Next year acclaimed French drama The Returned (Les Revenants) will join the line-up, having already premiered on STUDIO which, along with World Movies, is one of two Pay TV channels owned by SBS.
SBS Director of Television Tony Iffland recently told TV Tonight the decision as to where to premiere new acquisitions is made on a case by case basis with SBS Programmer Peter Andrews and STUDIO / World Movies Programmer Laura Glassman.
“It’s a discussion and it’s about the respective needs of the network and the ability of the networks to get them on air,” he explained.
“All sorts of things inform that decision such as how much material we’ve got on SBS ONE and TWO ….what does STUDIO need in terms of something to promote its schedule?
“There’s been no fisticuffs to date! There are compromises, agreements, and by and large it’s worked out well.”
Depending on the title, SBS may opt to premiere a show on one of its STV channels in order to fill a channel’s brief, but leverage it as promotion for a wider Free to Air premiere to follow later.
“I have a background in Subscription and often a Subscription play is a good thing for a later Free to Air,” he says. “It’s a preview and it’s important for those people who pay for Subscription and want to be at the leading edge, that they have new and fresh content.
“But then it’s also a benefit for us in a Free to Air space that a programme has become, what we call, a ‘show brand.’ It becomes a brand in itself and draws an audience to it. So part of that can often be (through) a Subscription window. It can be a positive and not necessarily a negative.”
Iffland says SBS is still the home of international drama, repositioned to Thursday nights. US drama Rectify starring Aden Young will screen in 2014.
“I want people to be able to say SBS is about the world’s best drama so we get Vikings, Masters of Sex, Rectify. That’s an absolute. They must sit on SBS ONE as seminal, brand-defining drama that we want to do,” he explains.
“Then you look at other things and think ‘Ok we know our audience will engage in it, but that will work harder for the SBS channels if it goes on Subscription first.’
“The greater good will be there.”