The huge audience drop for Homeland raises serious questions about the challenges facing traditional TV. The brutal reality is this: content that has screened in other parts of the world is increasingly subject to online piracy and other platforms that allow internet browsers to get around ‘geo-blocks’ on content.
The answer to the networks’ problem lies in this paragraph from The Age.
Local networks can no longer compete by showing TV shows from overseas if they are not offering a day and date option.
The truth has been for some time that they were never really competing anyway. They were just ignoring their own fate.
Years ago the networks should have prepared their stakeholders for a few years of losses while they invested in the local industry, developing great story-tellers, characters and a unique perspective that the rest of the world would want a piece of.
We saw it this week with the US purchase of ABC’s Rake. They’re remaking it, but it means more money coming back into our industry. It’s a return on investment that regards the entire world as a potential audience, rather than a tiny population in a very large country.
This is as much about the short-sightedness of our television networks as it is about our own pride and conviction in our stories. It’s about having goals and allowing those goals to guide decisions based on a playing long game. It’s about taking some risks and aiming for innovation rather than gentrification.
The Australian free-to-air commercial television networks balked at the first sign difficulty. It’s not too late but it’s going to take some hard work, some pay cuts and some sacrifices to learn to make local television for a global audience.