iView hearts Dr. Who, adds Spicks and Specks.

Further proof that offering online content ahead of shows screening on air doesn’t necessarily undermine a television broadcast comes with the result of the ABC’s iView premiere of Doctor Who.

ABC netted more than 112,000 views of the BBC drama over the weekend. The show wasn’t added online until 12am Saturday morning.

Last night, against some stiff competition, it still pulled 1,033,000 viewers. Some TV Tonight readers indicated they enjoyed watching it a second time on air.

In the week ending April 18, iView recorded a total of 224,000 visitors, 540,000 visits and 2.8 million page views.

“The response we’ve had to the Doctor Who premiere makes it very clear that Australians want to watch television episodes on their computers and game consoles,” says Director of Television, Kim Dalton. “We’ll be looking to offer more special programming on iView and to that end, I’m delighted to announce that our most requested program, Spicks and Specks will be available on iView from this Wednesday night.”

Until now the show has been tricky to include due to music rights.

Who isn’t the first time a network has premiered new work online, with Sea Patrol also premiering online in 2007 ahead of its TV debut.

Networks are joining online audiences with every passing month. Last week Nine launched its FIXPlay platform via NineMSN.

The Doctor Who episode is available to watch on iView until Sunday May 2nd.


  1. @Mac, Yes, the PS3 iView is terrible. I’m watching on a 46″ Sony Bravia LCD screen @ 1080p. Also, my internet connection is fast cable broadband. So there shouldn’t be any bandwidth problems. What size screen are you watching on? You *are* making the iView full-screen aren’t you? Watching iView in the window box doesn’t count. When made fullscreen, resolution should be at least equivalent to broadcast SD, otherwise this is doomed to failure. And HD should be the next logical step.

  2. RE: iView picture quality.
    Depending on your connection, and whether your currently downloading other material, the iView interface may downgrade the quality of the picture I believe, to accomodate for it having less bandwithe.

    Try iView at another house, or check whether you can change any settings.
    I *think* im right about this

  3. Neon Kitten,

    Why do you always find an excuse to complain about everything? The ABC should be congratulated for providing an excellent service like iView, not criticised. Most international tech-heads agree that iView comes second only to the BBC’s iPlayer. Maybe you should just upgrade from your Commodore 64 already?

  4. Congratulations to all those at ABC , just goes to show that putting shows on the net first isn’t a bad thing, I was one the ones who watched it a second time on TV

  5. @No_Netfilter: I don’t think a ratings figure spun out of the viewing habits of a few thousand people (that are almost certainly not core Doctor Who fans) really says much about how many viewers were lost due to the episode being available online in HD two weeks beforehand.

    And I’m not sure it matters, since ratings are meant to be irrelevant to the ABC.

    @CAM: 100% agreed, the picture quality on iView on the PS3 is embarrassingly awful. I only ever use it for catching up with missed episodes of Media Watch (where the blockiness often makes it hard to read on-screen text) or things like 7.30 Report. For drama, it’s pointless unless you’re desperate.

  6. Having not been able to wait i watched it via alternate means first, then on iView wasnt home friday, sat or sunday though so i missed the live airing. Havent seen the any more than the first ep though, i tried hard to wait and sync up with ABC.

    Great news about S&S that was the first program i went to view after iView was launched only to find they didn’t have it (stupid rights issues) great work to the people involved in cutting the red tape.

  7. @Timmuh – I am sure that confidential episodes start from next week on TV.
    They are displayed in the online tv guide for next week. I thought

    Not sure of the reason that confidential was not shown this week, maybe cos they ran out of time last night to show it ?

  8. In some ways its not a bad idea for other programs. In the case of Who its a;ready well known. But for some other shows, word of mouth can be as important as incessant advertising. Allowing a program to be on the web first, where it will not get the same viewership as on TV gives a chance for word of mouth to build before the premiere. Of course, if the program is crap, that would get out as well – so there isn’t much chance of Channel Ten doing a pre-release on the net.

    I have to say though, I was very disappointed Confidential didn’t get aired, and this year appears to only be for those with iView. One of the stated reasons for moving to Sunday nights was to allow for Confidential (cut down, we don’t get the full thing in Australia for some reason, even on DVD releases) to be shown after the episode.

  9. With the consistently good numbers being racked up by Doctor Who these days, I only hope that the ABC manages to hold on to it. I realise UKTV slip in a couple of ad breaks when they air it, but it just wouldn’t be the same on a commercial network.

  10. Anyone who is an iView forum regular is bored witless by the number of program requests for Spicks and Specks. Well done to the lawyers who have worked their way through that particular maze.

  11. So Kim. You think that it’s clear that Aussie’s want to watch content on computers? How about hurrying up and releasing a plug in for Windows Media Center and make us all happy?

  12. David – No typo? Dr. Who pulled over a million?! That’s Brilliant!

    Great news on Spicks & Specks. There’s a couple of shows (most notably Good Game), which I’ll watch it on iView if I miss it. Same will now go for Spicks.

  13. Bereft Skerrick

    Last night was my 3rd viewing of the episode. The 2nd viewing was at midnight on iView.

    And it’s about time S&S became available!

  14. No_Netfilter

    Another dispelled myth is that those who manage to see the program by another means prior to its local broadcast undermine ratings figures. Iview was only a belated 2nd opportunity to see this episode for a lot a fans, yet both iView and the televised broadcast were popular as fans remained loyal.

    Also, I don’t think anybody mentioned that iView also offers the ‘Confidential’ behind the scenes program (cutdown edit) that relates to this episode. ABC TV did not broadcast it on air, probably due to the extended 1 hour runtime of the first episode.

  15. Madame Tango

    I think Who in particular is such a multi-layered show that the more views you get of it the better!! Great to see that iview will continue to have it all through the series although now it will switch back to being show after the television screening!!

  16. iView is a great idea on my PS3, but the video and audio quality is terrible. Very low resolution, worse than YouTube.

    When will iView get high bitrate, high quality vision and audio, even HD?

    Currently it is probably 25% the quality of even normal Standard Def broadcast TV.

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