Archive for the OpEd Category

TV pirates cost networks $200 million [news]

Posted in Australiana, news, OpEd on October 19, 2008 by jetsamjr

Per capita, Australia is the second-most download-friendly country in the world after Britain, and our lust for TV piracy costs the entertainment industry an estimated $200 million per year.

All I have to say to that is: sucked in, networks. If people want to watch something you’re withholding, of course they’re going to find alternative ways to get it – ways that let viewers decide when and where they want to watch it, without being beholden to erratic schedules.

Pretty much every Australian broadcaster makes a big deal about fast-tracking, but off the top of my head I can only think of two that get it right: Ten, which airs House the day it airs in the States; and the Comedy Channel, ditto with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. (Nine was doing top work with Fringe up till this week.) Plenty of other shows air in Australia three, seven or 10 days after premiering overseas, but… that’s really not good enough. The internet is instantaneous. Keep up.

I realise that in the real world it’s probably not as simple as that… but when an Emmy Award-winning comedy like 30 Rock (or a cult drama like Gossip Girl, or an easily-spoiled reality show like Project Runway) airs in Australia months after the US, in an unpredictable, late-night timeslot to boot, folks are plenty justified downloading it.

FOX8? They should call it FOXGR8! [OpEd]

Posted in OpEd, pay TV on April 5, 2008 by jetsamjr

I take my hat off to FOX8 for fast-tracking American Idol. Episodes that air in the US on Tuesday nights air in Australia on Wednesday night – in real time, this means that when a singer botches a note live on American TV, we hear said botched note in Australia about seven hours later. Which rules. I love fast-tracking when it’s done right.

Too bad the other networks generally seem more reluctant to fast-track stuff from the US. Ten has probably fast-tracked the most shows – at one point late last year they were broadcasting House a day after it aired in the US. Seven tries to make it look like they’re working the fast-track, either not realising or not caring that airing stuff (like Lost) in Australia a whole week after the States is too long for impatient geeks like me. And Nine… er, have they ever fast-tracked anything that anyone cared about?

As more and more of us get ridiculously speedy internet connections, less and less of us are going to wait months to see brilliant US shows sandwiched into shitty timeslots. (Case in point: 30 Rock, aka the best show ever, which Seven screened at about 3.30am.) Unfortunately, this is Australia, so I doubt the powers that be are going to come up with a creative or daring solution any time soon.