Australian TV Show Says Free Downloads And Fan Uploads On YouTube Increase DVD Sales

from the what-a-surprise dept

Remember the producers of a TV show in Australia who were pissed off when YouTube took down their show, The Chasers, when some kid sent in a fake DMCA request? Want to know why they were pissed? Because they actually understood the promotional value of having the show on YouTube. David writes in to let us know that the producers are thrilled with having the show online (they offer it on their own site and encourage people to upload it to YouTube) because it's helped them sell a lot more DVDs to people in Australia and has also helped the sell the show to networks in other countries around the world. Yes, giving it away free is helping them make more money -- who would have thought that was possible? Oh, right... lots of folks who don't work for the American entertainment industry. Yet, the American entertainment industry will continue to insist that this is not only impossible, but that sites like YouTube need to put in place filters that will block unauthorized content. However, this clearly shows how useless those filters will be. How will they know what content is "unauthorized" when producers of shows like this one want it on YouTube and every other platform and want people to share it -- knowing that it's helping them make a lot more money?

In the meantime, since they seem to encourage it, and we love it when smart companies know how to use content properly to make money, here's a random clip from an episode of The Chasers:



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Chris, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 8:31am

    It's true

    I would have never seen The Chasers War on Everything if it hadn't been for youtube. The truth is that it is the funniest show on TV anywhere. Whose Line is it Anyway is the next funniest.

    Great show, wish the American ABC would pick it up though

     

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  2.  
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    TiredofLame, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 8:52am

    Different Interests at Stake

    Mike,

    1. The show is paid for by Australian tax dollars- public television. Of course it is in the public TV interest to give it away for free. That's what public television does. The Australian taxpayer ultimately gets to decide on this and they may or may not want this agenda from their public institution.

    2. Of course the producers want it distributed for free because the public TV will order more episodes.

    3. If a TV station in the US were to syndicate it, early on the free publicity would be valuable to them and then later would lower their return on investment and they would not want it distributed for free. That does present an interesting challenge for YouTube because Australian public TV may want it distributed but a US company may be able to do a take down notice

    Mike you act like because the producers (#2) motivation above is met that they are the only party involved. Please broaden you analysis to take into account why the world acts like it does instead of constantly acting naive and surprised when different rights holders and developers have different agendas depending on the life of their product cycle. You do call yourself an analyst- act like one or otherwise you are just pandering.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 9:07am

    I forsee a statement from some MPAA/RIAA representative about Australia going back to its roots as a colony for criminals once they learn about this.

    Go, Aussies! Show us how it's done!

     

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  4.  
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    wifezilla, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 9:32am

    Thanks!

    That was damn funny!

    And I never would have heard about it, been interested in it, or seen it if it wasn't for YouTube.

    Hey stupid media people! Embed ads in your clips and give them away. You WILL mke money. Of course, it helps if you stuff doesn't SUCK...but one step at a time.

     

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  5.  
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    GoblinJuice, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    Upside down land!

    It's upside down land, so it doesn't apply to the United States. :-P

    Summer is winter, winter is summer, etc, etc, etc.

     

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  6.  
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    A Nonny Moose, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 9:46am

    LOL

    No wonder YouTube helped sales! That was hilarious!

     

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  7.  
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    Bob Jones, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 9:57am

    I wish a UK broadcaster would pick it up, they could make some money, the Aussie network could make money, and everybody wins.

    What most media companies ignore in YouTube is that most people can't be bothered posting full episodes and most people can't be bothered watching them, I watch clips on YouTube, having to navigate to 5 different files for a 30 minute show is not my idea of fun ... its a teaser, I see what I like and I'll try get it legally, or "commercially", if they don't provide it commercially, nobody wins.

     

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  8.  
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    discojohnson, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 10:13am

    Re: Different Interests at Stake

    not to put too much weight on anything from wikipedia, but there's an entry about ABC-TV and the parent is correct that it's a public television channel.

     

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  9.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 14th, 2007 @ 10:18am

    Re: Different Interests at Stake

    The show is paid for by Australian tax dollars- public television. Of course it is in the public TV interest to give it away for free. That's what public television does. The Australian taxpayer ultimately gets to decide on this and they may or may not want this agenda from their public institution.

    That has no impact on the fact that this is helping them make more money. They're selling more DVDs and they're getting syndication orders in other countries. No one is doing that because it's public TV. No one cares.

    It still proves the point that giving the content away can make you more money. The fact that it's produced by public TV is meaningless in this case.

    Of course the producers want it distributed for free because the public TV will order more episodes.

    But TiredofLame, you spent this entire week insisting that giving away stuff for free couldn't help you do better. And yet, here you are, showing that giving away stuff increases demand for ancillary products. So which is it? Does giving away content increase or decrease demand?

    If a TV station in the US were to syndicate it, early on the free publicity would be valuable to them and then later would lower their return on investment and they would not want it distributed for free.

    Why would you say that? These guys have clearly shown that it has only increased demand, and increased their ROI, not decreased it. It's not "free publicity" it's *increasing their return*.

     

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  10.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 14th, 2007 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Different Interests at Stake

    not to put too much weight on anything from wikipedia, but there's an entry about ABC-TV and the parent is correct that it's a public television channel.

    Again, that shouldn't make any difference in whether or not it increases sales of the DVD or allows them to syndicate it better. It's still a perfectly valid example.

    It's not like people are saying, "oh, I'll buy the DVD because it's public TV." No, they're saying, "damn, that's funny, I'll buy the DVD." That doesn't change if it's public TV or private.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 10:28am

    Re: Different Interests at Stake

    1) It actually makes no difference if its on public television or not. It'd be different if it were *owned* and created by public television and what not, then it'd make a difference. but to the creators and owners of the show, it makes no difference to them that they're paid to put it on a specific channel or not. DVD sales have nothing to do with public television.

    2) That doesn't make sense. Why would public television order more episodes because of that? I don't see the connection. There may be a connection, but its in no way a direct one nor that glaringly obvious.

    3) You offer no proof to say that later on it would lower the return in their investment. Not offering it for free could also lower the return in their investment. Its a crap shoot either way. Neither method guarantees anything.


    Your analysis and conclusions are shoddy and not backed by any examples whatsoever. Mike always offers examples and evidence to back his statements up. I see none from you whatsoever. Mike also explains his position. You just say things as if its fact.

    Virtually all of Mike's opinions are backed by numerous articles. I don't think I've seen one article he's written NOT have a link to one or more articles offering evidence to base his decision upon.

    And I still don't understand what you wanted to say with "Mike you act like because the producers (#2) motivation above is met that they are the only party involved." Please clarify if you happen to read this.

     

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  12.  
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    TiredofLame, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 10:58am

    Thanks for the clarification request

    Quote from post #11 above:

    "And I still don't understand what you wanted to say with "Mike you act like because the producers (#2) motivation above is met that they are the only party involved." Please clarify if you happen to read this."

    Sorry anonymous, I did not express this very well. Producers as a group (depending if they are in house or independent) are suppliers and can have concurrent interests with the networks they sell to or antagonistic relationships that evolve over time. Just as a musician (producer) may contract to sell music thru a label. To illustrate from the music side (and I'm sorry I don't recall the names involved-someone else can chime in) there was a case just in the last 6 months where a label musician was doing all kind of announcements to download my stuff for free because the musician would get the concert revenue. However the label told the artist to cease and desist with offering up the labels stuff for free. I was trying to point out that what is of more interest from an analytical standpoint is to sort out the motivations of the different players and different industries involved.

    Another aside, the producers (who look like a bright bunch) could intend to break the show on public TV and YouTube and then when that contract runs out- take a higher bid with a commercial TV syndication having used the "free" system correctly to establish their brand. However, the new contract to get the highest dollar may stipulate that episodes will not be avail for free (or that the commerical station will share in ad revenue from Youtube). In that case, the motivations of the different parties may change and the producers/new TV network could do take down notices to YouTube.

    I have always said there is a place for "free stuff" with the clear stipulation that it is entirely logical and plausible to turn around and make it "unfree" later. It is Mike who is trying to introduce the radical theory that "everything should be free all the time". I realize that last sentence is a gross caricature of Mike's argument but I don't know or care to make it shorter. Actually Mike's duty as the popularizer of his idea to come up with the 10 second elevator pitch synopsis of his idea that does it justice- it's not my job to do that.

     

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  13.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 11:02am

    Re: Different Interests at Stake


    Please broaden you analysis to take into account why the world acts like it does instead of constantly acting naive and surprised when different rights holders and developers have different agendas depending on the life of their product cycle.


    But the thing is different rights holders and developers do have the same agenda. And that is to make sure their product is the number one choice and make the life of product cycle last as long as possible, in order to make as much money as possible for as long as possible. This is why you have tv shows that start slow, pick up momentum, and then slow down until they fade away. During the times of momentum the makers of the show work frantically to keep the show on top and when they run out of ideas instead of ending the show while it is top they drag it out to squeeze those last few dollars from the loyal fans.

    So yes different holders have the same agenda the diffrence is how to fullfil said agenda. The people behind that Austrailian show thought the best way was to circulate it anywhere and everywhere for free, with the thought that giving some of the show away will cause people to go out and buy the full episodes or at least watch them on tv. RIAA/MPAA think the best way is to lock it down so that they have absolute control over how the content is circulated.

     

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  14.  
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    TiredofLame, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 11:28am

    Good Follow up

    Quote from Sanguine Dream:

    "So yes different holders have the same agenda the diffrence is how to fullfil said agenda."

    Not always, ever wonder why shows at the peak of their popularity go off the air (Friends, Sopranos, the list is endless)?

    The prime time networks hate to lose those shows, the fans hate to lose those shows. However the producers make more money at that crossover point after it goes into permanent reruns and no new product because then the show can run on multiple cable channels and at multiple times or even 24 hours straight of Friends.

    My point is that in any business partnership, the needs diverge over time. I agree with you that early on the producer and the networks motivations are aligned.

     

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  15.  
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    comboman, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 11:28am

    Re: Different Interests at Stake

    Whether they are public television or not makes no difference. BBC is public television and they took a hissy fit when someone posted the new Dr. Who on-line. I don't think many PBS shows are available on-line either.

     

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  16.  
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    GoblinJuice, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Different Interests at Stake

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 12:13pm

    All the people who complain about youtube stealing profits etc... seem to think that youtube is some kind of super awesome service that isntantly gives you what you want.

    Watching anything via youtube drives me mad. Shows are split into different parts, it takes ages to load, you have to find decent quality rips and so on... I see a show via youtube, and I watch some stuff, then for the sheer convenience of it, I buy the DVD (if applicable, there are no region 2 MST3K dvds, unfortunately). It's a pain in the ass to watch stuff via streaming video.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 12:36pm

    Re:

    ... and you completely missed the point.

    Sometimes I have to wait in line at the video store. Sometimes they don't sell television series seasons in one DVD box! Who cares?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 3:02pm

    Chaser & ABC TV & Youtube

    An Aussie news site has a relevent interview up today, nicely timed I thought.
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/web/offshore-interest-for-chasers-stunts/2007/06/13/11814143 62929.html

    Two relevent quotes from the interview.

    "the ABC would continue allowing international viewers to download episodes from the ABC website and YouTube for the foreseeable future, regardless of any deals with international networks"

    and

    "As a public broadcaster which wants its content to be seen in as many parts of the world on as many platforms as possible, and has a commitment to access and equity and material being available for free, then it's absolutely vital that we are pretty loose and liberal with the use of our content"

     

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  20.  
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    Vincent McBurney, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 8:30pm

    This show has gone viral

    This series started off in a later timeslot with a much smaller audience, along the way it went viral, got switched to prime time and made it into the national top 10. The previous Chaser series CNNNN was just as good but not nearly as popular - I think YouTube has made a big difference this time around.

    It's the kind of edgy comedy that commercial TV is too conservative to try. Thank goodness Australia has the ABC! The ABC runs on a tight budget and needs the money from DVD sales to keep producing shows. They do not run commercials on air so they are not impacted if the audience switches from the broadcast to the download version of the show. If the show downloads are averaging 167,000 per week that's about 15% of the size of the Australian broadcast audience, commercial channels may not be thrilled with the idea of losing that many viewers away from ratings and advertisements.

     

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  21.  
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    Chris, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Thanks for the clarification request

    Well, I doubt that the chasers will be moving to another network. They even said it in one of their videos...
    See, here it is!
    This show is the perfect example (at least, in my opinion) of what a good comedy show should be. And as an added bonus, the directors know how to market it, the broadcasting company knows that free is better for this show, and there is no organization like the RIAA/MPAA anywhere

     

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  22.  
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    Chris, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 8:41pm

    Re: This show has gone viral

    Are you saying that the only reason they allow the videos to be downloaded for free is because they have no ads?

    If so you are wrong. Having a free version of almost any video or piece of software and then having a version with more features, or something else that is attractive, is the key to making free profitable.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 3:21am

    Re: Thanks for the clarification request

    Mike has never said everything should be free all of the time. He's never even necessarily said that music has to be free. I doubt he'd be all that upset if all music were available DRM-free for a reasonable price per download. It's just people are upset that the RIAA/MPAA and other entertainment companies are shooting themselves in the foot with the way they are doing things. They could *easily* make *more* money, but they're not. They're not doing it because they think it will get more money. They're doing it because everyone will see they may not be necessary anymore.

     

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  24.  
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    tammy maveety, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 10:25am

    austrailian soaps

    was recently in austrailia, and was watching a few of their soaps and was wondering why i can't get them here. I really enjoyed watching Neighbours, Home and away, and Packed to the rafters. Why can i not get them on my internet?

     

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