.

Related Topics

Dragons' Den
The Apprentice