View Finder: Don’t blame Netflix for Channel 10’s financial woes

Nick Broughall 16 June 2017 NEWS

Netflix Okja

Although Netflix is now bigger than cable TV in the US, so it hasn't helped either.

The Australian TV industry is reeling this week from the news that Channel 10 has gone into voluntary administration. To be fair, the network has been struggling financially for a while now, so the news isn't exactly a surprise so much as it was unexpected.

While some on the internet have responded with hashtags on how to #fixnetworkten - which largely revolve around delivering more episodes of The Simpsons at primetime - others have dug a bit deeper to explain the cause of of the network's demise.

In his article on the ABC, Malcolm Sutton makes a convincing argument that the reason the network is in such dire straights right now isn't so much the rise of Netflix and YouTube, but more the younger demographic that natively skew towards those on demand platforms.

Channel 10 has long been focusing its programming strategy around younger demographics, from The Simpsons and Neighbours to The Bachelor. The problem with that strategy is that the younger demographic lacks the money to actually buy stuff from advertisers (too much money spent on smashed avo, I guess), and more importantly, they aren't "loyal" to either a network or programs. They're much more likely to surf around a whole range of digital options to find something to keep them entertained.

Channels 9 and 7 purposefully target older demographics with their programming choices, who are much more likely to stick with the same shows and have the money to buy products from advertisers.

While the industry still waits to see how the voluntary administration will play out, it's a definite wake up call for the other free-to-air networks. Because while the older demographic might be a great market right now, over time the kids of today aren't going to become more interested in their offerings in a world where YouTube creators offer infinite content for next to nothing, viewable at their leisure.

Still, Netflix is making an impact

While we can't hold Netflix accountable for Channel 10's woes, we can certainly give it some credit for the woes of US cable networks, with news today that in the first quarter of this year there were more Netflix subscribers than Cable TV subscribers.

The numbers came from a study from by Leichtman Research Group, and while it may sound dire for the Cable TV industry, it's important to note that it doesn't include satellite providers like DirectTV or phone based Pay TV delivery systems in the US.

In Australia, Netflix - and its competitors Stan and Amazon Prime Video - are certainly making an impact on Aussie viewing habits. But like in the US, we're still a while away before we can declare the end of the Pay TV industry.

Trailer of the week: Nobody Speak

A bit of a change of pace from the usual weekly trailers, Nobody Speak is a Netflix original documentary about how billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan's sex tape lawsuit against Gawker Media.

There's also a new trailer for the original film Okja, which looks incredible and arrives on 28 June.

Each week, View Finder rounds up the latest news in TV and movie streaming in Australia.

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