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September 23 2008

Dollhouse moves from Channel TEN in Australia. FOX8 has picked up the rights to air Dollhouse. Initially the series was picked up by TEN.

That's not what I wanted to hear! "Pay TV" (ie, cable) isn't anywhere near as popular here as it seems to be in the US - and I don't get it myself and and don't want to pay $40+ a month just for one tv show :(
I did wonder if Fox's less ads policy would have a knock-on effect on non-US networks wanting to buying Dollhouse.

Also Dollhouse is going to be sold primarily to the younglings? Boo urns.
The younglings is where the money is at, Simon.
Buffy was sold primarily to the younglings.

There's some background about what happened here. It actually contains some factual errors from both the reporter and the Fox staff member.
I wonder if that means TEN may still air Dollhouse after FOX8, on their HD channel. TEN has done something similar with Dexter. By the time TEN started airing Dexter S1 I'd already seen S1 and S2 on DVD.
Also Dollhouse is going to be sold primarily to the younglings? Boo urns.

What was that? Something about getting off your lawn?
That's not what I wanted to hear! "Pay TV" (ie, cable) isn't anywhere near as popular here as it seems to be in the US - and I don't get it myself and and don't want to pay $40+ a month just for one tv show :(

There's plenty of shows in Foxtel/Austar that are worth watching, and aren't shown on free-to-air often or at all.
I would absolutely love to pay only $40 a month for TV. I think I was about 10 years ago.
And they wonder why Australia is one of the top torrenters of movies and eps.

Cable tv here is so expensive for so little. I know we got rid of it when we were looking at almost $80 a month for our cable on top of the $80 a month for the cable internet, and from what I've seen it's probably even more expensive to have all the channels we used to. I wonder if it will be on iTunes oz or not.

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2008-09-23 23:49 ]
Well, that bites! My sympathies to our members in Australia, most unfair in this selection.
An added "GRRR" from another Aussie.
There might be plenty on Foxtel worth watching, but I don't have enough time to watch enough TV to make it worth that amount of money. Looks like I'll be ordering a DVD from the US as soon as they are available.
I wonder how it will be edited in the UK (assuming someone here buys it!) since our pay channels have as many ads as US ones, leaving only 40 minutes for the show. Hopefully the BBC will buy it since they are happy to air 58 minute shows. Even terrestrial commercial channels have "only" ten minutes of ads per hour.
Beth'll, I'd suggest just utorrenting it. I'm Australian and that's what I intend to do. I'm still slightly annoyed at this; if it were on channel 10 I'd have been able to get more of my friends indoctrinated.
I'm about to lose my job because of company restructuring, so getting into a $40.00 p/m contract is out of the question. I'll just have to ask someone who is subscribed for Foxtel to record it for me, or buy Dollhouse on DVD as soon as it's available.

On the bright side, at least it looks like payTV actually show these programs. If Pushing Daisies and Chuck had been picked up by one of the payTV channels, I bet they would have been shown and out on DVD by now, not stuffed in some dusty drawer of Ch9 awaiting the non-rating period.
Oh dear. I don't know anyone with pay-TV, otherwise I could hijack their set once a week. Why, Channel 10, why? It would have been better if Fox8 had picked it up from the beginning, then we wouldn't have got our hopes up.
I actually am quite happy with this move. Fox8 treats its international shows consistently well, whereas the free-to-air's are known to start and stop and mess around with them.

But then again my parents pay for Foxtel so...yeh.
"There's plenty of shows in Foxtel/Austar that are worth watching, and aren't shown on free-to-air often or at all."

The only other stuff on pay tv I'd likely watch is on sci-fi and that'd then cost me $60 a month! no thanks, especially when I have most of it on dvd anyway
I think this is terrible news. If Dollhouse does really well in ratings in the US I'll bet channel 10 will regret this move. It just feels feels premature.
This is so infuriating. No wonder I no longer watch tv on tv. Grrrr. This will make it so much harder to convince other peole to try the show. But thank the 'verse for torrenting.
Well, that just sucks. I don't live in a cable TV household anymore, and we have no plans to get it.

$40 p/m is just for basic cable here in "we don't want you to watch good TV unless we can get lots and lots of your money and still make you sit through ads" land (aka Australia). And basic cable is pretty basic.

At least Fox8 is generally in the basic package, but that changes on the whims of the cable companies. If you want to add Sci-Fi, you're looking at around $60. Throw on another $20 is you want to be able to watch Dexter or other Showtime goodies (and don't want to wait 2 years till they're on network TV).

So, while I would pay $40 to buy the DVD Box Set of Dollhouse, I'm not going to pay $40 per month. Torrenting it is. Grrrrr.
Im a little surprised at the reaction here honestly.
We all here are TV fans... and its been a LONG time since Free-to-Air TV was the *Home* of good TV. Times have changed. People pirate, and people TiVo. Im surprised that there are people here WITHOUT foxtel in Australia (without meaning offence to those without the money available). As a TV fan I couldnt live without it. There are things on FOX8, Comedy Channel, SCI,FI and Lifestyle which I watch all the time... and its been a VERY long time since I have watched something on 7, 9 or 10. What has there been? If its a show of any value... it can be downloaded months before its even show up on the program guide for Free-to-Air. How I met your Mother, The Office.. these shows would BE COMPLETE TORTURE TO WATCH if you relyed on Channel 7, or 10, in this day and age.
Dollhouse on FOX8 is a much better home than Channel 10.
I mean honestly. How many times did Buffy start 40 minutes late (11.10pm) or MORE when it was on 7... week in and week out.

Nice work Channel 10. For those above suggesting that we should all be spending $10/week on pay tv, says that the current pay tv penetration is only 25%, which means that very few Australians will actually have the opportunity to access it.

I'll be hanging out for the DVD (which I will no doubt have to order from the US anyway).
An opportunity to not watch more sports, news and Gordon Ramsey -- and for just $40 per month...

Then again, I am paying $12 per week so I can not go to the gym.

You say only 25% - but I would suggest that the 25% contains a high percentage of true 'fans' of TV. So the 75% left are more than likely to be the ones who probably wouldnt watch Dollhouse anyway.

I know that is REMARKABLY general and non-scientific, but I think there is a important point there.

The more I think about it, the more it becomes appartent that 'Free-To-Air TV' is a dated concept that has no real place in the world anymore. Sad maybe, but true. There isnt enough money to be made giving everyone free tv. People dont watch ads anymore.
Beren: Interesting thought, but in my experience (also incredibly unscientific) most pay-tv users are actually sports-fans, which is not Dollhouse's demographic. I'd wager that people who are interested in quality drama are more likely pooling their money into either the internet so that they can access torrents/other downloads, or purchasing dvds.
Many people don't have access to paytv not only because of finances but because of location.

Yes, free to air TV does not treat shows well, but it still exposes shows to the population. Straight to cable just means less exposure and less exposure is less chance for success. Of that supposed 25% of people with cable in Australia what percentage will be interested in watching Dollhouse? I don't know, but probably not 25% (I agree with highandrandom that most paytvers are sports fans). Going straight to cable means a huge percentage of the Australian population won't be able to say whether they like it or dislike it, they just will never hear of it, which will translate into fewer dvd sales.

There's no way I'm getting Pay TV for just one show.

Beren77, free-to-air (even commercial stuff) becomes much easier to swallow with a DVR. I just set programs to record, and at the end of the week check to see what presents my Media Centre has waiting for me. Mind you, most of the best TV is on ABC and SBS anyway.
I understand people not wanting pay TV just for one show, but I guess there may be legal paid-for downloads available, eg on iTunes.
If the Hulu international site is rolled out in time, it could end up there as well.
Oooh. Hulu International is exactly what I've been waiting for. Big networks going direct to an International market, rather than just to one country and then selling rights off on top.
Wow. I wasn't even aware channel 10, or any aussie commercial station for that matter, had tried to grab Dollhouse for us. That's just neat seeing as Firefly never got an airing here at all. :)

[ edited by Carmie on 2008-09-24 13:17 ]
The Least:
You are right about DVR. And thats kinda my point aswell. My foxtel has DVR inbuilt (FoxtelIQ, TiVo in USA) and its just THE basis for how I watch TV. Only a very special show would actually make me watch it at its original air time.

Now that is totally different to how I was 5 years ago. I would base my nights around what show i wanted to watch and made sure I was able to view it. Back that up with asking whoever was home to hit 'record' on the VCR and you have my television viewing habit.

But all that has changed forever since DVR. Sure you can have DVR JUST for your free-to-air digital channels, but for me Id rather have 60 channels to program into my DVR than 5....
Carmie: Firefly was played in the midnight slot on Channel 7 many moons ago.

Since I'm in a location that can't get broadband access, and Pay TV is not an option, looks like the DVD will have to be the go. Not really surprised by the 25% figure either, really; it may just be my limited experience, but Pay TV has always seemed like an extravagance rather than the norm. Last I heard it's picking up some viewers, but still hasn't made any sizeable dent in the free-to-air market.
I think that sucks for the show, because let's face it, no show ever really gets much popularity here in Australia unless it's free-to-air. We are not a cable-oriented country.

Beren77 - that's what I have the internet for. I'm constantly broke, there's no way I'd be able to afford pay TV. Also, plenty of good television has made its way onto pay TV here, if only temporarily.
Your right, and im being simplistic. I just think TV isnt like it was in the 90s. Its not going to go back to that, where commecial networks basically control the habits of the vast majority of the populus. People have broken out of that system, to a large extent. The pirate market, DVR - all these things have changed TV. And that leads me to the argument ive made about 7, 9 and 10 becoming increasingly irrelivent.

But again, im being simplistic. Sadly it is commonplace still around australia to have the 6-7pm double dose of news and trashy current affairs show blaring out of every suburban TV... ads drawing you into the next show, and then the next. Parents still are going to want the free babysitter that TV is. People are still going to watch CSI because is is a cardboard copy of the last episode and it gives them a little mindless escape. Fast food, beer and car companies are gonna still throw money at these shows and its not going to go away.

But as for 'our' little slice of the TV world.. the TV world with artistic asparations and courage... well I dont think there is a place for us in that corporate structure. As we found with Firefly. But lets remember that shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and so on were not produced by NBC, CBS, ABC. So its not a rule that Dollhouse must be in that mold.

But at the end of the day it IS Fox producing Dollhouse, not HBO... so standards sadly will be different. Anyway Ive rambled. Ill go now.
I think it would be great if the show would be popular in Australia, but the viewership in Australia will have absolutely no bearing on whether the show lives or dies. Only the US market will determine that.

And can we please not talk so openly about torrents and piracy here? It makes me very uncomfortable. In case anyone forgot it is still illegal and still takes money out of the pockets of the actors, writers, and producers of the show.
TamaraC, please leave the moderating to the mods.
Every show I love I have bought on DVD. I have two full shelves of DVDs. I am willing to pay for anything I feel deserves it. Even shows I havent watched again.
But I dont want to wait 3 or 4 months or more to watch the latest episode of 'The Office'. I have no moral qualms with downloading it now and buying the DVD later. If I were in America, I would have it TiVo'd and I would still watch without the ads. And I wouldnt feel bad.
Is the alternative that we politely sit and watch the ads? Like *really* try and concentrate and absorb them? Make little notes that BigW is 5% off linen this week ? In gratitude of the money they have given to the TV Network that makes my little TV show possible?
Anywho. Sorry, this has just touched a nerve with me. Probably not the right time or place to vent! '.'
My apologies, Caroline. I will edit my post if you wish.
5% OFF LINEN !?!

I am so there.

(if the ratings in Australia don't affect whether the show lives or dies and the downloader buys the DVDs, why would torrenting the show take money out of the pockets of the actors, writers and producers of the show ?)
If every downloader also buys the DVD every time then it probably wouldn't, Saje. I seriously doubt that happens. YMMV
Actually, i've thought about it a bit more and if they don't have a ratings measurement device in their house I don't think it makes any difference at all.

I know when we're used to thinking about property as something you either have or don't have then the first reaction is to assume someone must be losing out of it but I can't for the life of me see how. No device means not watching it as it's broadcast doesn't count/matter. The broadcaster's already bought it from the US network so their outlay is fixed no-matter what you do. The only entities that seem to potentially lose are the companies buying ad time (assuming it's a commercial network) but even then, if you don't have a problem with advert skipping then even the advertisers that might have benefited from the extra eyeballs don't count).

Seems like there must be a flaw in that reasoning but I can't see it.
In the future I think TV will be a hybrid of Cable TV and iTunes. Think of it like watching your current channels for a basic flat fee... but the primetime shows... the shows currently in production by the network (as oppoesed to reruns and news etc...) you can *subscribe* to iTunes style.

So you can see the list of shows for that network and choose the ones you think you want to watch, and those shows are broadcast both in their original timeslot and also recorded to your DVR for your eternal ownership. You can buy by the episode or subscribe to the series.

I think this would quickly shake up the industry, and take away the unnatural framework that its set up in at the moment - the old Forest-King style.
The flaw in your thinking is in justifying future purchases and assuming that ratings measurement numbers are absolute and not statistical representations.
Maybe you could look at it this way in the UK, Sky makes money by people subscribing to its programming and, in theory, somebody who wants to watch, say, Battlestar Galactica or Fringe or Bones should subscribe to Sky. If they download said programmes then Sky does not gain subscribers. If the cost of buying a series does not equal money from subscribers (and the advertisers) then Sky will lose out.
I have Virgin Media and live in an block of flats that doesn't have Sky. Now I used to be able to watch Sky One no problem but because of the pettiness of Sky and Virgin I can't watch Battlestar Galactica etc on the television anymore.

I would assume many people like me are in the same boat and I would bet there's a considerable amount of them who now download shows that they used to watch legally.
Two points moley75: 1) if you wouldn't have subscribed anyway (I suspect a lot of people wouldn't for a single TV show) then Sky don't lose out and 2) presumably that only applies to pay TV channels (which admittedly in the Aussie example is what's being talked about). Note, i'm not saying people are "entitled" to see shows whether they subscribe or not, i'm just trying to figure out if there actually is a victim in certain specific circumstances.

(if you take 'Heroes' for instance, well, the BBC bought that, and i've already paid for the licence and don't have a ratings box so presumably that'd be OK to download. 'Dexter' on the other hand is on ITV so maybe not in that case. But what about if I never watch adverts anyway ?)

The flaw in your thinking is in justifying future purchases and assuming that ratings measurement numbers are absolute and not statistical representations.

Hmm, yep that's a good point about measurement as representation of a whole TamaraC (not quite sure what you mean about justifying future purchases, soz ;).

I dunno though, remember we're allowing advert skipping (or are you against that too ? - that's not meant to be a loaded question BTW, it'd be totally consistent with supporting commercial TV as a model I think) so say you don't download it but watch along with everyone else except you skip the adverts. Well, in that case the ratings still don't reflect the number of eyeballs the advertisers are paying for so they're still suffering because the ratings aren't representative of the number of potential customers they're reaching - they're effectively being overcharged for their ad time, getting less bang per buck (I assume that's the issue you have with non-representative ratings, correct me if i'm wrong though). Like downloading, the more widespread advert skipping becomes the more skewed the ratings so the more the advertisers are being overcharged.

Unless ratings boxes/diaries record whether you skip adverts while viewing (so they can adjust by proportion throughout the representation) ? We were measured once, way back when I was a kid (it was just a book you filled in back then, none of yer fancy electronic gizmos ;) so i've no idea what steps they take nowadays to try to figure out if you're skipping ads.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-09-24 22:28 ]
The advertisers spend millions of dollars to find out how many people are not watching the advertising so they already have that data and figure it into what they are willing to pay. I have seen studies that break down exactly who in what age group watches what commercials in specific shows. Studies that tell how many times a commercial has impact before it is ignored, what kinds of formats get more attention even while fast forwarding through them. Which placement order in a series of commercials is more valuable. etc. etc. etc.

What I mean about future purchases is that a network like 10 or 8 (whichever one is on ad supported cable in Australia) will make future decisions about purchasing shows in a similar vein on how many new subscribers they gained or lost on addition of a new show. If their subscriber base saw a bump when Dollhouse was added then they would be more likely to add similar shows in the future. If their was no subscriber bump with the addition of Dollhouse then they would be less likely to add similar shows in the future.

Ratings is only one form of measurement. Networks also look very closely at iTunes purchases and Hulu views and other legal ways of acquiring their shows in order to brag on or justify that show's existence.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-09-25 01:46 ]
Hopefully it will be available on iTunes, then it's just a case of buying it through there rather than needing to subscribe to FOXTEL. Even that is flawed though, because in Australia at least a season on iTunes costs twice as much as the DVD - even for seasons that are 5+ years old.
By way of context ...

Top ranking free to air show last week was 1.895m viewers (Aussie drama, Packed to the Rafters). Top ranking drama that I'd care about - Dr Who 1.169m.

By camparison on pay TV last week: Project Runway Australia (Arena) 229,000 and The Simpsons (Fox 8) 194,000.

So assuming the Simpsons is the top rated Fox 8 show I wouldn't be expecting a huge following for Dollhouse.

(Info from -
Personally, I don't see the difference in Tivo'ing an ep and downloading it. Chances are you won't watch the ads on a Tivo'd recording (which btw, we do have here now, although still with limited use) so you're not watching the ads, just like you aren't in a torrented ep.

As far as ads go. I like this new less ads policy. We have a radio station that does the same here. Never more than 2 in a row. I think they've done their research. They play the same songs as another station, similar type style of radio hosts/shows, yet my radio, and others I know, tune into the less ads station. Why? Because we know when an ad comes on and we're driving, it's less hassle to sit there and listen to the two ads, than to surf the channels looking for one without ads. I have not noticed that they play ads more often (in fact their catch cry is Nova plays more music) Maybe they can make the same revenue from less ads, because they can charge more because they have the numbers to back it up, that more people actually listen to the ads on their station than on others. That's all just guesses. But once apon a time, Foxtel was like this. It's been well over 10 years since we got rid of Foxtel. When we first got it, there was only ads for the channels and upcoming shows. Then slowly McDonalds ads crept in. Now there is just as many ads as on free to air channels. Pay TV used to be about less ads. you paid the channels money which added up to ad revenue, so they could use less. Now they charge more for Foxtel (Double now what we first started paying... Who says things get cheaper as they've been around longer?) and have more ads. I know I would much rather pay to watch it from iTunes and have no ads, than pay through the nose each month to watch it with ads.
Tivoing is measured and many more TiVo users than you would expect watch commercials. I dvd everything & probably watch a good 25% of ads.
Saje: "if you wouldn't have subscribed anyway (I suspect a lot of people wouldn't for a single TV show) then Sky don't lose out"

I would imagine that Sky outbid C4 and the BBC for Lost and 24 because it expected to get more subscribers specifically for those shows.
Personally i'd imagine they buy them as part of a raft of shows that're intended to attract new subscribers, I stand by my assertion that someone that didn't intend to buy Sky at all still wouldn't do it for one show (and interestingly, in both cases Sky piggy-backed on the free-to-air channels by letting them build an audience for the shows and then buying them - would people buy Sky for a show they'd never seen ? Doubt it, no-matter how much it's hyped over the pond).

And also, surely buying shows is partly about competing on specific nights or timeslots i.e. they're trying to get existing subscribers to watch Sky rather than the Beeb at a given point ? That's what makes the British system different (to the US I mean, from what I gather Canada also has a TV tax of sorts ?) - no-matter who else you subscribe to, you must pay for the BBC, meaning you always have the option to watch those channels instead.

But anyway, re: pay channels, yeah, I think there's an injured party there.

Tivoing is measured and many more TiVo users than you would expect watch commercials

It's a pity (but totally understandable) that figures for things like Tivo viewers that actually watch adverts aren't available to Joe Public because I reckon that's quite interesting (clearly some people enjoy adverts, or some of them at least - personally I can count on one or maybe two hands the number of adverts i've seen that i'd watch again voluntarily).

True though, if a pay channel watches new subscribers after a show launch to decide whether to buy other shows (or other seasons of the same show) then it's pretty hard to defend downloading shows that appear on pay channels in your country (unless you have no moral problem with depriving that channel of income). If they appear on non-commercial channels and/or free-to-air commercial channels then I still think it's a lot less clear-cut as to whether anyone suffers (or at least, whether they suffer relative to having the same viewers but with ad skipping).
Saje, I see that you have an argument around or for illegal downloading in most cases and I understand that many people can also rationalize it. That being said, it is still a rationalization. IMO, people do not have an inherent right to free entertainment.

I broke down and subscribed to HBO this year for the first time ever because I didn't want to wait to see True Blood and it isn't available on iTunes. I was hoping to just buy the eps and it may be something that I also buy on DVD, but I won't steal it through the Internet just because I might later buy it and I wouldn't be hurting anyone. I will pay the extra ten bucks a month and will consider the 4 or 5 shows a month that I get for that $10 bucks to be cheaper than paying $15 to go to a movie.
I respectfully disagree TamaraC. If there's actually no-one hurt, no one losing from downloading then it goes from "rationalisation" to just "rational". Which is to say, if, through reasonable argument, we can show that no-one's deprived of anything then it's actually not wrong (stealing isn't wrong because it says so in some book but because someone's actually hurt by it. If no-one's hurt then it's not wrong, it's not even stealing in fact, no-matter how it's spun by interested parties - "no harm, no foul" as I think you guys put it ;).

As I say, it's a strange idea that you might actually be able to get something for nothing without hurting anyone, our first instinct is to assume that just can't be right somehow because before digital information that just didn't happen, the transfer of "stuff" was zero sum - what I had you didn't and vice versa. Nonetheless, I think under certain circumstances it is possible and if it's not wrong then the justification for it isn't a rationalisation because rationalisations are about excuses and these are reasons (that's not just logic chopping, there really is a tangible difference between excusing a behaviour you know to be wrong and providing reasons why it isn't wrong in the first place IMO, YMMV ;).

(note though the "certain circumstances" have narrowed for me over the course of this discussion and there are a few reasons - both technical to do with how Bittorrent works and on the basis of imperfect foreknowledge - that mean in practice I don't think you can download with a free conscience unless you buy the DVDs or compensate the relevant parties some other way)
Saje, I respect and understand how you have come to your conclusions and I am glad this discussion has possibly brought new ideas. I can't control anyone's behavior except my own and even though I have downloaded shows in the past using file sharing networks, I have learned too much since then to feel at all ok with it. So, I think in the end we are agreeing. :) Crazy, huh?
Blimey, I think we might at that - has that ever happened before ? I feel like we should have a parade or something ;-).

Anyhoo, i'm off to, ahem, make a list of DVDs for purchase in the near-ish future. Purely by coincidence you understand ;).
While I can see where Sajes logic goes my opinion on filesharing hinges more on availability than anything else, do the filesharers pay as much as the big media expects ? Probably not, but this is a negotiation in progress, provide the shows when we want them not 6 months or 12 months later than the first run and there will be payment, still not as much as some people would like but some anyway.

With the internet we have a tool for the quick global dissemination of popular culture (films/music/tv) and the new social experiences that comes with the worldwide watercooler talk we enjoy so much here on the W but the methods and business models of media distribution haven't yet changed to allow for this, ergo filesharing/torrents.
If tools like an international Hulu with a good selection of shows where made available it would take away a large part of the incentive for filesharing, IMO most people just want to watch their entertainment on a common worldwide schedule, used right the internet can make it possible.
Ok I think I just went into a trance, became really smart and proceeded to eloquently type out my thoughts on this matter. But for some reason it says it was posted by some 'jpr'...? Weird.
So those where your thoughts I picked up ? Maybe it's part of a ... wait for it ... pattern.

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