Inside the Foxtel factory

Having been at the launch of Foxtel’s new season the other night, nine points occur…  

1  Transmedia content

First, their Brisbane teen drama Slide, or SLiDE as they’d prefer to know it.

It features a young, unknown cast (a Skins for Brisbane?). It’s interesting because it’s being created by Playmaker Media as a multi-platform story from the beginning. Much as I find “transmedia” a painfully wanky term, this could be one of the first genuine examples of a story that works as hard off air as it does on TV.

2 – Brand integration

Still with Slide, most interesting is the lengths they are going to in order to involve brands – including suspending production until the sponsors are tied up so that they can be properly integrated. There are some potential case studies there.

3 – The rapid rise of Shine

Considering that this production house is less than a year old in Australia, it’s dominance is alrerady impressive. As well as a video from UK-based boss Elisabeth Murdoch, its local CEOs Mark and Carl Fennessy were in attendance. Taking on production of  Masterchef, Seven’s Minute To Win it, Ten’s Don’t Stop Believing would seem like a big enough deal, but there are two big pieces for Foxtel too – Dating In the Dark and Got To Dance, which was definitely the centrepiece of the launch.

4 – Local content

Spirited, the romantic drama with Claudia Karvan on W, looks like a high quality local production (albeit one that I’d be willing to do a lot to avoid – but that’s just my taste).

5 – Beyond bogans

The potential cult following is going to go with Kalgoorlie Cops, which will air on the Crime & Investigation Network. Kalgoorlie Cops got a pretty brief appearance during the night’s sizzle reel but one of the biggest reactions from the audience. Hookers and cops in a frontier town looks like a winning formula – and very possibly one worth a second run on free TV later if it’s as entertaining as it looks.

6 – The next cricket star?

Cricket Superstar looks like a good twist on the Football Superstar franchise.

7 – The announcement that wasn’t made

As we report elsewhere, adland comedy drama 30 Seconds hasn’t been recommissioned. A shame – I was a big fan.

8 – Controversy corner

And the series with the potential to generate more controversy than viewers is Balls of Steel on The Comedy Channel, if it’s as risk-taking as the early days of its British parent.

9 – Luvvies?

The one with the potential to go either way is The People Speak. There are US and UK versions of actors giving some of the greatest speeches in histopry to a live audience. So much depends on who they use for the Australian version. Matt Newton doing Kevin Rudd’s departure as PM? (which is hypothetical on my part) No thanks.

Tim Burrowes


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