Dan Barrett

Dan Barrett is the Content Director of Televised Revolution. His musings on television have been heard across ABC Radio, on websites like The Guardian and Crikey, and drunkenly in pubs across the country. At night he spends too many hours watching repeats of Cheers.

SBS Deliver On Proper Naked Dating

Reality shows based around nudity were all the rage in the US in 2014. Americans were disrobing and dating naked, becoming survivalists while naked, and selling houses naked. Taking ones pants off in 2014 was the nude du jour. These shows, however, were a flaccid affair with the networks stripping away the one redeeming value the shows had: the perve factor. To meet network classification requirements, all of the nudity was blurred, thereby giving the audience little reason to even watch the shows. Where these shows should be a wondrous mix of pervy, awkward, and funny, the shows instead were just a little boring.

SBS2, thankfully, have found a gem that actually delivers on its promises. Starting Friday 13 March at 8:30pm is the imported show from the Netherlands ‘Adam Looking For Eve’. Every week a couple are sent out into the wild to get to know one another. Each week, however, a spanner is thrown into the mix with a second nude suitor revealed on the island to vie for affection.

The show is a constructed reality show that really is very much like the US show Dating Naked, but without the pixelation. The shows format was licensed for a show that has lasted two seasons in Spain. Unsurprisingly, German producers have also licensed the format.

The concept of a naked dating show actually has some merit beyond being able to watch contestants get about as nature intended. By stripping down, it removes all pre-conceived notions of a person with the identity one constructs around themselves with clothing. Furthermore, it can offer an exploration of the comfort that one has with their own body when confronted with a relative stranger while so physically exposed. It’s an interesting conceit which is largely unexplored by these sorts of shows.

SBS promise that the fig leaves shown in their trailer will not be present on the show that goes to air. Instead it will be presented in all of its ridiculous titillating glory.

Nine Would Be Better Off Without Sky News And Going It Alone

News broke this morning that Foxtel have made a bid to buy the remaining share of pay television news service Sky News with an opening bid of $25m. Currently the service is jointly owned between Nine, Seven, and Foxtel. For Foxtel, who have been seeking to take ownership of channels on their service over the past 24 months, this is in line with their current strategy. Whether a fully-owned Sky News would be rebranded as a local Fox News or not remains to be seen. A true beneficiary from the sale of Sky News would be Channel Nine.

Why do Channel Nine want to own a third of a pay TV news channel that has a low viewership? After all, they could just launch their own.

Channel Nine – the longest-running commercial TV service in Australia, has also been the most aggressive of late in future-proofing their TV assets by shifting into the digital space. Putting aside the albatross that is NineMSN, Nine have been very successful with the recent launch of general entertainment streaming service Stan. While there have certainly been some technology hiccups (putting it politely), many of those are being ironed out and what remains is a well-featured streaming service that is on track to develop nicely over coming months.

Nine, in many ways, mirrors US broadcaster CBS. While CBS haven’t gone down the route of launching a general entertainment SVOD service, they have also been aggressive in carving out a space digitally recently. One of their more interesting moves has been the November 2014 launch of CBSN – a 24/7 live news streaming service that pools together all of CBS’ established news resources to take on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. The content on CBSN doesn’t carry CBS news programs. It’s an entirely distinct service.

Is there a good reason Nine couldn’t pursue a similar path, utilising all of the news content it currently offers. Currently Nine carry 13 hours of news-type programming throughout every weekday.

3:30am-5am Good Morning America
5am-5:30am Nine News
6am-9am Today
9am-11am Mornings
11am-12pm Nine Morning News
3pm-4:15pm Nine News Now
4:15pm – 5:25pm Nine Afternoon News
6pm-7pm Nine News
7pm A Current Affair

Five years ago it was suggested that Ten consider the idea of a 24 hour news service, but with Ten having since reduced its news commitments dramatically, that’s not the consideration that it once was. But Nine? Their news coverage only intensifies every year. And with good reason.

As viewers become more comfortable with digital content consumption, we’re witnessing an erosion of TV viewers – particularly with younger viewers. To maintain the relevance of broadcast TV in a world now filled with video entertainment options, we’ve witnessed a much stronger reliance by networks on shows that demand live engagement. News, sports, infotainment, and event reality shows now dominate the airwaves. As the digital shift continues, the obvious assumption is that broadcast networks will come to rely on these TV forms more. It’s 13 hours of good quality TV news in 2014, but how many hours worth will it be in 2016?

News will become increasingly important to broadcast networks – it’s relatively cheap, can be repurposed across multiple shows, and (importantly) older viewers watch a lot more news than younger viewers.

Why not embrace a similar path as CBS have taken and take the news online?

With digital multi-channels at their disposal, Nine have a good opportunity to embrace a true multi-platform news environment. Most of the Nine schedule during the daytime is filled with news and magazine-style content already. Extend out Nine News Now and insert in an imported news program or two from overseas (CBS Evening News? BBC World News content? Al Jazeera?) and you have a full day of news. In the evenings, convert GEM into a mix of talk panel shows and news programming in the same manner as Sky News Australia and ABC News 24 do.

The news content can then be adapted to an online platform similar to CBSN – 24 hour streaming news available via the web and streamed to apps, with viewers able to watch specific news stories or news programming on demand.

Nine do a good job with their TV news and it would be disappointing to see their news services die off with broadcast TV. Nine are a trusted voice with an already very strong commitment to producing news – why not take it that further step and become Australia’s leading commercial news provider? Channel Nine doesn’t need Sky News Australia – they already broadcast so much news content they’re practically already providing the same service.

[PODCAST] Televised Revolution: Is The Future of Television Mid-Evening Bad Language & Boobs? (Ep 385)

As digital platforms rise and broadcast television faces challenges to keep up, government regulation must evolve with the restrictions it places upon Free To Air broadcasters. Should governments ease off or completely eliminate broadcast license fees for companies who have chosen to maximise profits from FTA broadcast at the expense of evolving their business to meet digital challengers head on? Should governments allow networks to show adult content earlier in the evening just because kids can access that content at any time elsewhere?

Televised Revolution examines these weighty issues. Join Simon Band as he takes over as host this week and regular panelist Dennis Dugandzic as the two examine these weighty issues as well as the news of the week:

  • Free TV Australia want FTA broadcasters to be allowed to broadcast their main channels in HD.
  • Free TV Australia wants to ease regulations restricting the broadcast of adult content at 8:30pm, shifting to 7:30pm.
  • FTA networks call for the elimination of broadcast licenses.
  • When will Netflix launch in Australia?
  • Streaming service Stan signs a deal with Vodafone.
  • And more.

At Televised Revolution, we look forward to receiving your mail and check us out on the Twitter. You can also find the podcast on iTunes (please leave us a review, it helps people find the show).

Televised Revolution is available on:

iTunes | PocketCasts | Soundcloud | StitcherRSS

When Will Netflix Launch In Australia and New Zealand? We Offer An Answer.

It’s the question that dominates the Australian media as we inch toward its announced launch: Just when will Netflix launch in Australia and New Zealand? After years of speculation and anticipation, Netflix is set to launch an Australian service in March. What hasn’t been announced yet is when exactly and what it will cost.

But we think we have the answer. 

What do we know?
From their initial media release, we have known that Netflix will launch in March 2015. They never announced a specific date –  standard practice for Netflix. There is  not a specific day that they launch into new territories on, but Tuesdays have been more common than other days. When Netflix launch into multiple regions at the same time, the launches are often staggered on different days with the most prominent territories up first. When they launch, one expects that they will launch in Australia first, with New Zealand the day after.

We know the details of several content deals. At launch Netflix will offer several Australian stand-up comedy specials, including Carl Barron: A One Ended Stick; Arj Barker: Harvest; Kitty Flanagan: Hello Kitty; Jimeoin: Something Smells Funny, and Umbilical Brothers: The Rehearsal. Kids series will include: Lightning Point, the first three seasons of H2O: Just Add Water and the first season of Mako Mermaids; as well as international favorites: Maya the Bee, Lalaloopsy, and The Hive.

Content from Disney will also be available at launch. This includes Lost from ABC Studios, Jake and the Never Land Pirates from Disney Junior and Good Luck Charlie from Disney Channel. Film titles will include: Frozen, Planes, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Saving Mr. Banks and Muppets Most Wanted. Tangled and Star Wars: The Clone Wars will also be available as part of a global deal.

Netflix will debut Gotham once the series finishes its initial airing in the US on Fox.

Original series produced for Netflix will include House of Cards, Bojack Horseman, and Marco Polo (among others). The rights to Orange Is The New Black are retained by Foxtel.

UPDATE: Content will also include material from the ABC, including Jonah From Tonga, Ja’mie: Private School Girl, Summer Heights High, We Can Be Heroes, Serangoon Road, Rake, Redfern Now, Upper Middle Bogan, Time of Our Lives, Janet King, Jack Irish, and Round The Twist. Additional kids content includes Angelina Ballerina, Sesame Street, and Thomas & Friends.

The next month will also yield three new Netflix original series and with these, the launch date for Netflix in Australia seems a little more clear. Over the coming weeks we will see the following launches:

House of Cards (Season 3) – 27 February

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – 6 March

Bloodline – 20 March

How much will it cost? 
This is the genuinely interesting question. Based off recent pricing in Europe in similar high wealth nations, we can expect a price of approximately $11.99 per month to access the standard HD streaming + 2 screens of simultaneous streaming package. Netflix may offer their SD + 1 screen plan for $9.99 to compete with Stan, with a Family plan offering HD and four screens at $12.99.

Netflix have found the price point in the US to be particularly sensitive, so they’ve been seemingly reluctant to raise it too much. It’s going to be difficult for them eventually to pass the $10.00 price point without customer uproar in coming years. It would make sense for Netflix to avoid a similar issue in Australia by just launching over $10 to start with.

Stan may advertise itself as cheaper at their $10 price point, but Netflix have their Original Series to market as a value proposition. In addition, Netflix will also be available to stream on far more devices at launch. From a pure accessibility standpoint, Netflix still comes out far in front justifying a few bucks more a month.

When will Netflix actually launch?
A launch this week or next is unlikely. Despite Gizmodo pitching the idea of a March 01 launch, it’s unlikely they’d launch on the weekend or even in the days that follow. Yes, House of Cards is a big launch for them, but Netflix know that the publicity surrounding their having the rights to the series is going to be just as good value weeks after the US launch. Those desperate to watch season 3 on the launch weekend are likely to already have a Netflix US subscription. Besides the buzz surrounding people watching the show and complaints that it isn’t available yet is good promo for the service. Netflix are best milking that opportunity.

Launching for The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is foolish. It’s an anticipated comedy series by Tina Fey, but Netflix know that plays to a specific niche. It’s not exactly a marquee title that props up their service in the way House of Cards or Orange Is The New Black does, rather like Bojack Horseman, it’s just good value adding.

But Bloodline? This is a good launch anchor. This is a new show without any pre-existing brand familiarity. Promoting a new murder mystery drama from the makers of Damages is a tantalising prospect and makes for great copy when tied to the launch of the Australian service.

Launching with Bloodline makes a statement to the Australian market that Netflix is a provider of premium, compelling television that cannot be seen anywhere else. House of Cards has already been seen elsewhere, losing the exclusive value it may have had if previous seasons hadn’t been screened on Foxtel.

So, Give Us A Date For The Launch Already!
Okay, okay.

It makes perfect sense that Netflix will launch in Australia on 24 March 2015, with a New Zealand launch the following day on 25 March 2015.

This follows the Bloodline launch on March 20 in the US and other international Netflix markets.

A Tuesday launch allows for a teaser in the Media sections of the AFR and The Australian on the Monday (building expectation and buzz throughout the day) with dedicated news coverage provided on the Tuesday when it does launch. Netflix misses out on launch weekend activity from the weekend Bloodline launch, but a weekday launch makes a splash and it’s best to launch with the big new thing available at day one.

Could it launch earlier? It’s entirely possible. But a 24 March launch is the most sensible and altogether likely.

What To Watch? Parks & Recreation, House of Cards, and Outlaw Country [Week of 22 February 2015]

The final episode of Parks and Recreation, which goes to air this week, marks not only the end of a beloved sitcom, but also the end or an era of comedy. Parks & Recreation marks the last comedy program aired by US network NBC as part of their medium-defining Thursday night Must See TV lineup. This lineup included US comedy greats like Cheers, The Cosby Show, Night Court, Family Ties, Seinfeld, Friends, The Office, 30 Rock, and Community.

With a double-length finale, Parks & Recreation concludes on Tuesday 24 February 2015.

While not series finales, there are a number of notable season conclusions airing this week – Broadchurch, Sleepy Hollow, Catastrophe, Agent Carter, How To Get Away With Murder, Wolf Hall, Death In Paradise, and Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce.

By far the most notable TV event this week is the third season return of House of Cards. Following on from a season of murder and a devils threesome, it’ll be difficult for House of Cards to top what has come before it. Something that would make the series interesting would be for either of the Underwoods to be unsuccessful at something. So far everything has just come up Millhouse for them both. The show returns on Feb 27.

This week yields just one new show:

Outlaw Country
Airs: Wednesday 24 February 2015 (WGN America – US)
It seems like US network WGN America are just throwing all sorts of shows at the wall to see what sticks. The first was the gothic oddity Salem, with the built for prestige series Manhattan following close behind. Neither series really caught the worlds imagination (though Manhattan really is pretty good). Outlaw Country is a real-life documentary drama series with cameras following cops around as they deal with a city under siege.

 

Seven Want To Abolish TV License Fees. What Do We Get In Return?

Things aren’t all roses at Seven. Off the back of yesterday’s news that they face a $943 million first half net loss, Seven CEO Tim Worner has called for the Federal Government to fall in line with the rest of the world and reduce the amount they pay in license fees each year. How much does Tim Worner believe they should be paying?

In an interview with News Corps Darren Davidson, Worner suggested: “I actually believe they should be at zero, particularly given what are the heaviest local content regulations in the world,”

The license fees paid by networks are based on a percentage of the broadcasters revenue. Recent license rebates in 2012 and 2013 saw networks save approximately $150 million each.

Putting aside practice in other countries, a question MUST be asked as part of the conversation surrounding abolishing license fees: What does Australia get in return? Australia’s commercial TV broadcasters are not simply just entitled to access Australia’s airwaves. In paying for the access, broadcasters must also meet license conditions which include meeting quotas for Australian (1460 hours worth per year), children’s, and pre-school content. Just stripping the cost of the license won’t automatically mean networks won’t also have to meet those quotas. Australians will still get *some* cultural value from Australian free to air broadcasters.

SBS show The Feed ran this interesting primer to Australian content:

But is that cultural access to locally produced content enough? We’ve seen the ABC and SBS cut services this year due to budget issues. Surely the money generated from license fees can be going towards the ongoing costs associated with maintaining a public broadcaster (which provides considerable value across radio, TV, and online). There’s also considerable financial value in getting rid of the FTA broadcasters altogether and selling the spectrum off to telecommunications providers to better mobile coverage.

If we are to see such a drastic change to the licensing provisions, surely this provides an opportunity to have companies tender for the opportunity to access the airwaves. Are current providers really providing the best possible service? We have too many hours lost each week to infomercials, shows produced to push political agendas, and foreign TV shows held over for months (sometimes years).

It’s interesting that we are seeing this call come from Channel Seven. This is a company that has devoted more time to corporate partnerships when devising digital strategy. Their broadcast catch-up service Plus7 rolled out across multiple platforms with limited content (unless you had a Samsung TV at one point), the ill-conceived TV check-in app Fango given considerable attention and promotion when it was clearly a lousy product, and now there’s their efforts to get involved in SVOD with a strategy that merely hitched a limited amount of content to a Foxtel-branded product – Presto.

Seven are crying poor when they have done nothing of substance to ensure their longterm digital survival. Should taxpayers be rewarding that behaviour by eliminating license fees?

 

[PODCAST] Televised Revolution – AWOL Coneheads (Ep 384)

This week SNL turns 40 years old. Televised Revolution explores what made that such a groundbreaking show, laying ground for so many of the TV and film comedies of the past 40 years.

In addition we discuss the TV news of the week:

  • Stan announces original Australian productions including a Wolf Creek TV series.
  • Fetch TV to carry Netflix.
  • Foxtel announce increase in subscribers following price drop.
  • Quickflix shares drop. Again.
  • Vale: Gary Owens.
  • Target US ends streaming service.

At Televised Revolution, we look forward to receiving your mail and check us out on the Twitter. You can also find the podcast on iTunes (please leave us a review, it helps people find the show).

Televised Revolution is available on:

iTunes | PocketCasts | Soundcloud | StitcherRSS

What To Watch? The Odd Couple, Indian Summers, and X Company [Week of February 15 2015]

At Televised Revolution HQ regular viewing has been put on the backburner due to a rewatch of the entirety of Mad Men leading up to that shows return (for its final run of episodes) in April. As such, great new shows like Fortitude, Bosch, and Gallipoli have been completely ignored in favour of the staff at Sterling Cooper Draper Price.

And so, with an Old Fashioned in hand, Televised Revolution is thankful that this is a quiet week for regular television. Though it is worth keeping in mind that next week does deliver the series finale of Parks & Recreation after what has been a stellar final season for that series.

Returning series: Vikings, Tosh.0.

New series:

Indian Summers
Airs: 15 February 2015 (Channel 4 – UK)
With the future of Downton Abbey increasingly uncertain, it makes sense that UK producers are seeking to find a show to transition that viewership over to. Could it be Indian Summers? This drama is set in 1932, telling the story of the decline of the British Empire and the birth of modern India.

X Company
Airs: 18 February 2015 (CBC – Canada)

The series takes place during World War II and follows five recruits to be trained as secret agents at a Canadian training facility. The series is inspired by the real spy training school Camp X, which was located between Whitby and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Interestingly, this series is a Canadian/Hungarian co-production.

The Odd Couple
Airs: 19 February 2015 (CBS – US)
After a string of failed, yet better-than-average series, it looks like Matthew Perry is onto a winner (ratings-wise, at least) with this remake of The Odd Couple. Tom Lennon co-stars.

The ‘What To Watch’ list is a primer for shows that are debuting or have an episode of note. If you want more complete TV listing site, be sure to check out the Pogdesign Calendar. Please note that all dates cited below are in accordance with their local broadcast times.

Special thanks goes to Jen Knight for assisting in compiling the list.

[PODCAST] Sensible Chuckle – Dario Russo [Episode 7]

This conversation with Danger 5 co-creator, co-writer, and director Dario Russo marks the final episode of Sensible Chuckle. We discuss this final episode of Danger 5 that manages to warp not only viewers brains, but space-time itself. What lies ahead for Danger 5? Press play to find out.

This is the final of seven podcasts that will tie in with season 2 of Danger 5. Future episodes will feature interviews with other Danger 5 actors and the creators of the show. Each episode will focus on a different episode, providing quasi-director commentaries to watch along with the show.

Sensible Chuckle is available on:

iTunes | PocketCasts | Soundcloud | StitcherRSS