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.

5 Podcasts That Should Be TV Shows

Each week millions of people work out at gyms, walk dogs, and do the dishes with earbuds in and podcasts blaring away. Some of the shows being listened to are just repurposed radio shows, while others are dedicated shows produced exclusively for online distribution. The ones that work the best are those with a compelling concept and hosts/producers that back that up each instalment with great content.

Just like with radio. And…just like with TV.

The following are five shows that are perfectly good in their current form, but would also work VERY well as TV series.

Dinner Party Download

What’s It About? This is a US magazine-style radio show that provides its listeners with everything they need to function at the next dinner party they attend. It’s filled with segments about arcane news stories, novelty cocktail recipes, interviews with artists (actors, singers, film makers, and the like), etiquette segments, and music.

How Would It Function As TV? Well, you stage it as a dinner party, silly. It’s the ultimate hipster live variety show with hosts and guests casually drinking cocktails while engaging in the same types of segments that make the radio show such an entertaining show to listen to each week.

A Rational Fear

What’s It About? Hosted by Sydney comedian Dan Ilic, A Rational Fear is an unflinching examination of the political and corporate lies and spin produced to keep every day Australians in line. While that sounds like communist and extremist nonsense, this is actually a funny panel comedy show that tries to get to a truth: Politicians and corporations don’t have our best interests at heart and we shouldn’t be mistaken for thinking they do or should. Is that cynical?

How Would It Function As TV? Every year there are multiple TV series that seek to serve as satirical take-downs of those in charge. But none of them really ever quite hit the mark. Dan Ilic has hit upon a formula that actually works. It’s simplicity comes down to the way that the show embraces the idea of the Speakers Corner. Every episode has its panelists offer a lengthy monologue about what’s on their mind. It’s simple, raw, and honest. Are people willing to watch a monologue on a TV screen for that long? Considering that most people are staring at their second screen phone as they watch TV, perhaps there’s never been a better time to find out.

Which isn’t to say that some witty Hungry Beast-style infographics between monologues wouldn’t hurt.

The 9PM Edict

What’s It about? Produced and hosted by Australian technology reporter/commentator/fancy boy Stilgherrian, The 9PM Edict is a semi-fortnightly thoughtful examination of political news and events.Right-wing talkback nonsense can make for aggravating, yet thoroughly entertaining radio in a way that a left-wing radio show never can. Similarly, right-wing satirical comedy doesn’t work very well. The 9PM Edict doesn’t really take a side. Instead, Stilgherrian is angered by everyone. It functions as a no-bullshit centrist examination of what is taking place around us. It’s fair, balanced, and brutally honest. Ankles of Australia beware.

How Would It Function As TV?  Stilgherrian is a bona fide living national treasure. That said, he does not have a face or temperament that was born for television. And that’s what would be so refreshing about seeing him on the TV screen. In some ways he’s the real life embodiment of Howard Beale from the film Network. Stilgherrian is mad as hell and he isn’t going to take it anymore. One wouldn’t imagine he’d be ranting and raving into the TV, it’s not that sort of angry. Rather, it’s rational and polite, but highly aggrieved. Just put the man behind a desk each night with some daily segments. Opinion and common sense will drive people to the show. He’d be like Sky News’ Paul Murray, only far less punchable.

You Must Remember This

What’s It About? Hosted by Katrina Longworth, You Must Remember This is a look at forgotten aspects of Hollywood. The lives and loves of the most notable stars, but offering a glimpse into the real life worlds of these people. Stars of yesteryear are presented as actual people and not mere myths and legends. Noteworthy episodes include The Many Loves of Howard Hughes, and an examination into what went wrong in producing the forgotten Frank Sinatra sci-fi concept album Frank Sinatra In Outer Space.

How Would It Function As TV? First let us acknowledge that this show functions perfectly as a radio show. It’s like a lost treasure one stumbles across on AM radio in the wee hours of the night that you’d never forget. Only weekly. But it could also be television. There are so many TMZ-like shows that seek to take down celebrities, building them up as objects that are only there to be destroyed. You Must Remember This treats its subjects as real people with flaws and heartbreaking incidents in their lives. A documentary-style show with interviews and re-enactments would be deeply compelling and perfect for our celebrity-obsessed culture.

Televised Revolution

You’re right. This is shameless.

What’s It About? Each week host Dan Barrett and his regular panelists Simon Band and Dennis Dugandzic take to the microphone to talk about television. Up first is an analysis of the TV news of the week, followed by a longer Feature discussion about something to do with television, then they top it off every week by discussing the one thing they’ve loved or hated on TV that week.

How Would It Function As TV? It wouldn’t. Not quite. But, I have some ideas on how to translate it. Come at me television people.


Televised Revolution Podcast – Playing Doctors & Nurses (Ep 361)

For as long as there has been television, cop shows and medical shows have ruled the medium. It makes sense, with both genres lending themselves very well to real, tangible human drama. This week on the podcast we examine the Medical scripted shows. What do audiences love about these shows and which ones have we personally enjoyed?

It’s also been an absolutely huge week in TV. This week we’ll be discussing:

  • Malcolm Turnbull kills community TV. Was it a fair kill?
  • The Copyright Panel – What do we expect to see come from it?
  • Foxtel mulled a takeover of Ten
  • Danger 5 season 2 delayed due to ISIS sensitivities.
  • EzyFlix release a DVD/BD matching 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).



EzyFlix Will Convert Your DVD + Bluray Discs To Digital – But Do We Still Want That?

In 2011 Apple launched iTunes Match, a subscription service that enabled users to store all of their music files in the cloud. This included music purchased within iTunes, along with any other albums owned. It didn’t matter whether the music files were legitimate, or a cheeky file obtained from a P2P source or ripped from a friends music collection. Each song was provided a valid license and legitimised everyone’s music collections.

The iTunes Match moment never came for the TV or movie industry. There has never been a one-stop source for cloud storage of ones movie and TV files. The reality has always been that it’s been more difficult to convert a video collection to digital storage, meaning that for most people their legitimate collections have remained where purchased – on disc. That is how the TV/film distributors wanted it. This, in turn, may also have led to the downfall of per-unit ownership of TV/film content.

Converting a digital video file from a disc is difficult and not worth the time/effort. Unlike the relative ease of ripping a CD, digitising a film requires complicated software like Handbrake which don’t always result in a video experience that’s as good as you have on a disc. Furthermore, storage has always been difficult and costly. For many people, buying a hard drive to connect to a TV or a NAS storage product, has never been a viable option.

All of this brings us to EzyFlix and their new Disc-2-Digital service. Similar to iTunes Match, this is a matching service that will provide a digital copy of discs that you own. Once a (locally purchased) disc has been verified, it will provide a matched copy in your cloud account. Unlike the cheap iTunes Match subscription price, Disc-2-Digital will require a once-off fee per title that is matched. At $2 per title, or $5 if you wish to up-convert it to a HD copy (Bluray to HD remains at $2), it will be a costly exercise updating an entire DVD/BD library. Though, it’ll certainly be cheaper than if you were replacing all of your discs with legally purchased digital files.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 11.05.02 amTitles converted through Disc-2-Digital are then available in your EzyFlix library and in your UltraViolet locker (which is accessible through EzyFlix and other UV providers). You can access content on up to five connected devices including PCs, Macs, iOS and Android Smartphones and Tablets, Samsung Smart TV and Google Chromecast. 1000 films will be available at launch, with many more to come soon.

For consumers that have bought into UV as their online file format of choice, this does represent a compelling option. Especially for those wanting HD copies of films they’ve purchased on DVD.

The majority of consumers, however, will simply not find the value in this service. Part of why people haven’t embraced the purchase of films and TV shows digitally in the same way they embraced DVD is because it’s still too uncertain. Playing a file from your smartphone or tablet and sending it to your TV via Chromecast or Apple TV works fine, but it still doesn’t feel like rigid infrastructure for longterm viability of a video library. Until Google or Apple commit to launching a large-scale TV solution, consumers just don’t feel that any content they’re buying digitally now will still be able to be played five years from now. Also, once you buy into Apple or Google content, DRM means you’re stuck within that eco-system.

Consumers have never felt that a digital library built anywhere will have a future. When iTunes Match came along it legitimised people’s libraries. It gave consumers a framework to understand that their own curated library exists, it matters, and that moving forward there will be a way to access and play their files.

itunes-matchFilms and TV shows, still trapped on discs, never made that leap. Through the design of distributors to double-up on purchases and upgrade to superior video formats every decade or so, consumers were never provided the conversion pathway that Disc-2-Digital now offers. The problem is that between iTunes Match’s launch date and today, video content consumption has changed. We now live in a world of Netflix and all-you-can-eat streaming.

Why buy/rent a film for $10-20 per title when for approximately $8 a month consumers will have access to all the films or TV shows they can watch in a relatively vast library. Access to the titles is ephemeral, but with so many titles to choose from, just how often will one want to revisit the same titles over and over again? It’s a reasonable consumption choice and behaviour.

TV and film distributors brought this behaviour upon themselves. By never embracing an iTunes Match service sooner, it means that video consumption based around owning a title came to a halt. There was no transitionary moment for consumers to maintain the habit of purchasing a title. Today services like Spotify offer all-you-can-eat services, but consumers are still buying individual albums. They still have a link to that consumption behaviour. But with films remaining on their discs, consumers saw the end of the road for the life of that purchase they’d made. And when it came to starting fresh a new consumption behaviour, they opted for the one that was the most favourable to their ongoing needs.

For those consumers who have made the jump to UV and are happy purchasing titles via UV-supportive platforms, Disc-2-Digital will be a welcome initiative. But it wont be enough to convince others to embrace UV. It rests too far adjacent to how we watch our movies and TV now.

Cilla Black, the New Girl, and a Red Band Society Are The Glue of This Weeks Watchlist – Week Beginning 14 September 2014

After a month of dire offerings, this week heralds a few interesting new and returning series. This is the week before the new US TV season kicks off, with Fox launching the new seasons of New Girl and The Mindy Project early, along with their new series Red Band Society. The most interesting new show of this week, however, is the debut of the UK teen murder mystery series ‘Glue’.

The Watchlist 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 Watchlist.

Airs: 15 September 2014 (E4 – UK)
Described by The Radio Times as “Skins meets Broadchurch“, this is an 8-part series about bored youths who find themselves at the centre of a murder mystery. Glue is written by Jack Thorne, who has written for Skins, Shameless, This is England 86, and This is England 88.

Airs: 15 September 2014 (ITV – UK)
This three-part mini-series star charts the rise of singer Cilla Black and stars actress Sheridan Smith in the main role. As the trailer shows, expect great music and fantastically awful wigs.

New Girl
Airs: 16 September (Fox – US)
Returning for season four, New Girl is on thin ice with a lot of viewers following a dismal third season. The show undertook a course correction at the end of the prior season, so hopefully the series may find its footing once more. More Schmidt is always the key and a renewed focus on him and Cece would do wonders for the series.

The Mindy Project
Airs: 16 September (Fox – US)
One of the more fun things about The Mindy Project during the series run has been watching the way the show has integrated in a number of well-regarded male guest stars from hip comedy shows as recurring romantic interests for Mindy. This, the third season for the show, is jettisoning that approach to the show in favour of focusing on the now romantic relationship between Mindy and Danny. Mindy Kaling has referred more than once to their new relationship being like Lucy and Desi. Whether this is a good shift for the series remains to be seen.

Bad Education
Airs: 16 September (BBC3 – UK)
This is the third season of the UK comedy, starring Jack Whitehall as the UK education systems worst teacher. Obviously hilarity is sure to ensue. Or not if the reviews are to be believed.

Red Band Society
Airs: 17 September 2014 (Fox – US)
Earlier this year Octavia Spencer was in talks to star in a revival of Murder She Wrote, but negative reaction from people including the original series star Angela Lansbury saw the project abandoned. It’s a shame, because it would have been fun to see. Instead Spencer is starring in this, a dramedy series about a teens with serious medical ailments who meet in hospital.

Today Malcolm Turnbull Murdered Community TV As We Know It.

What is the value of community television in Australia in 2014? That is a topic firmly in mind today following confirmation this morning that the Federal Government will be forcing Australia’s community television broadcasters off the air. At an ACMA event in Sydney this morning Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull advised that they would transition CTV broadcasters towards online delivery, thereby releasing the ‘sixth channel’ spectrum.

Last years sale of the spectrum made available by the analogue switch-off generated $1.96 billion in revenue for the government. The spectrum was sold to Telstra, Optus, and TPG for communications services.

While selling the spectrum off to interested parties may again yield a similar windfall for the government, comments by Minister Turnbull are curious “With the completion of the digital switchover, advances in compression standards, and Australians increasingly accessing content that doesn’t require spectrum — such as cable and over-the-top services via the internet — the government considers that it is timely to recast the current broadcasting spectrum policy framework to ensure it is fit-for-purpose for the next wave of innovation in the media sector”.

A suggestion is that the available bandwidth be used to transition the other FTA broadcasters towards using MPEG-4 compression, which would enable the networks to provide high definition broadcasts on more than the one channel (which is currently the situation). Broadcast TV still has a few years of life left in it, with viewers increasingly frustrated at the low resolution currently being broadcast. A problem highlighted by the increasing size of most home televisions.

It is entirely possible that we may see another entrant into the Australian FTA TV market. While it is a possibility that The Govt may see fit to issue the license to another commercial operator (paying for a rapidly shrinking license fee), it’s questionable who would want to buy a broadcast license in Australia? Broadcast TV has a diminishing audience, with an ad dollar that is now being spread across multiple other media. It’s not the big tent that it was even five years ago. That said, with Viacom purchasing Channel 5 in the UK earlier this year for £450m, it’s possible that a company might wish to make a play for an Australian TV license – as small and crowded as our market already is.

Regardless of what happens to the spectrum, it does still leave community television out in the cold. So, what is the value of community television? Many of the core arguments in support of community TV don’t quite work in this age of YouTube, a platform that embodies much of the spirit and intent of community television.

The most common argument is that Community TV serves as a training ground for people to go and get professional TV jobs.  Sure, but with valuable spectrum at stake, is that worth the large amount of money that could be going to more vital resources (whether the govt is spending wisely with that money is a different conversation). Besides, what can community TV teach an up and coming professional that a uni course and/or work on DIY projects cannot? Access to equipment and resources has never been cheaper to produce and distribute ones own works.

Rove, along with Hamish & Andy, is regularly cited as Community TV success stories and that without CTV, we’d never have them. While it’s debatable as to whether that’s really much of a cultural loss, it’s also worth noting just how few other big names have their success largely attributed to community TV. Secondly, we must return once more to YouTube which is really becoming a fertile ground for the next generation of grass root community video stars.

There is, however, a very good reason to maintain organisations that produce community content: It gives like-minded people something to do. This sounds simple and basic, but a fully functioning society needs outlets like this to operate. We need organisations around that can provide people with a sense of belonging and purpose. It keeps people engaged and creative. And if it fosters a sense of community around work that they generate, then that’s a great thing for the wider community’s cultural capital.

Does this necessarily need to be available on broadcast TV? The answer is that it doesn’t. At least not with its own distinct spectrum allocation. The question becomes: Then what?

Community TVAnd here’s where Minister Turnbull needs to commit to the value of community television. If CTV is left to become just another YouTube channel provider, it’ll die on the vine. If Turnbull wishes to take away CTV’s platform, he needs to find a viable future for it. There are two core platforms that need to be considered:

  • Datacasting Services. Right now TV networks are broadcasting home shopping channels on their datacasting bandwidth allocations. They’re broadcasting shopping channels for two reasons. Firstly, they’re pure profit with no real investment in resources to be made. Secondly, the Broadcasting Services Act is so restrictive as to allow very few other TV forms to be broadcast. As part of the media reforms that Minister Turnbull is currently seeking to undertake in conjunction with the broadcasters, a loosening of the existing restrictions on datacasting services need to be made. Home shopping channels do nothing to enrich or better the community. And considering that these are airwaves that belong to us, we should have some benefit from their licensed use. With license fee’s continually being dropped for networks, it would be prudent to make a demand on the FTA broadcasters. Just as we require a certain number of Australian content hours to be produced each year, that networks provide ad-free P classified programs, the provision of C classified shows, and other similar requirements, the government should demand that networks carry community content on one of their datacasting channels.
  • FreeviewPlus. The core selling point of the FreeviewPlus platform is that it offers not just catch-up TV, but also the potential to broadcast an endless number of services online. Surely an arrangement can be struck between the FTA broadcasters and the CTV channels, facilitated by the Department of Communications, to stream their content on FreeviewPlus alongside the existing networks content?

The future of community television today appears bleak. But it shouldn’t be. One can accept that there are strong financially-driven reasons to want to free-up spectrum space. That’s fine. But careful consideration must be given to how these valued services can continue to function in a way that will not negatively impact on the communities that have built up around these broadcast organisations, their produced content, and the viewers who do watch.

There are plenty of viable alternatives for Australia’s vibrant community TV sector. Minister Turnbull needs to take an active hand in ensuring that community television doesn’t just continue, but has been given a platform to grow and evolve with the times.

The Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Panel – Not Just Crazies

Over The Top voices were curiously absent from tonight’s Copyright panel in Sydney this evening. The panel was convened to provide public facing consultation following responses to the Federal Governments Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper and served as a veritable who’s who of the paid Australian media landscape.

In attendance was Peter Duncan (the Australian writer/director of Australian films/TV including Children of The Revolution and Rake), outspoken Village Roadshow co-Chairman Graham Burke, Telstra’s Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs Jane Van Beelan, Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein, iiNet CEO David Buckingham, APRA’s Brett Cottle, and CHOICE head Alan Kirkland.

The audience was packed with media and technology journalists, staff of the companies represented on the panel, government staffers, and interested members of the public. The number of ‘crazies’ feared by Graham Burke were kept to a minimum.

Missing from the panel seemed to be anyone without a financial stake in the copyright issue. Issues of cultural capital, new business development growth, and consumer-focused innovation were clearly not to be a focus of this panel. No, this was set to be a conversation based around how corporations must do something to stop piracy that is affecting their bottom line.

As CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland stated during the panel, nobody is necessarily pro-piracy, but rather consumers are eager to see content priced at a reasonable and equitable price point and for it to be made widely available. Beyond Kirkland, the rest of the panel were made up of industry leaders who have a significant financial stake in maintaining the status quo. Certainly, industry leaders should have a voice. TV in Australia would be a poorer place culturally if it weren’t for providers like Foxtel. But, if Foxtel were to go away, the market would open to other, more innovative providers.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.32.17 pm

It was interesting to note that there was no representation from the Australian FTA TV broadcasters, OTT subscription services like Quickflix, or much of a look-in from academia. Also missing was the true voice of the consumer as delivered via Twitter.

Just as a video over the top service lays it’s content over established networks to deliver services like streaming movies, Twitter served as an OTT conversation to that taking place in the room. Unsurprisingly the voice of the many was angry and highly sceptical of those speaking.

Australian content consumers are angry. And justifiably so. Quite regularly they are paying more money for the same content available overseas. Also, the delay time between content airing overseas and airing locally is substantial. This follows years of Australian TV consumers being treated poorly. We all have tales of shows being taken from the schedule just episodes into a season without notice, midnight to dawn burn-offs of series, and shows taking years to be played locally… often briefly before being taken off the air just episodes into a season or dumped into unfavourable time slots.

The Internet has served as the true democratisation of consumer choice and Australian audiences are keen to exercise that democracy. The reason why TV piracy rates in Australia are so high is simply because content is now available uninterrupted, in higher quality (actual HD), and within hours of its initial screening. Viewers for the first time can now watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it.

So, while the on stage panel were defending the rights of big business to protect their IP, Twitter was awash with bitter commentary from those watching the livestream of the panel.

In an interesting move, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull quite regularly took questions and comments from VIP’s on the floor. These comments came from academics and organisations like Google who offered a strong counterpoint to the views of those on stage. It can be presumed that those on the panel likely would not have appeared had it not been stacked in the manner it was.

Of significant note were the comments of Google’s Ishtar Vij who eloquently spoke on the revenue generated through live streaming events, representing the voice of a different emerging content provider.

At risk also is a considerable amount of cultural capital. While piracy is certainly not desirable, piracy does lead to the curation of otherwise lost or unreleased material.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.34.01 pmMost surprising of the speakers was how well Graham Burke put forward his case before losing weight to his argument by incorrectly saying that there are no record stores in Melbourne anymore and suggesting this archaic method of shopping for music was superior. Burke also asserted that Australians are paying less for high definition content than overseas, which is blatantly incorrect. Using The Lego Movie as an example, Australians (by way of iTunes) are paying a AUS$24.99 against US$19.99. Burke did admit that the approach Village Roadshow took in delaying the release date of The Lego Movie was a mistake that the distributors will not repeat again. A bold admission.

It’s worth considering that the perception is that large media conglomerates have always been the gatekeepers of the content we consume, but they’re really relatively recent gatekeepers. TV is a relatively new medium that can still shift and evolve into other forms of TV consumption. Maybe that does mean people will be more interested in cat videos than Game of Thrones. With the current changes we are witnessing, it could well be that we simply need to push aside pre-conceived notions of what televisual entertainment is and can be. Maybe TV through YouTube is the future. Perhaps not. Whatever that future may hold, any changes to current laws need to ensure that Australia’s value system is being maintained and protected beyond the requirements of thes current large media companies.

Ultimately, what was achieved by this panel? Very little. Big media in Australia can now say that they’ve sought public consultation in an open environment. No greater understandings were achieved. As with any issue, the only way to affect any real change is to contact your local MP and stress that this is an important, vote winning/losing issue.

Review: Devil's Playground

The 1976 Fred Schepsi film The Devil’s Playground is a wonderful examination of the so-called sins of the flesh. The film concerns the priests and young boy pupils at a Catholic seminary in the early 1950’s. The boys are beginning to discover their sexuality and are conflicted with the messages of denial that is being instilled within them by the priests. Meanwhile the priests themselves are grappling with years of sexual repression and self-denial.

It’s not the sort of film that lends itself to a TV series, yet Foxtel have commissioned this six-episode series that revisits the young protagonist of the original film, Tom Allen (Simon Burke), as a 48 year-old widower. Now a practicing psychiatrist, Allen has answered the call from the Bishop of Sydney to provide guidance to priests in need of guidance. This coincides with the disappearance of a young boy who is a student at a Catholic boys school.

The premise of the series is sound and lends itself to great drama. While the show doesn’t explore the idea of sins of the flesh in quite the same way as the original film did, Devil’s Playground builds upon the idea of what happens when the sins of the flesh have become too much and an innocent has been hurt. Building the Devils Playground into a drama that explores the background of clergy child abuse hearings was a genius move with the timeline of the Tom Allen character now being of an age where these crimes were exposed to the public. Allen’s age dictated by the age of actor Simon Burke who portrayed Allen in the original film.

imageWhere the series falls apart is by building too much of a personal stake in the story for Tom Allen. It would have been perfectly sound dramatically for him to simply be drawn back into the world of the church with his new job and to explore the ramifications that has on him personally and spiritually. Instead the series also has him knowing the boy who goes missing well, being the son of a neighbour he had an affair with. It’s just too contrived for it to sit right. After all, what are the odds of him being called back to the church just as this boy goes missing? It overloads the conceit of the series too much.

Beyond the plotting problem, the rest of the series is actually very good. If Foxtel can commit themselves to producing great series like this routinely they may actually have grounds upon which to convince subscribers to sign up to their service. This is strong, world-class drama and deserves to be watched.

Toni Collette will serve as a significant draw card for many viewers and John Noble’s presence is equally welcomed, but it is Don Hany that truly makes this series memorable. Hany takes control of the screen from his very first scene and never let’s go. It’s a restrained performance that builds and builds with every scene. The material in Devil’s Playground is pretty strong, but Hany elevates it. There’s a reason that Hany I’d building a very strong fan following and is all on display here.

There’s been considerable discussion recently regarding the dismal state of Australian cinema. Devils Playground proves that these concerns are ill-founded. Just as with overseas TV trends, the best productions have simply moved to television. This is a drama that tells an Australian story in a distinctly Australian way. Devil’s Playground is a show that owes as much to the recent success of Scandi-dramas as it does to the original Fred Schepsi film, delivering a series that feels contemporary and altogether involving.

Devil’s Playground debuts on Foxtel’s Showcase channel Tuesday 9 September 2014 at 8:30pm.

Televised Revolution Podcast – Episode 360

It’s a big week for news at Televised Revolution. The panel discuss:

*FreeviewPlus launches – Did it meet expectation?
*Foxtel radically change their price plans. Is it as radical as claimed?
*Sky News to launch across Asia to replace the Australia Network.
*The Australia Network shutdown.

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).



SBS On Demand – Leading The Pack In Online Catch-Up

With the highly publicised launch of FreeviewPlus last week dominating the conversation regarding free to air TV and catch-up services it’s easy to forget that, while it’s great that there’s now a locally available platform bringing these services together in Australia, it’s still not the primary way that the majority of viewers will access them. At least not in the short-term.

The majority of viewers will continue to watch ABC iView, SBS On Demand, Plus7, Jump in, and Tenplay via their respective apps on compatible smart phones, tablets, smart TV’s, consoles, and other connected devices. It would make sense that, with so many viewers watching on disparate platforms, TV providers would be seeking to ensure that their services could be watched as widely as possible. This, however does not seem to be the case. SBS, with their On Demand app, are the only broadcaster actually endeavouring to ensure that viewers can watch SBS content when they want it and how they want to watch it.

Currently SBS On Demand can be viewed via their website (thus, Windows or Mac), Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Android, iOS, Samsung TV and Bluray players, Sony TV’s, Panasonic TV’s, Humax, Windows 8, Windows Phone (7&8), Kindle Fire, LG TV’s, Hisense TV’s, TCL TV’s, Fetch TV, Telstra T-Box, and now via HbbTV. This represents a total of 20 platforms they’re available on. Their closest rival is not a free-to-air broadcaster, but rather the subscription video on demand service Quickflix. Currently Quickflix is available on 15 different platforms (pre-installed on some, along with an assortment of Android variants).

When considering the widespread availability of apps, US SVOD provider Netflix immediately comes to mind. One of the reasons that Netflix has been so successful in the US has been its widespread availability. It’s difficult to buy a new device and not have a Netflix app available or even pre-installed. That said, a cursory look reveals that they’re only available on 29 different platforms. Considering the resources that Netflix have to invest, it speaks highly that SBS (and Quickflix) have been able to make their apps as widely available as they are.


SBS Manager of Technology, Strategy, and Innovation Trevor Long commented to Televised Revolution, “I think it’s great that we’re comparing SBS to a successful multi-platform company like Quickflix, they’ve been hugely successful in their growth across platforms”. He continues, “We think it’s important for Australians to have access to SBS content on as many platforms as possible, so they can watch our programming whenever they want and on whatever device they choose, we’re really proud of the team that have worked roll out SBS On Demand to as many platforms as we have”.

At the other end of the spectrum you have the Nine Network and their catch-up app Jump In. Currently the app is only available via web browsers, on iOS devices, and now HbbTV.

Making your content widely available does not necessarily yield high traffic consistently.  Worth considering is that SBS has a greater purpose than just delivering bulk viewership. It is, at its core, a targeted broadcaster tasked with providing content that reflects Australia’s multiculturalism. Ensuring widespread availability of content is a core function of SBS and is in line with the SBS charter.

SBS, in performing it’s principal function must contribute to extending the range of Australian television and radio services, and reflect the changing nature of Australian society, by presenting many points of view and using innovative forms of expression.

SBS On Demand is a service that provides a wealth of content that reflects the breadth of content available on their broadcast services. This includes many of the unique world movies that are broadcast throughout the week. With SBS filling such a vital role in a country like Australia, a nation built on immigration, it’s fantastic to see that the online service of SBS is equally committed to ensuring that so many voices can be heard irrespective of how or where viewers wish to consume it.

The Couch – Interview w/ Devil's Playground Star Simon Burke

Foxtel are launching a very unusual TV series on their Showcase channel called “Devil’s Playground”. Serving as a continuation of the 1976 Fred Schepsi film “The Devil’s Playground”, the film continues telling the story of the films boy protagonist who finds himself returning to the church as a man amid a crisis surrounding a missing child.

Dan sits down with the star of the original film, Simon Burke, who has spearheaded the production and stars once again. It’s an illuminating chat about how this unusual series entered production, what it’s like returning to a text so many years later, and what other TV series inspired the return to Devil’s Playground.

Devil’s Playground debuts on Tuesday 09 September, 2014 (8:30pm) on Showcase.