Screen Australia boss points to ad-funded streaming models as future for industry

The chief operating officer of Screen Australia has argued the entry of Netflix, Stan and Presto has fundamentally changed the Australian screen industry but has questioned if there is enough room for all three operators.


L:R Russel Howcroft, Fiona Cameron, Sarah Snook, Tom Ballard, Jenni Tosi, Holly Hines, Dana Brunetti

Speaking on a special Q&A panel at the Screen Forever conference in Melbourne Fiona Cameron, chief operating officer of Screen Australia, said: “The question is will SVOD change our world? It already has.

“There are 1.5m subscribers to Netflix in a year. That is extraordinary. It has rocked out world and there is now Netflix, Presto and Stan, would you put your money on all three of them being here in 12 months? No you wouldn’t.”

Cameron also argued that catch up and the TV network’s multichannels needed more focus as there were big opportunities there.

“What are the opportunities? I think one of the biggest opportunities is AVOD – advertising video on demand and the advertising model,” she said.

“We have a whole heap of mutlichannels have you watched them lately? I mean honestly, the opportunity and potential there and if you think about how much money was invested in Stan, to be controversial what if that had gone on a multichannel?

“What a competitive advantage it would have been it that had been on free TV.”

President of Trigger Street Productions Dana Brunetti said the dominance of SVOD was inevitable telling the room: “Eventually everybody is going to be streaming that way in conjunction with traditional media because it is about giving the audience what they want.

“It will transition to SVOD but it traditional networks aren’t going to be completely taken over but a big chunk is going to be taken out of them – a big chunk already has but they are starting to adapt.”

Network Ten’s Russel Howcroft argued television, as a medium, was failing to adequately sell its message of what it can do for businesses in terms of delivering a message to mass audiences.

“99.5 per cent of Australian homes have got at least one television set and 14.5m of them watch television every single day,” said Howcroft. “The great thing about that is when they are watching it is linear and you can’t fastforward the ads.

“I think the TV industry needs to work a lot harder at actually promoting the commercial benefits of commerce on television. It is the mass medium that creates demand, creates sales and that is in all our interests to promote big advertisers spending big money.”

“We need revenue successful TV networks because if they are successful then they will spend that money on making shows.”

Nic Christensen 


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