Cutting the cord on free to air dross in favour of online viewing

Paul Cotton hasn’t plugged in his TV aerial in three years. This is a topic content makers and advertisers need to address for their continued
survival, he says.

At first it was a matter of inconvenience. I simply didn’t have the right cable and going out to buy one was easy to forget. Looking back, that was the first indication something had changed. Eventually someone got me a cable but it was too short. I could have moved the TV but I didn’t.

After musing about why I didn’t bother, I came to the conclusion that when it comes to TV, there is nothing I want to watch. The interesting is outnumbered by the dross and I simply don’t care enough. And I am not alone. Nielsen data indicates viewing video online has recently edged above the numbers watching TV. This change has been in the works for years and the behaviour is starting to surface outside early adopters. Where once we were chained to channels and schedules, now we are free.

Advertisers are coming to the realisation TV ads are expensive and increasingly less effective, not to mention a depressing trust rating of 24 per cent, again, according to Nielsen. However, content is still being consumed and at ever-increasing rates. The time to shift models is nigh and while no-one is entirely sure what the new model will be, old ways of thinking won’t help much.

Sites like Curvio that show viewers where to get the ring Blair was wearing in episode 24, season five of Gossip Girl are giving us ideas. So are partnerships like the one between the MTV Awards and Shazam where on-air messaging prompted viewers to use Shazam to find out more about, and buy, tracks as they played on-screen.

There are still ways to get your message out and your product sold. But now it’s about seamless experiences, consumer opt-in, and extra choice. I’m not the first person to completely unplug from the networks and I won’t be the last. The question is, when will you and what are networks and advertisers going to do about it?

Paul Cotton is a social media strategist at Salmat Digital. Find him on Twitter as @tali3sin.

This feature first appeared in the July edition of Encore magazine. To download it for free from the App Store, click here.


  1. Bob Loblaw
    30 Jul 12
    11:16 am

  2. “Nielsen data indicates viewing video online has recently edged above the numbers watching TV.”
    So more people are watching TV online than via traditional FTA TV? I haven’t seen the figures and don’t pay that much attention to ratings but there is no way in a billion years this is true.

  3. willemrt
    30 Jul 12
    11:39 am

  4. I “cut the cord” years ago. Although my flatmate has plugged the arial back in a while ago, I can honestly say I would watch less than 30 minutes of “live TV” a month, and that’s likely to be ABC News 24.

    There are just so many other options, and I get them legally when I can. I subcribe to netflix, a VPN so I can get Netflix in Australia, and heavily use iView, and the catch up sites in australia for you know.. watching The Shire (interestingly no ads online, which is a little sad)

    I also had Foxtel on XBox, twice, but they fill it so full of crap in an attempt to up-sell you that there is zero point in paying $30+ because its so hard to find the content you paid for. Twice I have deleted that after a month.

    Combine that with the easy access of torrents and illegal streams, and its easier than ever to get the content you want.

    I would prefer to pay, but the content owners still haven’t woken up.

    The big question I have, is why doesn’t Freeview have an app/website where all TV networks show their wares (similar to iView but for all)? That would actually make those networks relevant for years to come.

    But instead, they are letting everyone else slowly but surely eat their lunch.

  5. archie
    30 Jul 12
    11:45 am

  6. just another social media kid who is out of touch with the mainstream populace

  7. Paul
    30 Jul 12
    12:05 pm

  8. Bob Loblaw, the numbers are indicative of any video being watched online. Not specifically “TV.” Apologies if that wasn’t clear enough :)

    Archie, this is more about being in touch with the future of the mainstream populace than the current.

  9. Paul
    30 Jul 12
    12:08 pm

  10. willemrt, ABC News 24 is actually a pretty good exception – especially in the case of a current disaster/etc. The immediacy of being able to turn the TV on and be updated in those situations is a boon, but there’s usually a stream online as well.

  11. Tom
    30 Jul 12
    12:14 pm

  12. What a twonker… if the “advertising is expensive” as he suggests and people want to watch everything ad free on their computer or device, who is going to pay for the original content production?? Subscribers… I think not. Nice haircut… looks like there is something else you haven’t done in three years

  13. Scott Rhodie
    30 Jul 12
    12:25 pm

  14. I set myself up a US iTunes account and haven’t look back since. Grab most of the latest movies and buy the TV shows that I want to watch.

  15. Paul
    30 Jul 12
    12:41 pm

  16. Tom, this is exactly the problem I’m pointing out. Is the solution subscribers? It does seem unlikely. New thinking needs to be applied.

  17. Paul
    30 Jul 12
    12:52 pm

  18. Scott, I’d be curious to know what your average monthly viewing cost is (if you’re happy to divulge). VPN + streaming or downloadable episode/movie purchases/rentals, that kind of thing.

  19. Simon Davey
    30 Jul 12
    1:17 pm

  20. I think a lot of these comments really need to finish with “and get off my lawn!”

  21. jean cave
    30 Jul 12
    1:23 pm

  22. Sensibly Australia has no TV Licence fee. This UK organisation has not/will not accept that I haven’t owned a TV for over forty years.

  23. James
    30 Jul 12
    1:23 pm

  24. Millions of people still routinely watch FTA in a manner that still overwhelmingly makes it dominant. But the phenomenal success of iView has changed that dramatically – I’m still shocked that the other FTA’s have terrible online video options.

    Channel 10’s in particular, is horrific.

  25. jimbo
    30 Jul 12
    1:54 pm

  26. would like to see the actual source of the Nielsen data… seems hard to believe

  27. Julian
    30 Jul 12
    2:29 pm

  28. This article is just full of buzz words, misleading statements and over generalisations, seemingly based only upon the writers first hand experiences.

    Where is the proof that TV is becoming less effective? You say that people are turning off their sets, but what have you got to back that up? I could go on and on.

  29. archie
    30 Jul 12
    2:35 pm

  30. well Paul that doesn’t help me as i’m tasked with advertising to today’s population who for at least the next X many years will vastly prefer FTA TV v online media

    i suppose we should expect a degree of bias in online opinion pieces but god i’m getting tired of reading the naive, partially-formed views of very inexperienced media newbies craving their 5 minutes of fame via social media and trade sites like Mumbrella

    before boldly proclaiming that the future is this, that or the other, i wish you’d spend a few more years listening and learning rather than arrogantly presuming that you and your keyboard warrior geek friends “geddit’ but most other people don’t.

    John Q Citizen and his 5m strong baby boomer cohort don’t give a flying fuck about Curvio

  31. SpryCorpse
    30 Jul 12
    3:28 pm

  32. I rely on free to air television for sport and nothing else.
    Other content I download to watch when and where I like.

    I fully agree that the vast majority of free to air content is uninteresting. And for those few programs that are quality it is tiresome to try to follow or second guess when the networks will air the shows, what episodes will be skipped or shown out of order, etc.
    Not to mention that some of the best shows are not shown on any free to air network in Australia at all.

  33. John Grono
    30 Jul 12
    4:16 pm

  34. Paul, could you please point me at the specific Nielsen research that “indicates viewing video online has recently edged above the numbers watching TV”.

    I am aware of Nielsen CSV data that pegs total online usage exceeding TV viewing for ONLINE Australians. Of course this research is conducted online and is claimed usage rather than measured/metered usage across the entire population.

    I am unaware of any reputable data that places online video viewing above that of TV viewing. Some data I have seen but is not released puts online video viewing at around 5-6 hours per month per active online user. This compares with around 3 1/4 hours TV viewing per person (all Australians) per day. In other words, online video viewing in a month is slightly less than two days of TV, and if you factor in that not everyone is online in a month, and of those not all of them consume video, then it is probably closer to equivalent of around a single day’s TV viewing.

    Feel free to use these data in developing your media strategies.

  35. awesome
    30 Jul 12
    4:59 pm

  36. mate, I couldn’t agree more. I hate FTA TV, I download everything and have a hard drive hooked up to my flatscreen. The Aust. masses are far to lazy and ignorant to embrace this yet, but change is a comin. Why would anyone want to have it dicated to them what they can watch and when. And I download for free now, but I would be happy to pay for the shows I love if that was an option. The writing is on the wall…

  37. KP
    30 Jul 12
    5:34 pm

  38. A lot of you folk appear to have no grip on the future of traditional TV or FTA as we know it. How sharp is your take on technology and its already proven ability? Be honest with yourselves. Additionally, ask your family and friends how much live TV they watch or do they play catch-ups via the many sources at a time more convenient. If they record their favourite show, again to watch a time more convenient, do they skip the TVCs — umm, yes I bet they do! Also you can be guaranteed most of these viewers are sitting couchside with their tablets and smartphones participating in ‘smart TV’ (yep, another buzz word) whilst they chat about said show on Twitter and Facebook. Less and less participation is focussed on commercials.

    I don’t agree with Paul that TVCs are less effective, especially in creative or content but they are definitely performing less than the same manner they did in previous years. Where Paul is correct is here – “but now it’s about seamless experiences, consumer opt-in, and extra choice”. Ahh yes, “extra choice” – the optimum message. Because nowadays we actually have a choice when to watch.

    Yes, @awesome…the writing is on the wall.

  39. John Grono
    30 Jul 12
    7:07 pm

  40. KP, whether they watch ‘live’ or ‘catch-up’ is pretty irrelevant. We have systems that can differentiate. We’re also close to tracking IPTV. The key issue is the content and the source. If someone watching a commercial broadcast in catch-up skips the ads then we know that (in the panel). The programme ratings are discounted for that and the ad-ratings are zero.

    And if the writing is on the wall – how do you explain that TV viewing (live + catch-up) is increasing?

  41. jean cave
    30 Jul 12
    7:52 pm

  42. Or maybe TV production companies need to rethink somewhat.
    One Suggestion . . condense everything down to twenty minutes tops per programme.

  43. Tom
    31 Jul 12
    7:34 am

  44. Paul you were not pointing out any problem you were assuming that your personal behaviour are the same as that of the masses…the biggest mistake any ‘strategist’ can make

  45. Fred
    31 Jul 12
    12:19 pm

  46. The thrust of the article is correct even if it is a bit lightweight.

    A large proportion of people watch illegally downloaded content (I could tell you how many but I’d have to kill you – it’s plenty) . No ads, watched whenever you want, straight on the 60″ plasma basically hours after it’s screened in the US or elsewhere.

    No waiting for some network to schedule it at inappropriate times then pull it after 3 weeks, or shift it to the “new time” of 1am. No waiting months, sometimes years, or never, to see it. The user controls the experience now.

    Does this affect TV ratings and advertising revenue? You betcha. And it’s only going to get worse. Legal online content is a way to get around it – but the content providers are stoically, but stupidly, hanging on the the old business model.

    I’d be interested to see the HUT figures now and say 5 yrs ago. Reckon it’s quite different.

  47. Jim
    31 Jul 12
    12:58 pm

  48. Television only has itself to blame. Australia once an island at the bottom of the world is now linked into the global network..all is available. Since I threw out my TV I’ve never looked back, TV is just junk in this country..what should be produced never is and what is…I mean look at the utterly woeful and to think you might have to flick through ads to watch this garbage. If the content providers could just get rid of the old model and start engaging in a new one…you’d find a lot less pirating going on..and a lot less whingeing. The people who run TV in this country should be lined up against a wall and pelted with fruit!

  49. John Grono
    31 Jul 12
    1:45 pm

  50. Jim, gotta say I was taken by your “if the content providers could just get rid of the old model …” statement.

    It is that very model that funds and underwrites the content production. All those producers, directors, writers, actors, cameramen, lighting people, set designers and builders, costume people etc etc all do this for a living and they have to be paid. And in order to pay their bills … they have to be paid up-front before any of this content hits the public.

    So, I’d be EXTREMELY interested in what you suggest this old model should be replaced with, because the “I want everything to be top-notch quality but I don’t want to pay anything for it” model looks pretty weak on paper.

  51. archie
    31 Jul 12
    3:28 pm

  52. John Grono has just eaten your lunch folks

  53. Me
    31 Jul 12
    4:40 pm

  54. ‘“I want everything to be top-notch quality but I don’t want to pay anything for it” model looks pretty weak on paper.’

    ABC. BBC. Ironsky, Netflix. Spotify. Promobay.

    There’s other successful models. Commercial TV is premised on very old technology. Not that surprising that it would go the way of film photography, is it?

  55. Bernie
    31 Jul 12
    5:17 pm

  56. This isn’t a new argument. Henry Blodget is saying the same thing over on Business Insider.
    Online viewing is the future and the tv stations are about to face the same challenges as print media. Everyone under 40 has figured out iTunes/Torrent/YouTube.

  57. Andrew Bolt & Gina Rineharts Lovechild
    31 Jul 12
    5:17 pm

  58. @JohnGrono – Mate we are all screwed. Putting aside the tedious rude and sanctimonious ways that technology edge cases use when explaining to us muggles how stupid we all are – they kind of have a point.

    It’s the same eye rolling you get when any non internet media is discussed. Newspapers, books, magazines, TV, Cinema, Radio It’s all dead.

    What actually concerns me more than anything else is that the porn industry has yet to find an answer. At any point in history if you wanted to see what future media consumption would look like you take a look at what the porn was doing at that point in time. VCR, DVD, Downloads etc. Porn was always the trailblazer.

    Problem is when you look to porn in the USA it’s doing one thing. Dying.

    Seriously. The bottom (lol) has fallen out of the market. When I asked around about it the overwhelming answer was that porn was being produced in eastern European countries, at close to zero cost. And all those porn companies in the valley are closing their doors. Literally.

    Best of times, worst of times. All that sort of stuff.

    But the good news is we have a whole bunch of social media experts to show us the future direction. Without a whiff of sanctimony. Oh sorry. That was sarcasm. Wasn’t meant to come out.

  59. Greg
    31 Jul 12
    5:24 pm

  60. When we moved 2.5 years ago it was diifcult to hook up the antenna, so we didn’t. We have a Linux media computer hooked up to the plasma. We watch Mad Men/Breaking Bad/The Killing etc within a few hours of them being broadcast in the USA.

    I got stuck in a hotel room last year and watched a movie on FTA and could not believe how many ads there were, and what a pain it was to watch a movie like that. We have a normal broadband connection, we don’t have foxtel or anything like it, and we find plenty to watch just downloading from the Interwebs. Our kids don’t watch FTA, they download.

    This is the future. Its so easy to download. The only people in the medium term future watching FTA are going to be the ones that are not tech-savvy, and you don’t have to be very tech savvy to download.

    I would not invest in a TV station, with their current attitudes, they are doomed.

  61. John Grono
    31 Jul 12
    6:48 pm

  62. Fred, you asked about HUTs, so here are the last 10 years – 2003 up to yesterday (and I thought I’d throw in the more meanigful PUTs):

    2003 22.7 13.3
    2004 22.4 13.0
    2005 22.9 13.2
    2006 23.6 13.4
    2007 23.8 13.2
    2008 23.7 13.1
    2009 23.6 12.7
    2010 23.5 13.1
    2011 23.5 13.2
    2012 23.3 13.2

    So, as you can see, pretty flat. 2009 is the interesting year because that was the last year of ‘live TV only’ ratings and from 2010 onwards it’s basically static. There is no evidence of television viewing as a total falling off a cliff. But what IS happening is that this pretty static quantum of viewing is being split across many more channels – hence the perception that TV viewing as a whole is declining.

    And ‘Me’. Just to clarify. The ABC is funded to the tune of over a billion dollars of Australian taxpayers money per annum. Similarly, the BBC is funded by an annual television licence fee. The other entities you cite are content aggregators. That is, they (generally) pay a small fee to licence the streaming of the content and hope to turn a profit on the advertsiing income or membership fees. To the best of my knowledge none of these sites generate their own content.

    What you are confusing is the distribution methodology (i.e. downloading vs. broadcast vs. subscriptione etc.) with the content creation financial model. TV channels generate a lot of ad revenue which they use to either commission content or acquire content. If they commission/create that content they then on-sell it to other countries to amortise the upfront costs.

    So if we take it as read the “television IS doomed”, then unless the NetFlix, PromoBay and Pirate Bay’s of the world step up and start funding the CREATION of content then they too are doomed as they won’t have any (worthwhile/broadcast quality) content available to download. Oh … of course we could rely on UGC (yet more cats on keyboards), or maybe the pixies at the bottom of the garden are going to create and provide the content.

  63. Downloader
    31 Jul 12
    10:26 pm

  64. @ John Grono

    Re: “So if we take it as read the “television IS doomed”, then unless the NetFlix, PromoBay and Pirate Bay’s of the world step up and start funding the CREATION of content then they too are doomed as they won’t have any (worthwhile/broadcast quality) content available to download. Oh … of course we could rely on UGC (yet more cats on keyboards), or maybe the pixies at the bottom of the garden are going to create and provide the content.”

    I have just finished a two hour session on YouTube watching people making various types of handcrafted wooden things. One bloke has had over 2million views and next to his vid, which lasted for around 7 mins, was an advert for Bamboo Furniture, by an Aussie company. I have never seen this business advertise on mainstream television. Their advert was highly targeted.

  65. Andrew Smith
    1 Aug 12
    2:11 am

  66. This was common knowledge in the UK and Europe 5+ years ago…… helped by cheaper faster internet, many more “channels” for content versus FTA…… and as an ad agency opined to Private Eye, “we used to be able to state quite certainly we can access mass of x eyeballs watching y channel on FTA (+cable/satellite)”, now all dispersing ……

  67. Me
    1 Aug 12
    8:35 am

  68. None of the top media companies today fund content. Why does content have to be funded via a legacy model? You’d also have to argue pretty hard to convince me the content that IS funded by the commercial TV industry is worth saving.

    Spout your own statistics all you like, ratings and revenues are obviously collapsing.

    Why are you so passionate about this, John? Do you have a vested interest in reversing the declines in the commercial TV industry?

  69. John Grono
    1 Aug 12
    10:17 am

  70. Me, do you REALLY believe that NONE of the top media companies fund content? Heard of Underbelly? You really should catch it sometime. It was world class and cost a pretty penny. I won’t bother listing any more if you haven’t heard of or seen Underbelly (No, I don’t work for Nine – I am an independent media researcher with a passion for facts)..

    Full disclosure: my wife is an independent kids TV producer. Yes, she does call on local broadcasters for up-front funding for programmes. Her current project is 100% overseas funded.

    But why am I so passionate? Simply because I like facts. I like empirical evidence. Facts such as total TV usage is basically ‘flat’ over the last decade (as happens with mature industries). Yes TV revenues were down 3.6% last year (per CEASA) in a market that was also down amid the current economic climate.

    Anyone that knows me will know that I am hardly one to shun new technology and innovation, or to defend the status quo for the sake of it. I also understand the great attraction in the ‘free’ model, but I also seriously doubt its sustainability on the following principles (i) content is king (ii) content costs (iii) the ‘free’ model is simply not generating sufficient revenue (probably Google aside) to complete the virtuous circle, and (iv) consumers appetite to pay for content appears to be non-existent to date.

    Now may I ask why your are so avid in your prognostications of doom for the television industry?

  71. John Grono
    1 Aug 12
    10:47 am

  72. Downloader … were all the wooden things bongs? Sounds like a sure-fire ratings winner to me. Top ‘n’ tail with The Shire maybe?

  73. Downloader
    1 Aug 12
    11:07 am

  74. @ John Grono

    Hi John,

    Rather a bizarre statement that was? RE: “were all the wooden things bongs?”

    I was actually captured by the amazing woodworking talent of various people, scattered around the globe. From building log cabins, to furniture.

    I frequently take to YouTube (as do many others, what with it being the 2nd most searched website on the planet) to resource, learn and indeed escape. I used to escape on free to air TV, however what with the non stop ad breaks I have truly cut my exposure to it. The SBS evening news is great, as are many programmes by the ABC.

  75. Conflicted
    1 Aug 12
    2:20 pm

  76. @ John Grono.

    I hope your’re not this John Grono (, or you might want to add a little addendum to your previous post on “Full Disclosure”. I’d expect that Chair of the ASTRA Research committee is a little bit more of a conflict than a wife being a TV producer.

    Just say’n

  77. John Grono
    1 Aug 12
    2:53 pm

  78. Yes, that is me ‘Conflicted’. Yes I am a media researcher. I consult to ASTRA and the MFA on any and all aspects of audience measurement.

    And on Mumbrella I am dicussing funding models that will produce broadcast quality content.

    Would you prefer that I hide behind a made-up name? Or maybe not have my credentials on LinkedIn or on the MFA website?

    Or does being ‘in the know’ preclude me from my opinion.

    And perchance you would be ….

  79. Tom
    1 Aug 12
    3:17 pm

  80. What is unbelievable is the amount of debate that this poorly written, researched and narrow perspective piece could create

  81. drovers cat
    1 Aug 12
    3:44 pm

  82. If someone came to my door, shouting at me, generally berating my choice in everything from food to cars to clothing, while also inferring I wasn’t who they wanted to talk to anyway because i wasn’t some couch-slouching fast food-eating VB drinking bogan I would tell them to piss off or worse.
    So why in hell would i invite such people into my living room via a screen?

  83. Conflicted
    1 Aug 12
    4:02 pm

  84. @ John Grono….

    Have no problem with any of that, or even open, honest debate.

    Only issue is being critical about others lack of facts and data then making a statement on personal conflict (presumably aimed at establishing trust and credibility), but neglecting to mention a very clear and direct conflict.

    I still thank that CHAIR OF ASTRA’S RESEARCH COMMITTEE is a slightly bigger conflict than merely “consulting” to ASTRA and the MFA

    My identity is irrelevant, as I have made no claims to being conflicted or otherwise, that would make identity a relevant issue.

    Have to agree with @Tom though….. amazed at the level of debate on this topic.

    I am now going to watch TV…….well, listening to TV while watching YouTube on my iPad. 8)

  85. Scott Rhodie
    1 Aug 12
    4:16 pm

  86. Paul – I spend an average of $150 a month of buying the content that I want to watch. No VPN needed if you set up a US iTunes account and link it to your Apple TV. Just update with cards from a service like Jerry Cards.

    I do use the TunnelBear VPN for $5 a month which lets me access BBC iPlayer as if I was from the UK which is also excellent.

    Still want to get Netflix. I’ve seen a work around but haven’t had a chance to play with it yet.

  87. John Grono
    1 Aug 12
    4:32 pm

  88. Fair enough Conflicted. I’ll take you at your word on your identity being irrelevant.

    FYI, on behalf of the MFA I also work with the IAB, Outdoor Media Association, OzTAM, RegTAM,Commercial Radio Australia, The Readership Works, the Audit Bureaux of Australia and Val Morgan, to advance their media audience measurement. Interestingly, none of those bodies have raised the issue of conflict over the past decade which is why I didn’t on Mumbrella. But as you say we’re all entitled to our opinion. (By the way you need an IPTV – much simpler – and I recommend the Samsung).

  89. Greg
    1 Aug 12
    5:07 pm

  90. There has been many comments stating that downloading/torrents is no business model for the production of television. That is right, its no business model for high paid TV execs and “stars” with bloated salaries. The music industry is doing great with many less high paid recording industry execs. The newspaper industry is shedding its high paid staff as it nears extinction. The itunes model has replaced the record industry. Blogs (like mumbrella) and other online publishing are doing a better job than the newspapers they are gradually replacing. It will be the same with TV. Breaking Bad (great show) is reputed to cost $1 million dollars an episode to make. The world is full of aspiring actors/directors/scriptwriters, why does it cost $1 million to make an episode of TV?

    I see a future, maybe it will take 10 years or more, where independents will make TV series, just like independents make music CDs now, and write blogs. They will make TV episodes for $10,000 an episode not $1 million. They will use cheap digital cameras, cheap computers, and cheap actors/directors/scriptwriters who will do anything for fame. They will sell their “TV” episodes on iTunes or the equivalent, and most will not make any money, and lots will be dross, but some will be very good and they will go from strength to strength. The free to air TV industry is doomed, just like newspapers and the record industry. Entertainment will be outsourced, and we will have even more choice than we do today, and it will be cheaper.

  91. Andrew Bolt & Gina Rineharts Lovechild
    1 Aug 12
    5:43 pm

  92. @Greg.

    Luckily you hit the nail on the head. The problem is not the business model. It’s overpaid executives. Couple of points though.

    1. TV is expensive to produce. $250k an hour in Oz, $1M an hour in the US. And it’s not salaries. It’s trucks, makeup, closing streets, camera crews, post production. If people producing drama could do it cheaper they would. Hence a lot of US stuff shot in vancouver. But whatever. Don’t use incorrect numbers to make your argument. Moving pictures are very expensive to make.

    2. The music industry is certainly NOT doing well from the internet. You are misguided if you think things are better for emerging artists in the world of the internet. Google “plays on spotify to make minimum wage”. Don’t use that as an example. Things are simply not better.

    3. Every made a TV show? It’s not you and three mates with a fooken handicam. A lot of people may try to make a TV show. Once.

    The fact is torrents are a great technology and an excellent distribution platform. But it’s not a business model. It’s a website that sells some banner ads.

    Now if you had been a tad less patronising and said, “The future of television is peer to peer distributed content with fans directly funding artists they respect. Imagine taking the kickstarter model and allowing (say) Quentin Tarantino to reach out on kickstarter and say “If 5M people pledge $20 for the movie you will get free tickets to the opening and a copy of the script.”. That way everyone would win. Content would be funded up front and fans would get what they want. You caould apply the same scalable logic to collingwood supporters or V8 fanatics.”

    Would have respected that.

  93. big ears
    1 Aug 12
    5:43 pm

  94. Greg, you may need need a 3 day spa weekend at the Hotel Reality. Although that might be commercial for you.

  95. KP
    1 Aug 12
    6:23 pm

  96. Quick question:
    I don’t expect everybody to reveal their identity, however out of interest I’d like to know the age of our audience here. I’ll start, I’m 40 and female.

  97. Downloader
    1 Aug 12
    8:15 pm

  98. Great points raised re the execs and middle men being phased out.

    It is happening in music so quickly.

    A couple of reasons is the pure reach of social, which have introduced previously niche audiences segregated country by country to one massive global audience. (Niche genres of music.) The artists / dj’s / producers etc are as a result, raking it in.

    Gigs are the way to earn, however also (in some music genres) the fans buy the tunes out of respect for the artist who reaches out to them personally on facey and twitter…

    kind of…

  99. Downloader
    1 Aug 12
    8:16 pm

  100. Cont’d:
    – Sorry, versus downloading for free

  101. Anonymous
    2 Aug 12
    9:28 am

  102. @Greg: Right now, there ARE TV shows being made for less than even $1000 an episode. It’s the 10min ones on youtube made with handcams – y’know, the ones with the fuzzy video, distorted sound and stark ambience.

    Actor/executive salaries are only a minor part of the costs.

  103. Fred
    2 Aug 12
    9:58 am

  104. Me
    2 Aug 12
    10:41 am

  105. “Great points raised re the execs and middle men being phased out.”

    It’s happening all over and aren’t they squealing.

    The internet has exposed enormous waste and puff in nearly every industry, most notably those parasites who managed to insert themselves between creators/producers and audience/consumers.

    The middle-men curse is particularly noticeable in Australia, where for years redistributers of everything from Doc Martin Boots to video games have been gouging the punters.

    Music, TV and Film aren’t collapsing – they’re much more vibrant, accessible and varied media than two decades ago. What is collapsing are the bloat industries and localised oligopolies that exploited them.

    Good riddance.

  106. Fred
    2 Aug 12
    12:29 pm

  107. Anonaswell
    2 Aug 12
    12:55 pm

  108. Anonymous (9:28am) – name me ONE show that has been shown on TV (here in Australia) that was made for under $1,000 per episode. Yes there are online videos made for much less a grand but have ANY ever been shown on TV.

  109. Jonty
    2 Aug 12
    3:18 pm

  110. Sure, downloading shows illegally may not be a sustainable business model for content creators. Though last time I checked most of the TV content Australians consume is from the US and the UK. Commercial TV stations here are doomed, and Australian made content is going to be restricted to the ABC and Aussie Youtube stars like ChristiaanVanVuuren. If you don’t know ChristiaanVanVuuren you’re not paying enough attention to what’s going on.

  111. Rully Fick Sapper
    2 Aug 12
    4:00 pm

  112. Ummm … Jonty. So the stuff that the broadcasters buy from overseas has not been produced by a content creator (in that overseas country). You need to remove the myopia goggles and think this through.

    OK, so the likes of CVV, Natalie Tran etc. are producing some worthwhile content here. It’s not ‘scripted’, ‘directed’, ‘cast’, ‘produced’, ‘post-produced’ ‘sound-recorded’ etc. … but hey that’s OK. There are 8,760 hours in a year … that’s a big hole to fill! The logical extension of your ‘doom’ argument is that no ‘professional’ content will be produced anywhere in the world because of illegal downloads, and we’re restricted to YouTube and the like. While I like YouTube and such video sites as much (maybe a bit too much) than the next person it would be an incredible boring world if that was all we had. No Mad Men, The Network, Episodes etc.

  113. Andrew Smith
    2 Aug 12
    7:02 pm

  114. Turkey is an interesting case in point, something like 35+ FTA channels, obviously lacking funds for production, which is reflected in the content (or lack of) e.g. old, simple live formats etc.. However, as friend who has work commissioned by AXN/Sony says it brings great opportunities to smaller, more diverse and niche productions which are economic and reasonable quality vs top down big and expensive……

  115. Glenn Mabbott
    2 Aug 12
    11:16 pm

  116. I’ve been without TV now for 3 days. Can anyone tell me how to fast forward through the above 58 comments to get to a show worth watching?

  117. John Hollands
    3 Aug 12
    7:59 pm

  118. Hey folks,
    Whenever I buy a new shirt, I don’t have to throw out an old one, I just add to my wardrobe.

    Similarly, video DIDN”T kill the radio star, TV didn’t kill movies, subscription TV didn’t kill FTA, catchup TV is good, the Internet has not killed everything.

    They’ve all ADDED to the entertainment “wardrobe” and now we have so many more choices than when I was a kid – although Mickey Mouse Club is not on any more, nor “Have Gun, Will Travel”.

    People surely must consume more media now than at any time in history. Even King Henry could not listen to music anywhere, anytime.

    What we do now is SHIFT our consumption – old movies on Foxtel, or Youtube or catchup or downloaded to ipod, ipad or laptop.

    And we DOUBLE our consumption – I really cannot enjoy a movie without IMDB open in front of me. And I dislike movies that don’t stop: I like to pause and rewind. Devices that don’t offer this are annoying.

    My Grandmother and my Mother had ONE TV in the house. One. These days people have more than one, many people are building home theatres which would seem to combine many different flavours of media (smart TVs, DVDs, Foxtel…). The PATTERN of consumption has changed. My kids watch stuff on their games consoles. Some families have more than one Foxtel box so that different shows can be watched in different rooms.

    So very different from previous generations.

    Not to mention smart phones. So much more than Dick Tracy’s wristwatch radio (2-way radio).

    The media tide shifts.

    Not so long ago it was a big deal to have pictures on websites. Now it is common to see video and my prediction of HD video “one day” on the net is now true.

    It’s early days yet. Youtube offers movie rentals in some territories (not yet Oz), they are seeking production companies to develop web SERIES. They want to be “just like” a TV Network.

    We have – in just the last 12 months – been hired a number of times to produce content for internet companies. Including Google, iinet, myspace, facebook. Working directly for those companies.

    In all cases the content was offered for free to net users. In iinet’s case, it was offered only to iinet subscribers. But still free.

    TV killer? No. But a couple of events were net-only where once they would have been FTA. Others might never have found their way to TV and the Net offered an option for diversity (is there really only two sports in Australia on FTA???)

    In my view, advertisers are slow to change, they are fearful and nobody got fired for advertising on TV. Yet.

    An InfoMercial on Kerry-Anne’s show ran about six thousand dollars. What would that money buy online? How long would it last online, as compared with once on KAK? How many eyeballs and how tightly targeted could it be? I’d like to see figures for (say) timber furniture ads run alongside timber and woodworking videos on Youtube.

    The earlier example (woodworking vids with furniture ads) reminds me of the old classic: a real Estate Agent gets a phone call “Is this the maternity hospital?” – thinking fast he says “no, you have a wrong number, but may I interest you in a bigger house?”


    BTW I’ve bought and sold a few motorbikes online. Some eBay, the last BikePoint. Did I for a moment consider a classified in the newspaper? Are you crazy?

    We recruit staff through Seek and Gumtree, cast talent through Starnow, ModelMayhem and others, buy office supplies online. Doesn’t everybody?

    We no longer send VHS tapes by courier… etc etc etc

    In the future, CONTENT will still be King, and not only will it not matter where it comes from, it will not matter where you consume it, and you will not care.

    Some will be ad-supported, some will be brand-funded, some (not much) will be pay-per-view.

    I’m an old fart. I’m a Baby Boomer. Not only does my generation KNOW HOW to use cellphones and the like, we bloody well INVENTED them!!! It’s YOU KIDS who are letting us down by not producing personal jetpacks and personal hovering jetplanes like we promised ourselves.

    I wanna hang around to see that happens next, we’re about 5 minutes into the smartphone era and already it does unbelievable, marvellous things. I don’t know how it does stuff but I don’t care – it DOES stuff and that’s all I need to know.

    Same about future media. TV? Net? Don’t know, don’t care, shaddup, I’m watching.

  119. Cold Turkey
    4 Aug 12
    1:18 am

  120. This tune will earn the artist “undreds of faarrrsends” (re: no middle men…)

    See ya, old traditional business models…….!!!

  121. Greg
    4 Aug 12
    4:29 pm

  122. Here is the future. Youtube channels with 500,00 subscribers.
    No TV execs with bloated salaries involved in this one, and with ratings Australian FTA will never obtain.

  123. Craig
    5 Aug 12
    2:52 am

  124. The only TV ads I’ve seen in the last five years have been on The Gruen Transfer – watched via iView or the program’s site via laptop or iPad.

    My teenage kids haven’t seen a TV ad since they were eight and my daughter’s main viewing is Minecraft videos and gaming walkthroughs via YouTube, while my son’s favourite series is Red vs Blue (you won’t find this on FTA TV or pay TV).

    We have three TVs in our house, one for console gaming and two for DVDs and streamed video from the web. One has an antennae and picks up TV, but it only gets used for the ABC – and that rarely, maybe once a month at most.

    We don’t use our full broadband bandwidth allocation most months, it is about 500Gb for $60 – and we often have three video/online gaming streams going, one for each kid and one for my wife and me (when we’re not watching from our DVD collection as a family).

    Any TV series we want to watch we buy on DVD and watch as nature intended – ad free and back-to-back episodes. We don’t have PayTV.

    All our friends and their kids use TV in similar ways to us – for consoles and DVDs, maybe watching commercial news, a few favourite programs or sports live at most.

    I am happy to entertain the idea that millions of people are glued to their TVs every night after school and work, but I don’t see it where I live.

    The people in my community are busy with a range of non-screen and screen activities – going out or playing sport, reading & playing games, talking to each other (in person and online). When they seek screen entertainment they are downloading, watching DVDs or playing games.

    I see people in this thread saying that FTA TV remains strong. Well good luck to you.

    Keep in mind that denial is the first stage and that people who accept tracking boxes for their TV viewing have a monetary incentive to turn them on.

    Remember that Nielsen doesn’t make money if they don’t tell you what you want to hear (that there’s lots of TV eyeballs), and that ad agencies only make margins from TV ads if they recommend them.

    The TV industry is structured around showing people what they want to see – good ratings.

    Good luck with that. I have several seasons of my favourite shoes to catch up with on DVD and the Secret World to explore.

  125. Imat Watt
    21 Aug 12
    2:46 pm

  126. I note the extensive, and frankly, navel-gazing arguments here but have plenty of faith in the ability of the technoscienti to get exactly the light entertainment they feel like at any given time. Scott Rhodie has a US iTunes account, I use cross-border proxies like to watch programs from the US and UK, others may employ more piratical methods to torrent what they’re after. It’s all the same thing, people are willing to pay for content without the ads, or with reduced ads that have meaning to them.

    In the meantime we get these expensive, moronic “reality” shows that insult and demean both the viewer and the participant, all in the name of entertainment while the ABC, BBC, Comedy Central can find new ways to connect to their audience. Look at How Jon Stewart of the Daily Show offers special web exclusives of intelligent and humorous discussion of important issues. For free, online, with maybe a little Ad to help it along.

    To all who defend advertising as the saviour of television, I can only offer an invitation to you to watch my repeats of the same ad for cheap electronic dross at inflated prices yelled at me, often in loops within the same ad gap, erasing the last 13 minutes of programming they then have to waste three minutes to remind us of since the break was so annoying and distracting; I CANT REMEMBER WHAT I WAS WATCHING!.

    At home we discuss what we’d like to see over dinner, and I dig out permissible ways of seeing them, usually with the adblocker on my browser turned on. Whenever I watch television now I am amazed at the onslaught viewers have to sit through, all for a bit of light entertainment.

    Advertisers, get your Don Draper on and think up less annoying, more engaging ways to get out attention on your product without jumping into my Facebook.