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iview + you: The lowdown

ABC heads of department and Screen Australia managers give you the lowdown on how to work with iview as a marketplace attachment for Screen Australia funding. And, what type of content iview is looking for.

ABC heads of department and Screen Australia managers give you the lowdown on how to work with iview as a marketplace attachment for Screen Australia funding. And what type of content iview is looking for.

At our iview + You event in Sydney on 29 July 2015,  the panellists:

  • Rebecca Heap, ABC Head of TV Strategy & Digital Products; 
  • Steve Bibb, ABC Head of Factual; 
  • Rick Kalowski, ABC Head of Comedy; 
  • Liz Stevens, Screen Australia Senior Manager, Documentary; 
  • Tim Phillips, Screen Australia Manager, Interactive & Multiplatform; and 
  • Mike Cowap, Screen Australia Investment Manager

spoke about how to work with iview as a marketplace attachment for Screen Australia funding, and what type of content iview is looking for.

Here are the key takeaways from the event:

About iview

  • iview is Australia’s most popular internet TV service
  • iview has 1 million plays a day and is breaking records every month
  • 80 per cent of viewers watch videos all the way through
  • Viewers visit up to 10 times a month
  • 40 per cent of the child audience visits 10 times a month
  • iview content strategy has four pillars
  1. Digital first content
  2. Comprehensive catch up
  3. Live streaming – e.g. Australia On Drugs
  4. Stunts and binges – e.g. Glitch released on iview in one go, taking advantage of major broadcast moments

What iview is looking for

  • iview has a growing commissioning budget and is looking for projects to invest in and show first on iview
  • Mainly interested in series with episodes 3-15 mins
  • one off programs could be packaged together as a collection
  • Target demographic is 18-34 year olds
  • iview is interested in reaching people who do not watch broadcast TV – 14 per cent of 16-24 year olds do not watch broadcast TV.
  • A mix of established and emerging talent
  • Content that is cheeky, edgy, a little bit uncomfortable, a little bit different
  • A mix of content to binge and content that is rolled out over time, either daily or weekly
  • Episode lengths within a series can vary – whatever best suits the story
  • If episode length vary, need to consider audience expectations
  • Content that is shareable – content that people will share and talk about on social media
  • Strong concepts and ideas – content that stands out
  • Projects that are specifically tailored for iview
  • 1st class storytelling
  • New talent, diversity on screen and behind the camera

Comedy

  • Comedy works really well on iview and is a key part of ABC’s content strategy
  • Looking for comedy content that targets 18-35s or that has a big and broad appeal

Factual

  • Not a lot of factual content commissioned for iview yet
  • Broadcast factual shows work well on iview – 30 of the top 100 shows on iview in 2014 and 2015 to date are factual programs
  • Subject matter that is provocative and where the creator has an active position in the story

Indigenous

  • iview commission Black As from the creator of Bush Mechanics David Batty was supported by Screen Australia’s Documentary Producer program. The project came in with a strong letter of interest from iview. Black As will be available on iview as a 20 x4 mins series and will be broadcast on ABC2 in a longer episode format. Note: not all content can be reformatted by combining episodes; it has to make sense for the story.

What iview is not looking for

  • Content that is already available for free – e.g. on YouTube
  • Pitches that have been rejected for TV broadcast

ABC network benefits

  • iview commissioned content will be marketed across the ABC network including radio, ABC online and the homepage of iview. ABC marketing is used to make sure iview content can cut through.
  • Example: Noirhouse. ABC acquired the existing three episodes for iview and commissioned a second series. The second series was available on iview for an exclusive window and then on YouTube. Noirhouse attracted ten times the number of views on iview as on YouTube, despite having a separate dedicated budget for YouTube marketing.
  • iview is used as a content pipeline for ABC2 – some iview first content is subsequently broadcast on ABC2 e.g. Freshblood and The Daters. ABC2 and iview have a similar demographic.
  • iview is an important talent escalator – ABC is shooting a new series in Tasmania with talent from Noirhouse involved

Rights and Budgets

  • The rights that iview take varies – this is new territory and the ABC is developing benchmarks
  • Some shorter run content can also be made available on YouTube
  • If we pay more then we will ask for TV rights too
  • Key talent will be paid properly but there isn’t the budget for TV scale shoots
  • The production methodology has to suit the idea and the budget e.g. the size of the crew, time in post-production etc.
  • Come to iview early and talk about the production methodology
  • iview has a quicker commissioning and production process – it is iterative, we talk about budget and the creative process at the same time.

How to pitch to iview

  • Develop a pitch like you would for TV – look at what else is on ABC and iview
  • Go to the genre head e.g. indigenous, comedy, factual
  • If you have a strong track record, ABC may work with you from a concept
  • If you are emerging, you will need a video or other materials to demonstrate your concept

Screen Australia and iview

  • Screen Australia’s Multiplatform Drama Program and Documentary Producer programs allow applicants to partner with a non-broadcast platform such as iview to apply for funding.
  • Screen Australia takes a letter of interest from iview very seriously.
  • Support from iview means that Screen Australia can be confident that content will reach a certain level of audience
  • Documentary producer fund has 4 rounds a year. Up to $700k is available but iview first productions are unlikely to be eligible for funding at the upper end of the range. There is a minimum budget threshold of $120k
  • Multiplatform Drama Program is open to comedy and scripted content in a range of formats including 30 mins TV series, online series and interactive content.
  • Producers can still come to these programs without a marketplace attachment as long as they have a clear path to audience

Brand sponsorship

  • Brand sponsorship does not automatically make a program ineligible for iview but ABC editorial policy still applies to iview
  • If there is brand sponsorship e.g. YouTube and Stan series Plonk, then it has to be run past editorial policy people.
  • Editorial control is the deciding factor – if the brand has approval rights then it will be more difficult to get approval.

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