In what turned out to be a rather extraordinary admission, Seven boss Tim Worner told yesterday’s ReThink TV forum in Sydney that he felt the calibre of TV shows served-up by the networks, and not just his, over the past couple of years had not been as strong as they should have been.
Worner was part of a Q&A session that featured Ten boss Paul Anderson, Nine boss Hugh Marks and Foxtel chief Peter Tonagh.
Worner told the audience that, historically, Australia had a fantastic history of making excellent local content, often exporting it around the globe. Adding that it was up to all the networks to lift their game and to “reduce the friction between us and our customers”.
“The last couple of years, with TV shows, I don’t reckon we’ve been at our best as an industry,” Worner revealed. “I don’t know how the room feels about that, but that’s how I feel. (Australian TV) has been though better periods and better periods will come.
“We’ve shown a propensity to adapt as a medium and we’ll do that again. I think there are better shows on the way and I am quietly confident about that. I just reckon we’ve been a bit off and that happens in television.
“I just think we’ve haven’t been at our best. Look, we’ve been through some great periods of television in Australia and we should be really proud of that,” he said.
Worner added that the Australian TV industry was regarded as, arguably, the most competitive television market in the world and because of that it “sets the bar very high and makes us compete to a level of excellence and we’re exporting our ideas around the world”.
However, Worner’s comments weren’t enthusiastically endorsed by his fellow CEOs. Although Nine’s Hugh Marks did add: “As Tim said, I don’t think as an industry we’ve been that great on our content and the competition got skewed. But as an industry I think we’ve come to terms with what the future looks like.”