Freeview ad snubs Community TV

Freeview’s latest commercial “The Best Things in Life Are Free” would appear to plug all the Free to Air networks in equal measure, except for Community Television channels.

There are clips from shows on ABC, Seven, Nine, TEN and SBS, set to the uber-cool jazz track featuring the Melbourne Ska Orchestra and vocalist Pat Powell.

“More Australians than ever are watching Freeview, and with so much great TV to choose from, viewers are the winners,” says Freeview General Manager, Liz Ross.

“This campaign is all about letting people know that Freeview offers a huge choice of top-quality viewing options, and it’s all free.”

So excited is Freeview that it even includes logos for datacasting channels TV4ME and Extra, both of which run advertiser-related content including home shopping, brand funded, religious and educational  programming.

ABC4Kids is there which, strictly speaking is not a channel in its own right, broadcasting on ABC2. SBS HD is there too, simply retransmitting what’s on SBS ONE in upscaled HD.

But where, oh where, are our Community TV channels: C31 (Melbourne) 31 (Brisbane), TVS (Sydney), 44 (Adelaide), WTV (Perth) and all of which are also under the Freeview banner?

Update: Liz Ross tells TV Tonight: “The community channels are not financial shareholders of Freeview however we would prefer that our EPG delivered their data.

“Freeview have undertaken discussions with community channels in the past to facilitate their inclusion on the Freeview EPG . The key challenge relates to the technical requirements at playout. The community channels do not have the infrastructure to be able to deliver and support the data required to populate the EPG, particularly for recording.

“Freeview will continue to encourage community channels to resolve these issues so that they can hopefully be included on the Freeview EPG in the future.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMgFtG1b1L4[/youtube]

14 Comments:

  1. DK as someone who has been an avid visitor to your site for 5+ years i welcome your comments and take them on board and when our second season is about to commence on c31 i will get our producer to send you a media release although if it doesn’t have nine dots on it or big round ten or a lone seven or a sine wave or sbs or foxtel on the letterhead do you really think that you would give it the time of day. By the way the show is called HeartStarters not Headstarters ….like how do you start a head hahahaha thanks again….this show was not about getting attention for us it was about heart health and if we made one person question the way they were feeling and seek professional help well that gives us a Minnesota Nice smile.

    • Ok sorry for getting the title wrong. In answer to your question, I couldnt care less what logo is on it but after this awkward first impression you’ve made I’m not making any promises. The industry is small and built on relationships, and I don’t view anonymous criticism in a great light.

  2. I think TV Tonight has actually been a lone voice in support of Community TV as reflected by this very article. If you go to the trouble of making a 13 part series for any broadcaster, I’d suggest that a simple press release to all media outlets would be very worthwhile.

  3. Some good points made here – WIN & the CTV stations don’t put money into Freeview. But if Southern Cross Ten’s logo is there, where’s Southern Cross Seven?

  4. @Kenny
    Yes, I believe Freeview is funded by the ABC too. The only network to do so with a policy in regards to lack of commercials. I haven’t seen any Freeview promos on the ABC either.

  5. Hey ro, Have you ever heard the line “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”?? Just sayin’… I used to work in an area of the media too (not TV) and my inbox was filled to the brim with press releases from FTA and pay TV, record companies, movie distributors, DVD makers etc etc.

    But CTV? Nuthin’. Ever.

  6. The Best TV? Orly?

    FTA occasionally does have some excellent programs but they have almost always already been on Pay TV or are massively delayed for no apparent good reason. Then, when you take into account the fact that, on the commercial networks, they start 10-20 minutes late, have chunks slashed out of them, and then they get moved all over the schedule, I’m thinking that the *only* thing FTA has going for it is that is free.

  7. Jason D – Does ABC fund Freeview? They are there. Don’t know. Asking.
    tomothyd – I think WIN’s logo is missing too. Being in a WIN area I didn’t even know Gold existed. Thanks for the warning.
    Interesting how commercials ignore community TV but meanwhile they poach their talent, and copy program ideas.

  8. In some respects so do you when was the last time you did a story about c31 here in melb i was working on a project for southern health this year on a program called heartstarters, a 13 episode program which dealt with heart health and the patients journey we were given full access to op theatres and cath labs we had world and australian first procedures and we actually did open heart surgery in our final ep. By the way the whole series was done with no budget and relied on volunteers to produce the series. We were even featured on some news programs during the year but failed to be noticed by critics such as you.

    If you want to take the time and check out what C31 & heartstarters have and had to offer head to,
    facebook.com/HeartStarters

    • Ro: An interesting response. I feel that in the 5+ years I have been running the site I have regularly covered Community TV issues, including specific shows and including when they needed media attention for government assistance with digital switchover. Not sure how often CTV has received coverage in wider press but I suspect you know.

      I think the line “failing to be noticed” is valid, and I have checked my inbox, but can’t find any releases forwarded to me on Headstarters. In the current TV landscape, I find that waiting to be noticed will get one unnoticed very quickly. Part of producing a show is marketing a product and building industry contacts. The guys at Bazura Project, as one example, have been very good at understanding this. Whenever I have had random emails from people about their show on CTV I have usually replied “Great send me a Press Release, photo and any details of interstate broadcasts please” and too often that’s where it ends. It’s curious that in a story where I am actually championing CTV you’re questioning my support, but again I come back to the notion of building relationships. Thanks.

  9. Freeview is funded by the commercial networks. Could it be the case that community TV does not fund Freeview and therefore there’s no incentive for Freeview to promote community TV. Also community TV is mainly only available in the major cities only.

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