It has been interesting to follow the news of the past two days in relation to free-to-air television stations in Australia and the financial difficulty they find themselves in. It was interesting to hear a Channel 9 connection state “We used to hold the gun to the head of the viewer, but now they hold the gun to our head.” In fact it is slightly refreshing to hear this as hopefully it may see a change in attitude towards programming.
It is no coincidence that Channel Ten claims that revenue from advertising has significantly reduced. The public are becoming more discerning, and have other options available to them. If the product is not good enough people will go elsewhere, and if they do you become less appealing as an avenue for sponsorship.
When it comes to sports coverage one of the biggest mistakes being made by all stations is the employment of boring ex players who think that simply by being there they offer something to the broadcast and have failed to do any homework on the game or the teams participating. To them it is simply a job and one that keeps them in the public eye. With attitudes such as this the overall viewing experience is not an enjoyable one. Some understand what the viewer s after and do an excellent job. Another trend is for employees of one station to crop up on another or on a radio station. Cross-polenation -for want of a better word – rarely works in broadcasting, unless you have a truly outstanding broadcaster, and if you do why would you want to share such an asset?
It will be interesting to see if any of the heads of sport read the recently published British Future survey following the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. British Future was a think tank put together to show how the 2012 games should boost Britain.
In the post-games survey 62% said that the BBC should show as much women’s sport as men’s. 71% said that they wanted the BBC to show events “that bring the nation together.” We suspect that in Australia you may well find similar results would occur as despite what many believe women in most households determine what is watched on television. Also we must not forget that Australian women are in fact overall far more successful on the world stage than their male counterparts. Could our television stations learn from this survey?
For those who are interested in the same survey the question was asked ‘which athlete made you most proud to be British?’ Heptathlete Jessica Ennis topped that particular question with 50% of respondents naming her and double Olympic Gold medallist Mo Farah was second with 43%.