After years of seeing the internet as a threat to their business, networks are now embracing its powers to help promote their product and save on costs.
Commercial networks are now offering online hubs for media to view previews of their content instead of the old method of posting DVD previews.
Seven was first cab off the rank with a fully-functioning “Screening Room” earlier this year. It allows journalists to log in and watch streaming episodes on their computers, instead of couriering DVDs. It features click-and-play eps of Packed to the Rafters, Bones, Desperate Housewives and more. They also include episode synopses, a complete network schedule and promo photos.
Last week Nine launched its own “Access” website with episodes of Tricky Business, The Block, The Mentalist and more. It also offers Press Releases, schedules, photos and talent bios.
Yesterday TEN invited media to register for its online media hub with episodes, press kits, images, episodic synopses, highlights, and ratings info.
Offering log-in platforms means journos can access materials with the click of a button instead of having to contact Publicity departments and wait for materials to be sent. They save on costs and labour.
But the old method does have a few advantages.
The quality of a DVD outstrips a streaming video every time. There’s nothing like watching a crystal clear Downton Abbey DVD on a big plasma instead of a patchy version on your computer that is subject to the speed of servers. The new platforms mean many journos will need to bump up their monthly download limits. And I love to multitask, watching an episode of Amazing Race while I’m happily working away on my laptop. These new-fangled platforms require me to stop work in order to watch every single episode, so it’s taxing on my time…
Aside from these issues these media hubs are the way of the future (and the headache of storage space for DVDs vanishes too).
ABC, SBS and Foxtel have offered online FTP sites for photos for years (something the commercials have foolishly ignored) but are yet to fully join the media hub race with previews. ABC has included a Preview Player for a long time, with select episodes being added for shows with a short turnaround from shooting to screening, such as The Gruen Transfer. Until now ABC Innovation has led the field here.
But now commercial networks have lifted their game, it’s a win for everyone.
Why didn’t they think of it earlier?