July 12, 2009

Multi-channel branding strategies

Posted in ABC1, Network Ten, SBS one tagged , , , , , , , at 7:35 pm by Give Me The Remote

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the multi channeling stategies being undertaken by the free networks.

  • ABC was first to kick off their second digital channel and choose to brand  similar to BBC (and others).. e.g. ABC1, ABC2, ABC3.
  • SBS has now followed the same lead, with SBS one and SBS two.
  • Network 10 on the otherhand have made their second channel a dedicated sports network called one HD.
  • Channel 9 look to be doing a similar thing and branding their station as a youth channel – in order to increase their marketshare in the much desired younger demographics
  • Channel 7 haven’t really done anything yet.

As I’ve written in my previous post, there are definite constraints with dedicating your HD channel to one genre of show.

I strongly believe that the ABC and SBS have selected the more intelligent format due to its lack of restrictions.

For example, at the moment most nights on SBS throughout July are filled with sport. They’ve stuck the Ashes on SBS one and Le Tour on SBS two. SBS one has the HD channel, so the cricket is in HD. When the cricket is not on, the cycling can switch to SBS one and grab the HD channel (or not, depending on what else is on)

Devil’s advocate says that switching serial programs between channels would confuse viewers. But I don’t believe we’re that stupid. If the cycling’s been on SBS one for the past week and I tune in to find the Ashes, I’m going to go to SBS two automatically. Informative idents and cross promotion help this. It’s a unified network across two channels. It works.

I can’t fathom why channel 10 has restricted themselves so much by dedicating the channel to sport. If the network had 5 different channels of course it would be fine to make one sports-only. However with 2 channels only, it’s just ridiculous to tie their hands so tight behind their back.


March 8, 2008


Posted in SBS one at 10:14 am by Give Me The Remote

Skins is over. It’s a little bit sad. Here was a perfect example of what a teen drama should be. Forget the niceties of Dawsons Creek, the spoilt rich kids in the O.C. and One Tree Hill. Start thinking Heartbreak High and you’re getting a little bit closer.


This show is very.. real. Real in the sense that these kids lives aren’t all rosy. There are some pretty far flung adventures that I imagine the majority of teens wouldn’t have experienced. But this is a telly show after all – it’s got to be interesting.

There’s quite a bit of drugs involved in the program – mainly smokables but occasionally pills and powder. There’s also a teacher/student sexual relationship, which doesn’t have any negative ramifications. In other words, there’s a lot of instances in this program of kids behaving badly.


How excellent, then, was it that SBS picked up this program rather than a commercial network (or even possibly the ABC). Anybody remember Californication? (Don’t worry there’s a second season of this coming) There is no way that Skins is tamer than Californication. If conservative, middle-aged parents actually watched SBS (more than World News and Inspector Rex), I don’t think they would like what they see. I think that perhaps being the ‘Special’ Broadcasting Service, parents often just turn a blind-eye and hope that their kids don’t realise that there is television not from 7,9 and 10.

But I’m so glad that the family groups didn’t try to shut this one down, because there are a lot of very important issues brought up in this show that are handled with care and a realness that forgets the icing sugar.

Each episode focuses on a different main character and tells their story, providing insights into their family life and inner torments. Cassie is struggling with an eating disorder, Jal faces the pressures of being gifted, Chris is abandoned by his parents and has a massive crush on his teacher, Sid’s parents separate, Islamic Anwar refuses to continue being friends with former best friend Maxxie because of his sexuality.

Tony is the manipulative alpha-male and Sid his submissive sidekick. Sid is in love with Tony’s girlfriend and doesn’t see that Cassie is in love with him. Cassie and Sids characters are the most likeable and evoke the most emotional response, due to their often unrequited generosity and selflessness.

The program is beautifully shot and the music is very independent (i.e. good!). The theme music by ‘Fat Segal’ is thoughtful and electronically ‘now’, whilst The Gossip’s ‘Standing in the way of control’ is the perfect signature turne. However, much of the music in the television show has been replaced by new tunes in the DVD release (I imagine due to copyright/royalties).

Season two is currently showing in the UK, but we probably won’t get it until next summer. The DVD release will surely come out quicker than that, but until then, go out and grab series 1 on DVD and (re)watch a very memorable television series.

November 19, 2007

SBS announces Aussie version of Top Gear

Posted in SBS one at 8:26 pm by Give Me The Remote

Very excellent news today with SBS announcing that they will be making a local version of Top Gear. It will be.. wait for it.. ‘uniquely and quintessentially Australian’. Quintessentially is such a long word. So yeah, it’s not just going to replicate the UK version in other words.

Top Gear
Top Gear hosts – Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May

Possible segments?

A race between a Smith St tram and a car? (The tram would have to be given a days head start)

Maybe a weekly segment.. Ford v Holden

Instead of racing Lamborghinis and Ferraris, pit a souped up Hilux against an XR8.

Actually I have been a bit of a fan of the Channel 9 car shows over the years. There’s probably some good stuff there that SBS can steal. Research, whatever.

Jeremy Clarkson

I love Jeremy Clarkson’s quote “I’m delighted that Top Gear is going to Australia. Maybe the first guest could be Jonny Wilkinson.”

Only after Shane Warne appears on your version buddy.

October 26, 2007

Newstopia.. genius.

Posted in SBS one at 12:43 pm by Give Me The Remote

The third episode of this grand new program aired on Wednesday and after a small blip in episode two, I reckon this one’s back on track and as good if not better than episode numero uno.

For those who stick to the big 4 television networks, this one’s hidden away on SBS. But really it’s quite simple. When you’ve finished watching the ABCs Wednesday funny lineup at 10, you just head to SBS for the last half hour.

Shaun Micallef hosts Newstopia
Shaun Micallef in Newstopia

The program is new satire. It’s everything that The Nation wasn’t. But mainly it’s snappier.. and well.. funnier. Whereas the Nation was a sort of slow 60 minute show with hit and miss regular interview guests (news, entertainment, sport), Newstopia is prepackaged into a tightly crafted nifty little show.

The man behind the program, Shaun Micallef is definitely not everyone’s perfect ideal of humour.. but he is mine. The program also guests a lot of familiar Australian comedy faces.. Nicholas Bell, Ed Kavalee, Roz Hammond, Kat Stewart, Bob Franklin, Ben Anderson. My favourite bits of Newstopia are when he’s introducing a story and then suddenly chucks in an unexpected one-liner, which is more often than not.. dodgy.

Here’s a couple of grabs that I extracted from this weeks episode..

Newstopia airs Wednesday 10:00pm on SBS.

August 30, 2007

ABC and SBS to merge?

Posted in ABC1, SBS one at 3:31 pm by Give Me The Remote

So there has been talk again lately about the viability of such a venture which would see the ABC swallow up SBS. Speaking at the National Press Club, SBS managing director Shaun Brown has said that should the station not receive an increase in funding, then future government’s may be tempted to make SBS merely a side service of the ABC.

SBS Managing Director, Shaun Brown
Shaun Brown

“Really, the only rationale for putting SBS inside the ABC would be to achieve commercialisation of the ABC by stealth – a sort of Trojan Horse,” said Mr Brown.


SBS has certainly been in the wars a bit lately thanks to their more ‘commercial’ strategy. A shift in programming and 5 minutes of ads per 30 minutes have seen the network cop criticism from all angles. But what choice do they have? They must remain viable.


It would be a tragedy if the ABC and SBS were to merge. They are complete separate entities and it is their independence from the commercial networks (and each other) that is at the very core of their being.

Election promises? I’m sure the SBS would like some.

Read the full article here..