Seven is about seven years too late

The Seven Media Group, who control the Seven television network in Australia, recently announced a partnership with TIVO to introduce digital video recorders into the Australian market. Those in the US and Canada will know about TIVO, the company having been offering digital television recording since the late 90s.

Tivos are suppose to revolutionise the Australian television industry because they will allow consumers to record television programmes and play them back at a later time. You know, like you used to do with VCRs and, now with, PVRs. The Australian industry has long resisted the introduction of digital recorders. They even sued to prevent the publishing of their programme guides. But now, with changing viewer habits and rapidly declining revenue streams Seven has been forced to act. Unfortunately, for Seven and the other networks, it’s too little too late.

The problem is that the Tivo is old tech. It was great when the networks were the only distribution system for your favourite television programme. However, now most tech-savvy fans download their shows from peer-to-peer sites, often years in advance of the shows been broadcast in Australia. Even better the downloads come sans commercials. And despite the measures of the MPAA and their ilk, this method of distribution only seems to be on the increase. Australia has the highest number of users per capita downloading tv shows in the world.

Commercial television is in a major flux. Audiences and subsequently revenues are declining across the board. It’s clear that what was once a cash-cow is now under serious threat. But for the most part the industry only has itself to blame. It has been slow to adopt new technologies and as a result consumers are looking elsewhere for their entertainment. The industry needs to completely re-educate and remodel itself otherwise it risks irrelevance.

About the Author: skribe

Based in Perth, Australia, Antonio Barimen (aka skribe) is a writer, digital media consultant and social media producer.

He is available to help you develop social marketing and digital media strategies, improving communication between staff, partners and suppliers or just increasing the number of fans on Facebook. He has developed successful digital and social media projects for clients including CBS, Evian, Procter & Gamble, Discovery Networks, Pernod Ricard and American Express.

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Post Under Advice June 25, 2008
  • When I worked at [major network affiliate] about 13 years back I tried to interest them in Internet, digital video, and web presence. The apathy was palpable, the insecurity (how can I keep my job if all this new stuff comes in?) and plain old bullshitting (“Well, they’ll never get the two standards to thrombambulise with the vertical retrace perfibrillator diodes so it’s just never going to happen”) was incredible. It’s taking time but they are now reaping the barren fruits of that hidebound attitude. And I say stuff them, they all deserve to go out of business, end up as a stuffed display in a museum somewhere, and be replaced by newer technology.

    Oh and all you guys at [major network affiliate] – (you know who you are) – I told you so back in ’95… Sucks dunnit?

  • I think this article demonstrates how out of touch the television industry is. They haven’t realised that the genie is out of the bottle and there is nothing they can do to put it back in.

  • And their last card – credibility in news delivery – they threw away long ago to promote the views of their owners and/or to get their political party of choice in office.