“How long are you going to make us wait for Planet Earth II?”

Nine boss is cautioned against delaying premium content and Aussies who have VPNs.


Planet Earth II premiered in the UK earlier this month, with more than 12 million viewers tuning in to see Sir David Attenborough return to a landmark series 10 years after the original.

Nine has the rights for Australia, and this week at the Screen Forever conference, CEO Hugh Marks was interviewed about a number of issues by ABC’s Virginia Trioli.

Planet Earth II was on her list of questions as she cautioned against the risk of losing viewers in delayed titles.

“How long are you going to make us wait for Planet Earth II? Because I know friends who are already illegally streaming it from the UK because you guys are making us wait,” she asked.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Marks admitted, “and that’s an honest answer. It won’t be on air before next year, I can tell you that much.”

“That gets us to a problematic area, though doesn’t it?” Trioli continued.

“I mean, fair enough, the BBC has the right to sell the rights and they want to maximise that and I’m sure they’ve optioned a very, very lucrative deal for themselves with you and it wouldn’t be cheap. And you’re going to sit on it. But Australian audiences who have access to VPNs and the like are not going to want to wait.”

“But you have to remember 85% of viewing is still Live linear television,” Marks responded. “So yes there will be some people at the margin …and we all know those people because we’re in the business. But the great bulk of the population are still watching Live linear television. So we might lose some people.

“But if the show is good, when it plays, it will play well.”

Planet Earth II was announced last week as part of Nine’s 2017 programming plans.

9 Responses

  1. It isn’t the delay that us the problem, it’s the jot kniwing when it’ll air. If Nine confirmed it for February then some who would access overseas sources might be willing to wait, but not confirming the time means people don’t know when it’ll air so are inclined to take control. It also comes down to trust and the networks holding back series, rescheduling them or dropping them means the audience isn’t trusting Nine in the delivery of overseas content.

  2. “I don’t know the answer to that,” Marks admitted. Your kidding right? For a CEO to respond like that is jaw-dropping insulting to us viewers. Is it any wonder people are finding other avenues of watching their favourite series. Hugh’s response instills how out of touch FTA Channels are here in Oz.

  3. This underlines the contempt FTA TV networks have for their viewers, the only reason they are holding this is because the ratings period is coming to an end. So maybe there needs to be a change in the ratings system? Make it run 52 weeks a year so the networks have a reason to bring us the latest shows quicker. Overall this delay probably won’t put a huge dent in the ratings but every time they do it another viewer goes to the dark side and gets a VPN to stream content they want to watch now and not wait months until it airs… with too many ads on FTA.

  4. And yet again it shows how out of touch these people are. If he thinks that the people who stream, download, have VPN’s etc are a fringe minority boy is he in for a shock. My friend streamed the final series of Ripper street the other day and he is no geeky nerd believe me, but as a fan of the series, like he said to me he might die of old age before he saw it on FTA.

    1. TVT readers are probably not the “typical Aussie viewer” given they are regulars to an online TV site, but this was the result of recent Audience Inventory:

      Do you subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
      No 73%
      Yes 23%
      Not sure 4%

      Earlier this year a Nine exec also acknowledged he had a VPN.

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