Cloudstreet to by-pass Free to Air

Showtime Australia last night held its Melbourne launch for Cloudstreet, its anticipated mini-series based on the novel by Tim Winton.

In attendance were Showtime execs Peter Rose and Kim Vecera, Screentime’s Des Monaghan and Greg Haddrick, director Matt Saville, cast and crew including Steve Curry and Geoff Morrell, Film Victoria representatives and media.

When the World Premiere airs later this month on Showcase, it will be exclusive to the channel with good reason. Showtime is rightfully proud of the production and believes the time devoted to producing the series would never have been matched by Free to Air’s furious production model.

Showtime CEO Peter Rose told TV Tonight there were no plans to screen the series later on Free to Air. And if Love My Way, Satisfaction and Tangle are anything to go by, he’ll hold fast to that promise.

Showtime is building its brand as Australia’s answer to HBO with quality productions designed to entice new subscribers. Add to that its US dramas Dexter, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, and the upcoming Game of Thrones -and it’s a tempting channel.

As a title that is permanently on school curriculums, Cloudstreet is set to be the jewel in the crown.

If you don’t have Pay TV act fast or pray the DVD is in your Christmas stocking.

It premieres on May 22nd.


  1. Shane Fisher

    Its not a sacred tome (from the mouth of Tim, or something to that affect), but it’s a bloody mystical journey that gives me shivers down my spine and I am jumping around my study in a blue fit the day before it screens, because I haven’t got pay tv (or any friends with pay tv). Oh the delicious wait for the DVD.

  2. Tony Gold says : A marvellous production achievement completed,by all those associated and involved.Sooner or later Cloudstreet will be there,eternally ..for all those wishing to view. In my opinion it will prove to be a classic among classics…that will remain forever in all our hearts.You fantastic Australians !

  3. Commissioning, funding and producing Cloudstreet took courage and vision – FTA, including the ABC is sadly lacking in these qualities. Cloudstreet has been around trying to get financed for years. Maybe FTA will wake up and realise the new battleground is premium content. Until then STV have got it all to themselves. Congratulations to them for bringing Cloudstreet to life!

  4. if this was on ABC, it would attrach an audience similar to Paper Giants, if not more. On Showcase, it will be lucky if it’s seen by 100,000. Shame. Shame on ABC for not producing this.

  5. Guys – no one is suggesting Showcase “give” their programming to a FTA network.

    I am suggesting they sell the repeat rights, about 18 months after it’s had it’s cable premiere.

    That is a long enough “gap” to not affect viewership / subscriptions for Showcase.

    Showcase could on sell to a FTA network and gain income for more future original programming. Likewise (as I expect them to) they should sell on itunes and on DVD too and paid streaming services.

    It’s all about gaining income for the show from as many revenue streams as possible. And repeats on FTA would be just one of these.

    HBO on sells repeat rights for all its shows such as Sex And The City, Entourage etc – to FTA stations in the US about 2 years after they have aired on HBO

  6. @annon actually, if the worlds still anything like it was when I was in high school, one of the teachers will probably record it and show it during class.

  7. They are getting some great productions exclusive to Showcase and I agree they need them as a reason to pay for the channels, or else you can wait a year and it could show up on FTA, which in this case it won’t, so wait for the DVD to buy or rent in a year or so.

  8. Showcase has every right to keep Cloudstreet as an exclusive. Pay channels must have points that differentiate them from FTA, many of which have already been noted by posters here, and I can only see it as a good thing overall for drama production. If Pay TV continues to produce well crafted adult drama then it’ll lift the bar for drama production generally in Australia.

    @annon, it’s no different to feature films being produced for commercial gain – you go to the movies and pay to see them, right? Well, you either subscribe to Pay television, or wait for the DVD release and buy the series. I can’t abide justification for illegal downloads! Everyone who works in the film and TV industry ends up being affected if you support it. My two cents, as usual!

  9. @annon -your sense of entitlement is remarakable – just where do you think the many millions of production budget comes from and (even for price) why would they give a prime asset to a competitor – just like virually every other market in the world, pay tv is now strong enough not to have to rely on FTA channels and it’s worth more to them to keep it as an exclusive. I presume David means that it’s such a good production that it’s something Showtime would want to cherish.

  10. Maxwell Lord

    Cloudstreet was made as an “exclusive” production for Showtime, the only way foxtel will attract new customers, is by making certain productions like thise only available on foxtel.
    Besides, did any of the FTA channels contribute any funds to the making of this expensive series(It would of cost a bit to make I’d imagine),Nope , then why do you think the FTA channels have any right to show it(with ads, watermark etc, on showcase, No ads? No Watermark, and No Promos at the end of program while credits role).
    Simple, either watch on showcase or wait for dvd/ blu-ray in 2011/12 )., cause these will be the only ways you will be able to view it.

  11. It looks good, but I wouldn’t subscribe to Foxtel just for the occasional good show. I agree with Russell, on-selling it to a FTA network wouldn’t affect the quality of the show, it’s a mini-series, so an FTA would show it in full.

  12. So kids who would benefit from access to it can not watch it unless their parents can afford pay tv… great stuff. And they wonder why people download illegally

  13. Russell, on Showcase it’ll be on same time every week, repeated multiple times during the week in case people miss it, have no commercials, no watermark, and no chance of being pulled off the air before it’s completed. So there’s quite a few good reasons it’s on Showcase.

  14. David @ Green Point

    Money talks – but our money won’t extend to the Movie plaform at Foxtel (where, when a movie is screened again for the first time on one of its other movie channels, Foxtel has the audacity to list it as a “premiere”.

    I’ll take your earier advice and anticipate a DVD release to pop up soon..

    If it doesn’t, no drama. (pun intended).

  15. What is the “good reason” it will be exclusive to Showcase?

    The show has already been produced. On selling it to a FTA network would not affect the quality of the show.

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