The Free-To-Air Players Must Join Together To Fight The Disruptors

The Free-To-Air Players Must Join Together To Fight The Disruptors

Rarely a harmonious bunch, the three free-to-air stations appear to have agreed they need to collaborate more to counter the effects of new players in the market such as Netflix and Optus’s revamped digital offerings.

Seven, Nine and Ten will have to put their differences aside and work more collaboratively if they’re to keep their audience share already under threat from the SVOD players and other digital media outlets such as Optus who recently snared the rights to the English Premier League.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Seven’s chief digital officer Clive Dickens said: “We’re all seeing a significant amount of disruption [from technology players] and we have to innovate, disrupt or die. The best way to avoid dying is by collaborating as well as innovating.

“When everyone was glued in front of the lounge screen [consumers] had no choice but now consumers have choice and we need to respond,” he said.

Dickens believed that Seven, Nine and Ten should work together to direct viewers to programs no matter who aired them.

“Universal search is a low-hanging fruit and it’s already happening elsewhere in the world,” Mr Dickens added. “If you go to the BBC iPlayer and search for Coronation Street, which is not a BBC program or available on the iPlayer, it tells you where it is

“When you search for [rival search engine] Bing or for Apple on Google it doesn’t say ‘no, it doesn’t exist!’ but that’s the equivalent of what we do and it’s just immature and we’ve got to mature as an industry if we’re going to survive.”

Dickens comments mirrored Nine’s director of strategy, Melanie Kansil, who told an industry conference last week that the days of the free-to-air players “assassinating” each other needed to end

“I’m hopeful … that we can actually do work together to provide a great experience for consumers locally, recognising that if we don’t do something about it people at Facebook or Google will continue to encroach into our sweet spot of long-form premium content,” Kansil was quoted as saying.

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