ABC announces plans to commercialise archives on iView as it reveals 2014 slate

Richard Finlayson

Richard Finlayson

The ABC plans to commercialise its video on demand platform iView by making archived content available to buy in 2014 it revealed at the ABC upfront event in Sydney last night.

Richard Finlayson, director of television for the ABC, said the plans were based on feedback from viewers who want to view previous series after accessing free content on the platform.

Currently viewers can only access current series on iView and are directed to the iTunes store to purchase previous series.

“We’re going to solve that problem and make past series available on iView in a transactable way, working with ABC Commercial, making it easy and convenient without leaving the iView application,” Finlayson said.

“And then we’ll work on making the whole ABC archive and library available to all audiences in Australia and I think that’s exactly the right place for the ABC to be.”

The platform, which had a record 19m program plays in October and 150m between January and October this year, will also be relaunched with a fresh interface and improved search engine.

A new Australian series will also be released in its entirety on the platform, with all episodes being made available online at the time of the launch of the show.

“We will continue to lead the market in video on demand through iView as we keep rolling and evolving it,” Finlayson added.”Everybody wants to binge and watch the box set in a digital way, so we will be offering our viewers the chance to binge one of our major Australian commissions all at once from episode one on iView hopefully in first quarter of 2014.”

For the first time the ABC will also premiere two new series on iView: Fresh Blood, a sketch comedy initiative, and Wastelander Panda, a drama featuring a warrior panda who leads an orphaned girl across a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

More new shows planned for the public broadcaster include the first TV series from the Bondi Hipsters, Soul Mates, on ABC2, a kung-fu comedy from Laurence Leung, Maximum Choppage, and a new show from the Chaser team, We’ll Have to Leave it There.

The Moodys will also be back in 2014 as will Chris Lilley as Jonah, and Spicks and Specks, with new host comedian Josh Earl and Ella Hooper and Adam Richard as team captains.

Dramas include the miniseries Anzac Girls, about young women who witnessed the war, The Code, linking a story in the outback to the corridors of Canberra, and Old School, starring Bryan Brown as a retired criminal and Sam Neill, a former cop.

The Working Dog team will also be back on ABC with a satirical comedy about the absurdity of government sponsored schemes, Utopia.

And factual programs include Afghanistan: The Australian War, Brilliant Creatures about remarkable Australians, and The Flying Miners, focussing on the unique lifestyle of fly-in fly out workers.

Many of the programs will be publicised during ABC1’s four hour coverage of the New Years’ Eve firework display from Sydney harbour.

Finlayson also announced a new media portal for ABC Tv – a one stop publicity shop where press kits and images will be available to download.

He said: “For us audience comes first, and they’ve loved us, frankly, in 2013. ABC1 has grown share more than any other network, we’ll finish the year as the number three network and it feels like a good comfy spot to be.

“ABC2 is bucking the trend, growing share and reach in the hardest audiences to reach of all, that’s the 18-49s. ABC Kids is the benchmark, the source, the absolute leader in children’s entertainment and iView is just a runaway and they keep smashing records. It really feels like the golden age of TV.”

Megan Reynolds


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