ABC to premiere new Doctor Who series online within an hour of international release

Doctor WhoThe ABc is to screen the new series of Doctor Who within an hour of its UK premiere. The move is the first time an Australian television network has broadcast content within such a short time of its international release.

ABC1 Controller Brendan Dahill said, “For Doctor Who fans, it is a fantastic opportunity to see new episodes within hours of them premiering in the UK – each episode will be available on iview on Sundays.”

Each episode will be available from 5am eastern time on Sundays.

The show will air on ABC1 the following Saturday. In 2010 the ABC screened Doctor Who on iView before terrestrial TV, but the online episodes were available over two weeks after the BBC screening in the UK.

A growing problem for TV networks is fans of popular shows downloading them immediately after they air overseas if they are not available locally. Earlier this month, News Limited CEO Kim Williams derided such downloading as “scumbag theft”, but did not address the question of business models to allow content to be made available sooner..

Dahill said in a press release: “ABC’s iview is the most watched catch-up service in Australia with 48% of online Australians aged 16+ having accessed iview. The new iview app for iphones and iPod Touch, launched on June 26, has seen a phenomenal 434,000 downloads recorded to date – with 210,000 downloads recorded in its first week.”


  1. Billy C
    28 Aug 12
    11:46 am

  2. Brilliant. To be honest I’ll still download it to watch it in better quality but this is good news.

  3. Marc
    28 Aug 12
    12:34 pm

  4. Ha, that’s rich coming from news limited CEO. Is not putting tv commercials on every 30 seconds not scumbag profiteering by networks?

  5. kia
    28 Aug 12
    12:38 pm

  6. Can all the other TV execs out there take note of this? No need to go and download a torrent if it’s there legitimately in a timely manner, and yes, one hour after first broadcast OS is a timely manner. That’s how quickly shows are available online, so that’s how fast you have to be. Showing something a week later is NOT “fast-tracked”.

  7. AdGrunt
    28 Aug 12
    12:40 pm

  8. Well done ABC for actually understanding their customer needs and behaviours, then reacting to meet them to mutual advantage.

    Of course Kim didn’t address the problem. He hasn’t got a solution. Or a clue beyond the Cinema->DVD / Pay per view-> PayTV->FTA TV content model.

    Kim, instead of painting all the potential customers that you fail to serve the needs of, as thieves, consider how to monetise their clear preference for content delivery.

    Top tip – this may need you and your boss to change your business models. Do so before someone (in California) does it for you…

  9. JJ
    28 Aug 12
    12:44 pm

  10. Finally, 21st century distribution! Other distributors and channels should take note. This should become the new norm.

  11. Lesley
    28 Aug 12
    12:54 pm

  12. Ok.. but when will they air it on TV?
    A lot of Foxtel channles have been airing shows the same week they have been released for ages. This is the tactic that will really make a difference to FTA networks.

    A shocking example is Downton Abbey – Sepetember 2012 in the UK, January 2013 in the US and who knows when Channel 7 will both airing series 3. by the time they do, everyone would have seen it.

  13. Dan
    28 Aug 12
    12:58 pm

  14. Exciting! And clever move on their part – Whovians are a keen bunch so would have done this illegally anyway. Shame the iView app isn’t available for Android though…

  15. Scott
    28 Aug 12
    12:58 pm

  16. The contrast between the forward-thinking ABC and the deplorably behind News Ltd/Kim Williams in regards to the globalisation of content (and the simple ways to discourage piracy by making content available quickly), could not be more stark.

    Yet another reason why the public broadcaster is so valuable.

  17. Cathie McGinn
    28 Aug 12
    12:58 pm

  18. Hi Lesley,

    As we mention in the piece, ABC1 will be airing it on the following Saturday.


    Cathie- Mumbrella

  19. Lesley
    28 Aug 12
    1:03 pm

  20. Thanks Cathie
    I read the article 3 times trying to find it without noticing.
    I think I need new eyes :)
    Cheers…. Lesley

  21. Jacob Hodgman
    28 Aug 12
    1:22 pm

  22. Thanks Aunty. Good to see you’ve sorted the wibbly-wobbly from the timey- wimey. Time for the other networks to get out of the past. Where’s the Doctor when you need him?

  23. Jacob Hodgman
    28 Aug 12
    1:22 pm

  24. Oh, that’s right – he’s on iView!

  25. Shamma
    28 Aug 12
    1:27 pm

  26. Let’s not forget the ABC doesn’t have to worry about ratings or revenue so they have a luxury that no commercial broadcaster has. If 7/10/9/Foxtel were government fully funded they’d probably do the same thing.

    I think what the ABC is doing is great but they’re operating in a different reality to the commercial guys.

  27. Jacob Hodgman
    28 Aug 12
    1:42 pm

  28. Shamma, the commercial networks have way more money than the ABC. Are you saying it is a regulatory matter? Regardless, the comm nets will have to respond if they want to keep up. Is Howzat available to view online today? I actually don’t know, but I do know that if it was on ABC it would be.

  29. Macsmutterings
    28 Aug 12
    1:43 pm

  30. YAY means I will get to see my sisters handwork even sooner, she is the editor, so please lots of positive comments about how well edited it is 😉

  31. AdGrunt
    28 Aug 12
    1:58 pm

  32. Shamma – what is your point?

    A public broadcaster run on a shoestring can deliver more innovative, relevant and desirable viewing experiences that 7 / 9 / 10?

    It’s kinda embarrasing for FXT and their commercial chums I agree, but this “different reality” is not in the ABC’s favour.

  33. Shamma
    28 Aug 12
    2:32 pm

  34. @Jacob … not about the money they have, but their purpose. Commercial stations exist solely to make money, so this drives decisions. ABC doesn’t have to worry about that so it has a different mode of thinking driving its decisions.

  35. But what about HD??
    28 Aug 12
    3:29 pm

  36. The problem is iView is such crap picture quality at 360p. When will ABC increase its picture quality like Netflix, Hulu, Apple — etc? Until then , there is no incentive to watch it legally on iView when yo ucan download the 720p version on bittorrent

  37. Anne-Marina
    28 Aug 12
    4:22 pm

  38. Clever, clever, clever ABC. It’s about time this became the case across the board – I know I have no intention of waiting however long the FTA networks want before I get to see my favourite shows.

  39. Richard
    31 Aug 12
    2:33 pm

  40. This is brilliant, look forward to more of this in the future.
    The quality on Iview is fine as far as I’m concerned , I like HiDef as much as the next bloke but with only 3g internet available to us it’s nice that we can stream Iview without eating up all our monthly quota.

  41. AdGrunt
    3 Sep 12
    2:16 pm

  42. Commercial stations make money broadly by providing an engaging and relevant viewing experience that they then monetise via advertising.

    There would appear to be a strong, niche group that are keen to watch this “quicker-on-the-internet” – and where there’s a will, there’s money to be made.