Survey says fast-tracking still lagging US dates

A snapshot of fast-tracked shows indicates only a handful are available both on air and online close to US release.


Technology website Reckoner has a snapshot comparing Australian premiere dates with international dramas that indicate fast-tracking still has some ground to make up.

It highlights only 4 of 47 shows that were available in Australia on TV and online within a day of their international premiere: Justified, Mad Men, Orange is the New Black and Wayward Pines, all of which screen on Foxtel.

It cited major delays for shows including Broadchurch (41 days), The Americans (77 days), Wolf Hall (80 days), Bosch (166 days) and a number of others with no confirmed premiere date in sight.

While shows like Game of Thrones were express from the US on STV and digital platforms, it was another 65 days until it was available via iTunes.

However there are some qualifications to the list that need to be outlined.

The list has been drawn from 47 titles ranked on Metacritic, which premiered between January – June, and received high critic / audience ratings. This puts some titles such as Aquarius, Grace & Frankie, Between, The Brink, Dig, Suits -to name just a few- outside of the survey. Similarly, while Wolf Hall gets a look in on the US Metacritic site, Banished does not.

It also skews towards Drama, overlooking Reality shows (Survivor, The Amazing Race, Real Housewives, American Idol), and Lifestyle shows. If we are being completely technical, shows like The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon are fast-tracked everyday.

While the site’s pie chart and graphs would be considerably different if it was a true tally of all released shows, it is nevertheless an interesting “tip of the iceberg” article, which you can see here.

7 Responses

  1. As Mr J says 0 this article focuses on cable series and features many obscure titles. Broadcast comedy and drama is almost absent from the list, so the repeat or pretty flawed.

    Also, it’s all well and good to complain that we arent getting the shows the second they air in the US – but come on – networks are paying millions of dollars for these shows. Surely they reserve the right toa ir them when suits their business objectuives. If there is a big US series, and Ten wishes to wait 5 months to premiere it after Masterchef to give it the best possible chance of success in Australia – then to some degree Ten has the right to do that without everyone complain – “bt I want it NOW like America”

    I mean I live in the US and I can tell you we get Aussie TV shoes, movies and UL ones and music months and months and months behind. Australia is a lot better at in that the US. Is that not…

    1. Your comment has very little understanding of what its like to be a commercial free to air viewer in Australia. Its not just about waiting months for a show to air which is already ridiculous, its about having to chase a show around the schedule, where the start time, night, amount of episodes put to air (change from single to double) can vary on a weekly basis. Its also about shows disappearing for a week, months or never returning for no good reason. From the small amount I’ve seen of US tv guides your shows have regular start times, pretty consistent schedules and plenty of notice of premiere dates which for viewers in Australia is a foreign concept. In the US your reality shows go for what 1 to 2 eps a week whereas reality shows here go for 5 nights a week and fill up the schedule so even when drama airs its very late at night. You also can’t compare the very small tv and film…

  2. HBO content is tied up in a 10 year deal with Foxtel which gives them exclusive rights for first run and TV repeats. Foxtel is paying to stop anybody else selling HBO content during the exclusive period. Obviously the online sales don’t become available till just over 2 months after Foxtel airs them and can’t be shown earlier, DVD rights at some point after that.

    Selling HBO content in Australia before that is a crime punishable by large fines and possible gaol time. Illegally obtaining them leaves you liable by sued for damages. Unless HBO and Foxtel come to mutual agreement to tear up the contract, they aren’t ever going to be available any quicker for the rest of the decade the deal runs for. It is pointless to complain about this, it is just HBO’s business model.

    Same goes for exclusive first run rights under network output deals or MIPCOM sales. The owner can show them…

  3. The most telling graphic for me was the pie chart near the end which showed that 7, 9, and 10 together had only 5 shows between them that were Aus premieres. Even cash-strapped SBS had 4.

    It has been pretty obvious for a couple of years now that the Aus commercial networks don’t care about drama audiences. While the only alternatives were online piracy, VPNs, or waiting for the DVDs, a lot of people would put up with being treated badly, chase their show around the schedule, stay up late, or record it. Now we have Netflix, Stan, Stream-TV, etc and people are not waiting for 7, 9, or 10 to get around to broadcasting their show in variable timeslots with unexplained gaps in the middle before burning them off with double-eps late at night.

    1. That pie graph is highly impacted by the show selection used. that metacritic list obviously had a lot of obscure US cable shows and no broadcast shows, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that SBS, foxtel and online have more representation than the main commercial networks. Very flawed and unscientific article IMO.

  4. The main problem with fast tracking probably wasn’t within the scope of this article. This article focused on international premiere dates for the first 6 months of this year to when aired in Australia within that time period. Therefore it doesn’t factor the main issue in the many shows that premier in the second half of 2014 that take many many months to appear in Australia. Shows like arrow, greys anatomy, how to get away with murder, downton abbey etc. Quickly looking at that list none of the shows were to air on 7, 9 and only one empire was for 10. No wonder drama is missing from the commercial free to air networks. Also this article doesn’t consider partial fast tracking of a season. In my opinion fastracking a few eps of a season isn’t really and shouldn’t be considered fast tracking.

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