Network CEOs were united on Prominence, until they weren’t…

Mike Sneesby and James Warburton were agreed on pre-loading of apps on Smart TVs for their BVODs -but then somebody mentioned Stan.

Last week Free to Air network bosses all fronted a Senate committee hearing on Prominence as they urged for changes on the draft Bill before Parliament.

They included ABC’s David Anderson and SBS’ James Taylor ahead of a joint appearance by Free TV bosses Nine’s Mike Sneesby, Seven’s James Warburton and 10’s Beverley McGarvey.

All were agreed on the need for Prominence on Smart TVs and devices including a swifter introduction of pre-loading by manufacturers, amongst other issues.

But when Nine’s Mike Sneesby then asked to address the committee on Stan, Seven’s James Warburton interjected.

“Senator it would be think worth adding, though, today is Free TV, and we’re only advocating for free services with Prominence,” he said.

In the end the committee allowed Sneesby to address them around Stan’s position on Prominence.

“Nine is completely aligned with Free TV in terms of what we think should occur in relation to the BVOD services. Nine is unique in that it has an SVOD service in Stan and so we’ve put a separate submission,” he noted.

Nine took a separate view in relation to its subscription service Stan, explaining that it too had often been elbowed aside in favour of global multinationals such as pre-loaded apps from Netflix and Disney+.

“Those number 1,2,3,4 spots and remote control buttons were completely taken away as an opportunity. So Stan’s seen that competitive landscape unfold and been on the receiving end of it for some time. Fast forward to today and the vision of that company has been realising that Stan is a profitable streaming company. When you look around the world, it may be one of the only independent and single market streaming companies that has managed to get to scale, to be differentiated by local content and Sport and to have a sustainable and profitable outlook for the business. So I think that’s very unique when you look around around the globe,” he said.

Stan expressed no comment on whether Foxtel or Binge should also be given any kind of Prominence, but maintained that its local output justified inclusion in the new rules.

“Today, Stan is producing around 25 original productions. Stan would be the biggest commercial commissioner of scripted content in Australia. And of course, increasingly, Stan’s platform complements Nine’s distribution of Sport.

He added, “I would reiterate what I said before, that Nine is absolutely aligned with Free TV in terms of what we believe in and what we would urge the government to do in terms of Prominence for Free TV. But in addition to that, our view is that Stan should also be considered in the Prominence framework on the basis that it is an important part and important producer of Australian content.”

12 Responses

  1. The demand for prominence, while important, was already on shaky ground at best. By bringing up Stan, Sneesby essentially just shot himself in the foot and took down every other network exec with him. Not the smartest move – sometimes you achieve more with the things you don’t say.

  2. I would guess that anyone in the demos that the FTA’s are targeting know exactly how to move and install apps.

    I would also hazard a guess that the same demo doesn’t use native smart tv’s for streaming, but instead uses Apple TV, Google TV, Fetch or Firestick and so on. This is a much quicker, slicker way to use apps on a tele.

    This is truly mountain out of molehill grandstanding. If they really cared about the older demo and their struggles with remotes and technology, then maybe they should schedule and commission more content for them? At the moment it’s only ABC and SBS who cater to this audience in any meaningful way.

  3. I’m all for prominence on FTA app…my tv has a voice activated remote…I also have Foxtel IQ5..it is voice activated too .. but the FTA apps are not the prominent ones on Foxtel.…so to make it easier for myself..I have logged into FTA apps and I just tell the remote which FTA app to access and what particular show I want to watch…I do the same with Foxtel..I tell the remote the show the series and the episode if it clashes (with start/end times and drops out of recording mode…which is a frequent occurrence unfortunately with Foxtel) with FTA now Foxtel only allow 1 FTA and 2 Foxtel shows to record…voice active remotes have made it easier.

  4. Sorry but I don’t buy that it’s hard to find these free-to-air apps on smart TVs. They very quickly come up in a search in the app stores. The issue is perhaps that usability of these smart TVs needs to be made simpler/easier for older and less tech savvy viewers to use them and find the apps they want.

    1. Some viewers don’t even know how to download apps within a Smart TV environment, and then get bamboozled by passwords. But there are other issues too such as Search. If you search for a show should it be showing you results for Paid services when it is already available Free? These are things that some viewers struggle with….

    2. Dave had an article last week that SBS was not installed on some TV’s unless they gave up 30% of their revenue share on that platform. That alone convinced me the new law is required.

  5. Well the Stan submission has completely undermined the push by the free to air outlets to get
    prominence and makes it look like a total waste of time. How much taxpayer time and money has been wasted dealing with this industy dummy spit? Honestly it’s appalling. Haven’t they got bigger and better things to worry about? So out of touch with mainstream Australians

      1. “many Australians, especially older, can’t find iview etc on their Smart TVs”
        Totally agree. Here’s someone aged 79 who worked at TCN on the 1969 moon landing trans-state links, multiple incoming satellite feeds, standards conversion, triple backup linkings between ABN, ATN and TCN, then at TEN and WIN MCR, and I’m totally bewildered by my ‘smart’ TV. I find it overly complicated. How to ‘simply’ turn subtitles on/off. There’s no ‘subtitles’ button yet there’s a button for Netflix and one for Disney. Apparently I go to settings, scroll down, click here, scroll down again and click again, then….. Simples.

      2. There is a search function people can use. How is this any different to tuning on an old tv? Did the networks whinge when channel 2 came up before channel 7 or whatever? Was that a prominence issue?

        1. Prior to Smart TVs, there wasn’t pre-installed channels on tv’s or buttons on remotes sponsored by overseas media conglomerates or tv manufacturers creating ways to specifically make channels harder to access.

          All the channels had the same playing field (except for reception issues – which were based off the power of the transmitters, not how much money the channels had to pay to buy their channel being included on the tv or remote).

Leave a Reply