Last night on the back of the Disney+ launch in Australia, the Gruen panel discussed the current streaming wars.
But it was the show’s own thoughts on ABC and iview that really warrant further discussion.
Todd Sampson said, “First it’s worth saying that iview should be considered a success story, maybe not as much as the other streaming providers, but roughly 2.2 million people do catch-up. It’s the largest catch-up in the country. But I think ABC, of all the networks has the biggest opportunity. But to do it, they have to reverse the model.
“I think iview is the business and TV is supplementary. Because what we do know is structurally the industry is changing. And we know that and the networks are all struggling with that. But the more important thing is behaviourally it’s changing. It’s never going back to pre-streaming time. It’s not going to happen.
“So ABC could leapfrog all of that. And if I was the ABC, I would do less content, I’d roll everything in, I get rid of the second ABC2, I’d do less content, I would do all of the content on iview.
“And I would use terrestrial television as a way of fading out.
“Content is king, it’s queen, it’s all of it (but) the content’s not good enough.”
Sampson then delved into an ongoing question facing successive ABC managements: the average age of their viewers.
“Historically, the ABC’s average viewer is 66 years old,” Sampson continued.
“And unfortunately, what’s happening is because of that, we are acting like an ad-funded network. Our target markets are defining our content. What should be happening, because we need to get a younger market…. we should be letting our content define our target market. Take chances and be brave, go younger and to the middle. And I think we could become ‘the Netflix of Australia.'”
Russel Howcroft, who is a former chair of 7-9-10-Foxtel marketing body Think TV, weighed in.
“You know what the ABC needs to do? It needs to advertise,” he suggested (cue audience mirth).
“The ABC actually does advertise. It just advertises on its own platforms. So whether it’s radio, whether it’s the TV station, and it will advertise its own content on its own platforms. So no wonder it’s just older with the audience, because they’re not getting a new audience in. The only way you can get a new audience in is to present the content to the younger audience. The only vehicle you’ve got to do that is via advertising.”
Finally One Green Bean CEO Claire Salvetti had a novel suggestion.
“So I have an idea. You can use this as a point in your advertising. You can use it to lower the demographic age of people watching,” she proposed.
“It’s a celebrity, and it’s not even a person. It’s a very important thing that you have in your portfolio….. I’m afraid it’s not you, Wil.
“It’s actually a dog called Bluey. If you are a parent and you have children, you watch Bluey. It is the most awesome show to watch with your kids. And that little dog is the most powerful animal in the world. You need to make that your celebrity and you need to go hard pushing that all around the world and then everyone will watch iview.”
“We’re the ABC. We’re the Australian Bluey Corporation,” joked Wil Anderson.