Screen Australia has given ABC’s iview its stamp of approval as the leading Free to Air catch-up site for fresh TV content (we knew that already).
It ranks SBS second followed by TEN, Seven and Nine -but Nine did offer the most in terms of hours of content.
Screen Australia monitored the sites for four weeks from 13 February 2012, coinciding with the start of ratings.
The platforms varied in terms of the number of titles, the number of hours and the number of recently-broadcast titles.
The results were as follows:
ABC iview: 184
SBS On Demand: 87
TEN Watch TV: 71
Seven Plus7: 43
Nine NineMSN Video: 23
ABC iview: 97%
SBS On Demand: 85%
TEN Watch TV: 60%
Nine NineMSN Video: 54%
Seven Plus7: 51%.
Nine NineMSN Video: 345
ABC iview: 305
TEN Watch TV: 251
SBS On Demand: 214
Seven Plus7: 192
Of all the catch-up sites, iview led the field with the most new content. Nine offered plenty of content, but it was dominated by library titles such as McLeod’s Daughters series 5–8 and Sea Patrol series 1–5.
38 per cent of titles (157 programs) and 58% of hours were Australian.
It also looked at the various strategies of each site:
Of all the services, iView offers the largest amount of content in terms of titles. Over the fourweek survey period, iView offered 184 titles on average each week, totalling approximately 305 hours of content. iView primarily provides recently broadcast content, with back catalogue or exclusive content comprising only 3 per cent of titles and 2 per cent of hours. iView’s back catalogue or exclusive content included UK documentary series Peschardt’s People, classic animated series Astro Boy, and Untidy Desk, a series presenting live music performances. iView is distinguished by the substantial amount of children’s and preschool content, which is generally under-represented on the other services; in contrast, SBS On Demand and NineMSN Video had no children’s content, while Plus7 and Watch TV had a handful of titles. The ABC reports that children’s programs are amongst the most successful content on iView. Children’s content garners a relatively high number of plays in part because the programs typically have short durations, longer windows of availability and more episodes available at any one time.
SBS On Demand
SBS On Demand had the second-largest content offering in terms of titles, providing on average 87 titles a week, totalling approximately 214 hours of content.SBS On Demand is the only catch-up TV service to regularly offer feature films, with 16 films available on average each week. Although feature films achieve relatively low ratings on SBS broadcast channels, due in large part to airing outside peak viewing periods, they frequently appeared in the ’Most Popular‘ category of SBS On Demand. The types of programs on SBS On Demand broadly reflect its recent broadcast schedule, with an emphasis on food programming and documentary. SBS On Demand also offers back catalogue content consisting primarily of local productions, for example variety showRocKwiz, current affairs series Living Black and animated series World Tales.
There were on average 43 titles available on Plus7 each week, totalling approximately 192 hours of content. The recently broadcast programs largely consisted of primetime Australian and US drama and reality series. Exceptions included infotainment series Better Homes and Gardens, sports panel series Santo Sam and Ed’s Sports Fever and US documentary series Universe. Plus7 is notable for its large back catalogue, which accounted for 79 per cent of the hours available per week on average. This programming comes from a range of content partnerships including Sony Pictures International Television and Comcast International Media Group and includes offerings such as episodes of US variety series Saturday Night Live dating back to 1976 and US drama series Just Shoot Me, The Jeff Foxworthy Show and Ned and Stacy. These content partnerships allow Plus7 to offer television programs that have not aired on Australian free-to-air TV or have aired on other local networks.
Although NineMSN Video had the most limited offering in terms of titles, on average 23 per week, these titles accounted for a large number of hours – approximately 345 per week. 92 per cent of the hours available on NineMSN Video were back catalogue content. With the exception of UK series Thunderbirds, all were local productions.The recently broadcast content on NineMSN Video comprised US, UK and Australian drama, reality and documentary programs.
Watch TV (Network Ten)
Watch TV had the largest and most varied content offering of the commercial networks, presenting programs from across the broadcast day and from a greater variety of genres. There were on average 71 titles available each week, totalling approximately 251 hours of content. Watch TV differs from the other services by offering separate websites for Ten’s digital multichannels Eleven and One, whereas the other services integrate multi-channel content and main channel content on the one website. Watch TV also provides separate catch-up TV iOS apps for the main broadcast channel, Eleven and Ten Sports. Watch TV features comprehensive archives of local reality and infotainment productions such as Masterchef, Junior Masterchef, Ready Steady Cook as well as preschool series Wurrawhy. Watch TV’s online exclusive content also includes a monthly set of episodes from classic TV series airing on digital multi-channel Eleven, which can only be accessed online.
There is also info on the availability on devices, and info on how long the material is generally available for.
But there doesn’t seem to be any specific data on multichannel content (why isn’t Survivor available please Nine?) or on how quickly networks are adding the content after broadcast.
Screen Australia’s Strategy and Research Manager Matthew Deaner said, “With 94 per cent of Australians consuming on average three hours of television a day, networks’ on-demand services will play a key role in driving online viewing as the market matures.
“The moves taken by the biggest media companies into emerging markets online are what potentially set the trends for audiences. It’s important for the industry to understand the broadcasters programming strategies and what’s on offer in the online space.”
You can read the full report at Spotlight on Catch-up TV: Television Content on Demand, Screen Australia, June 2012.