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Analysis and Comment (21)

The Ten newsroom is already stripped down to minimums - The Project, for all its merits, is still mostly opinion about news. The Ten newsroom is already stripped down to minimums - The Project, for all its merits, is still mostly opinion about news. AAP/ Channel Ten

The end is nigh for full service, free-to-air television in Australia

Out the hotel window in Istanbul, the minarets of the Blue Mosque were visible over the roof tops and, on TV, a choice of 600 channels awaited me. Yet, not one of those channels resembled the full service…
A fundamental aspect of drama is the need for rising tension. A fundamental aspect of drama is the need for rising tension. Maria

Tepid TV? Australia needs to sharpen its cutting edge

A special thing happened in August this year: Foxtel launched BBC First, a premium channel showcasing the best of contemporary British television drama. As a global channel that chose Australia as its…
Grant Denyer gets ready for action on set. Grant Denyer gets ready for action on set. Channel 10

Family Feud’s return confirms the state of game shows in Australia

Family Feud returns to our television screens tonight as part of Ten’s desperate scramble to remain a viable entity, and is scheduled to compete with Seven and Nine’s main news bulletins at 6pm. For those…
Death in Paradise has proven a rating’s hit for the ABC – why would that be? Death in Paradise has proven a rating’s hit for the ABC – why would that be? ABC

Australia’s screen industry workers should watch more TV

Television is a voracious medium – and yet I would argue many of those commissioning screen content in Australia have little appetite for experimentation. Australia’s digital free-to-air service, in metropolitan…
The reimagining of previous Prisoner characters brings depth and empathy to a world of female criminals. The reimagining of previous Prisoner characters brings depth and empathy to a world of female criminals. FOXTEL

Why Wentworth is raising the bar in Australian TV drama

There’s no escaping it. Wentworth, FremantleMedia’s reimagining of the Reg Grundy cult classic TV series Prisoner, is packing a punch far above its weight – and probably all industry expectations. A project…
Surf, sand and unthreatening bush? Not here, thanks. Surf, sand and unthreatening bush? Not here, thanks. ABC

Dr Blake … and cinematography as a screen character

Most Australian TV drama series are full of light … and full of surf, sand and suburbs or endless horizons and unthreatening bush. But one series that returned to ABC TV last month has a distinctive and…
TV ratings are starting to factor in viewership on iPads and other mobile devices. TV ratings are starting to factor in viewership on iPads and other mobile devices. Irish Typepad/Flickr

TV ratings are on holidays, but viewing isn’t

Having the numbers is a matter of life or death for both subscription and free-to-air commercial television broadcasters. So when it was revealed Oztam, the television ratings agency, would factor into…
There’s something very Melbourne about Jack Irish: Bad Debts. There’s something very Melbourne about Jack Irish: Bad Debts. AAP Images;ABC Television, Lachlan Moore

Location, location, location: a key character in good TV drama

Television is always located somewhere, even if the place is imaginary. And programs such as Dr Who move effortlessly between real and imagined worlds. Once, mid-Pacific (or mid-Atlantic) was a term for…
Casting stars such as Rachel Griffiths isn’t enough to overcome a broken distribution system. Casting stars such as Rachel Griffiths isn’t enough to overcome a broken distribution system. Paul Miller/AAP

The horror at the heart of Australian cinema

There’s more than one reason the new Australian film Patrick – released last month – is a horror story. Sure, it’s a fright flick, based on the 1978 orginal, in which a creepy coma patient uses telekinesis…
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s response to the Convergence Review includes significant benefits for commercial free-to-air broadcasters. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s response to the Convergence Review includes significant benefits for commercial free-to-air broadcasters. AAP

Free-to-air broadcasters win big in government’s media reforms

Late on Friday 30 November, the day after the last parliamentary sitting day for the year, the government released its first official response to the Convergence Review. Seven months after the Review’s…
Most of us cringe, but the type of Australia portrayed in the new show, The Shire is very telling. Most of us cringe, but the type of Australia portrayed in the new show, The Shire is very telling. AAP Image/Supplied by Network Ten, Nigel Wright

Botox, McMansions and whitewashing: the glossy neoliberalism of The Shire

The first episode of The Shire ran last night on Channel 10. Described as “dramality” – a combination of drama and reality television – the show purports to show the lives of young people living in Sutherland…
ABC’s The Slap investigates the complex and very personal views of those at the heart of a smacking case. ABC’s The Slap investigates the complex and very personal views of those at the heart of a smacking case. ABC

The legality of ‘The Slap’

In last night’s ABC program, The Slap, an impulsive slap changed everything. A man struck someone else’s child at a barbecue provoking a legal challenge. In real life, that would be an assault, though…
Australia’s classification system has been updated to ensure the audience can judge whether content is appropriate for them. Australia’s classification system has been updated to ensure the audience can judge whether content is appropriate for them. Flickr/kennymatic

Bringing media classification into the digital era

Media classification in Australia is being dragged into the digital world. At the moment it’s based on analog legislation, unsuited for today’s convergent media. But proposals unveiled today will transform…
The Murdoch crisis in the UK raises many questions about media ownership in Australia. The Murdoch crisis in the UK raises many questions about media ownership in Australia. AAP/William West

Media ownership matters: why politicians need to take on proprietors

The Gillard Government’s media inquiry is to disregard the crucial issues of bias and concentration of media ownership, despite Bob Brown’s demands for wider terms of reference. This is, at best, misled…
At Home With Julia follows the tradition of poking fun at politicians' personal lives. At Home With Julia follows the tradition of poking fun at politicians' personal lives. ABC Television publicity

Getting personal in At Home With Julia: The tradition of satire

I was waiting for her to say “he touched me in nooks and in unexplored crannies I never knew I had” but it was not to be. For the rest of the episode, however, the lead in At Home With Julia sounded like…
The AFL may bypass broadcasters altogether and stream games live to fans. The AFL may bypass broadcasters altogether and stream games live to fans. AAP

Non-stop AFL: Andrew Demetriou has an app for that

Interesting to read AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou’s thoughts on the next broadcasting rights deal, given that the league has yet to work out how to divvy up the money from the deal it recently negotiated with…
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou announces the league’s record TV rights deal. AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou announces the league’s record TV rights deal. AAP

Too much live sport is never enough

The lucrative broadcast rights deal signed earlier this year by the AFL demonstrates the pulling power of “live” sport in a TV market which is increasingly becoming fragmented by more choice on more platforms…
Participants in “Go back to where you came from” had their attitudes towards refugees challenged. Participants in “Go back to where you came from” had their attitudes towards refugees challenged. SBS: Go back to where you came from

Go back to where you came from: Reality TV encounters the refugee crisis

Tonight, during World Refugee Week, SBS One premieres Go Back to Where You Came From. Over three nights the series plunges six Australian participants into the intense fear and desperation of the refugee/asylum…
Chris Lilley’s Gran character is written too large to be ignored. Chris Lilley’s Gran character is written too large to be ignored. ABC Television publicity

Mockumentary’s ‘beautiful confusion’ animates Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys

Last night’s premiere of Chris Lilley’s third mockumentary series, Angry Boys, was a reminder that television comedy in Australia as we once knew it has changed forever. In the wake of the popular successes…
The Australian media landscape is undergoing another wave of consolidation. The Australian media landscape is undergoing another wave of consolidation.

WAN horse town just the beginning for media mergers

West Australian Newspapers' $4.1B proposed purchase of the Seven Media Group to create the country’s biggest listed media group is correctly viewed by industry insiders as the start of a wider consolidation…