For television audiences hungry for new American and British programming, the notion of ”fast-tracking” might become a case of be careful what you wish for.
Channels Seven and Ten, the ABC and Foxtel are delivering international programs with unprecedented speed. Foxtel’s ”Express from the US” campaign is fast-tracking more than a dozen shows, with new episodes of Sons of Anarchy and Boardwalk Empire on air within hours of their US broadcast.
Two new US series – 666 Park Avenue and Revolution – are also screening on Foxtel 12 hours and 36 hours behind the US.
The ABC, meanwhile, has been making new episodes of Doctor Who available via iView an hour after the show airs in Britain.
And Ten last week introduced fast-tracked content with its ”Take a Fresh Look” campaign. It has new seasons of the comedy New Girl and series two of critically acclaimed drama Homeland.
However, at first glance the numbers for Ten are not promising – New Girl (screened 10 days after the US) drew fewer than half a million viewers nationally and came fourth in its timeslot.
If audiences want networks to make good on the promise of delivering day-and-date programming, they’re going to have to start watching in greater numbers.
To put the Ten figures in context, New Girl was against Seven’s ratings mammoth The X Factor – a high-risk strategy that has claimed the scalps of other shows. Seven will follow this month with The Amazing Race, Grey’s Anatomy and Once upon a Time.
Anecdotal evidence suggests fast-tracked content performs best when aired within 24 hours of its international broadcast.
The ABC’s iView carriage of new Doctor Who episodes, in particular, drew enormous traffic. It also failed to damage the terrestrial broadcast a week later, a rare example of a network being able to have its cake and eat it, too.
Foxtel’s director of television, Brian Walsh, describes the ”Express from the US” campaign as ”a powerful differentiator for Foxtel”.
It is, however, a powerful differentiator for any broadcaster that wants to cultivate strong brand loyalty in an increasingly fragmented TV market. Even the ABC has used fast-tracked content and its market-leading online replay platform, iView, to become a dominant digital player.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.