Pay TV locks Stewart & Colbert back behind paywall

If “pay TV” was such a plus for Australians, it would be adding programming we couldn’t receive on free to air – not taking it away:

Colvinius @abcmarkscott Is it true we were outbid for Colbert & JonStewart for next year after creating an Australian audience for them? #sayitaintso

Replies the ABC Managing Director:

abcmarkscott @Colvinius Sad but true. Deep pockets of pay-tv purchased all Australian rights for many times what we were paying #sorrytosayitisso

So two of the most dynamic, persuasive progressive voices on our televisions are locked back behind the paywall, where they can do so much less damage – particularly, as it happens, to companies like, say, News Corporation. (You have to love the irony that from next year we’ll only be allowed to watch Stewart and Colbert on TV by paying money to a sister company of one of their biggest targets, Fox News.)

People who subscribe to ripoff TV via that gouging behemoth Foxtel? Thanks for giving them the money to do this…

Fortunately, for now, the shows are still streamable on their respective websites – but I wouldn’t bet too much on that continuing in the long-term.

About these ads

14 responses to “Pay TV locks Stewart & Colbert back behind paywall

  1. Hang on, shouldn’t the ABC be producing, you know, Australian stuff, not spending our tax dollars on some American snark-artists?

  2. jordanrastrick

    For sure, those corporate bastards are out to silence left wing dissent… by, uh, paying the creators of those left wing shows bucketloads of money for their awesome content, and trying to sell said content to as many subscribers as they can.

    That’ll teach em!

  3. Splatterbottom

    Nay, Shabs. The ABC’s mission is to be the government-funded propagator of all things left. The chattering classes need a walled garden where their exotic ideas can germinate and flourish free of any critical comment or robust debate.

    Sadly despite leftist control of the education system, a few people revolt against their PC sensitivity training and start thinking for themselves, and heaven forbid, speaking out. These people are to be ridiculed and vilified at every turn. That is what Media Watch is for. Rest assured that your 8 cents a day is well spent in the cause of progressive politics.

  4. Shabs – do you ever step outside your carefully created strawman universe to engage with reality?

    The ABC’s mandate has never been solely to produce and then publish Australian content, as any child who has ever watched Dr Who can tell you.

    Why are you incapable of offering any critique of Jeremy’s writing that is not based on simplistic and easily disproved strawmen?

    Is it because the real word is too difficult for you to engage with?

  5. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, Jordan. I was simply describing one unfortunate consequence.

  6. Booo!

    With our luck the ABC will probably respond to this by commissioning another series of Backberner.

  7. jordanrastrick

    Fair enough, Jeremy. I probably wouldn’t have even come to that misinterpretation of your “locked behind the paywall” line absent the context of the other unrelated thread. My bad.

    I still don’t buy the thrust of the overall argument.

    Admittedly the Australian Pay TV market is currently undercompetitive, and hence overpriced. Hopefully, the sector will mature and become more affordable over time – it is reasonable to expect it will. Notwithstanding that issue, I think subscription models for TV and other forms of media are overall a good thing for consumers, contra what you’re implying in the opening paragraph. In fact I’d go so far as to say HBO proves this singlehandedly.

    Its also worth noting that both the TV shows you seem to think we should have some sort of inalienable right to view for free are, in fact, funded by cable pay TV revenues in the U.S.

    @redravens: Don’t say such things, or they might come true.

  8. Mondo, can I just say thank you for your persistence in speaking truth to idiocy.

    I’ve been lurking this blog for many years, and your cool, rational and timely posts have saved me from submitting profanity laden smackdowns (that would have no doubt brought the banhammer) time and again.

    Props must also go out to Mr. Lefty whose finger is always on the pulse, and whose legendary tolerance, perhaps even to the point of a fault, is an example to all.

  9. “Admittedly the Australian Pay TV market is currently undercompetitive, and hence overpriced. Hopefully, the sector will mature and become more affordable over time – it is reasonable to expect it will.”

    There used to be competition – Foxtel and Austar. Now the only competition is in data carriage – the content is all Foxtel. Moving Stewart and Colbert off the ABC reduces competition at the content level.

    “Notwithstanding that issue, I think subscription models for TV and other forms of media are overall a good thing for consumers, contra what you’re implying in the opening paragraph.”

    I’d agree if the subscription system wasn’t rigged to make people pay for stuff they don’t want to watch. I get Foxtel for the SCIFI channel and the odd movie. In the basic package, I’m also forced to pay for Fox News, Lifestyle, MTV, Fashion TV, etc, etc, etc. Funding Murdoch propaganda and encouragement of anorexia in young girls is not a good thing. But I gotta haves that SCIFI.

    There needs to be per-channel pricing regulation. There’s no technical reason why digital pay TV cannot charge me for a channel only if I explicitly choose to watch it. The current setup rips off consumers and is a convenient way to funnel money to unworthy causes that would otherwise be unprofitable without the explicit subsidy.

  10. Thanks Connect 4 – that’s kind of you to say.

    But don’t be too hard on Shabs – useful fools like him serve a very valuable purpose in highlighting the stupid, shallow and self-indulgent worldview of most righties.

  11. jordanrastrick

    I’d agree if the subscription system wasn’t rigged to make people pay for stuff they don’t want to watch. I get Foxtel for the SCIFI channel and the odd movie. In the basic package, I’m also forced to pay for Fox News, Lifestyle, MTV, Fashion TV, etc, etc, etc. Funding Murdoch propaganda and encouragement of anorexia in young girls is not a good thing. But I gotta haves that SCIFI.

    Don’t you mean ScyFy? :P

    I empathise with your view, as that’s the channel I spend most of my time watching whenever I have access to Foxtel.

    But this

    There needs to be per-channel pricing regulation.

    is a bad idea.

    There’s no technical reason why digital pay TV cannot charge me for a channel only if I explicitly choose to watch it.

    There is an economic one, though.

    The current setup rips off consumers and is a convenient way to funnel money to unworthy causes that would otherwise be unprofitable without the explicit subsidy.

    So you think pay TV companies are in the business of subsidising content, rather than making profits?

    Your complaint is a pretty general one. Most pay TV subscribers I’ve every met are pretty quick to point out they only watch 5% of the content on offer.

    The point, though, is that everyone watches a different 5%; and its essentially the case that rather than paying “extra”, everyone gets their other 95% of marginal value content “for free”. Matt Rognlie, a progressive American top-of-his-class MIT economics grad student, has explained it better than I likely ever could:

    http://makeanysense.blogspot.com/2010/07/more-choice-is-less-choice-strange.html

    http://makeanysense.blogspot.com/2010/07/zero-marginal-cost-and-microsoft-office.html

  12. “Nay, Shabs. The ABC’s mission is to be the government-funded propagator of all things left. The chattering classes need a walled garden where their exotic ideas can germinate and flourish free of any critical comment or robust debate.

    “Sadly despite leftist control of the education system …. ”

    Oh God, he’s off again … somebody get the straitjacket.

  13. Jeremy, I find the logic of this post a little peculiar.

    Stewart and Colbert themselves both work for a pay-per-view cable broadcaster, Comedy Central. Arguably, their kind of programming would never have found a home either on network television (because it’s a niche proposition) or US public television (because too controversial). We owe their existence to a post-broadcast environment where risky, niche programming can be subsidised by subscriptions. The ABC itself never considered them a prime-time, ABC1 proposition, and also treated them as niche programming.

    That said, if they really wanted to maximise their audience in Australia, they could have chosen to take the lesser bid from the ABC, as South Park’s creators chose to in respect of SBS for many years. It’s peculiar that Stewart and Colbert have chosen to accept Foxtel’s bid, given that one of their main targets is Fox News, which lives under the same corporate umbrella. Why not criticise their hypocrisy?

    In any case, blaming Foxtel subscribers for this turn of events seems odd, a little petulant. They have far less say in this whole turn of events than the ABC, Stewart and Colbert do.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s