There are quite a few fictions doing the rounds about SBS and the new version of The Movie Show which starts this Thursday. The latest was in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday:

SBS has harnessed the web and online video for its new Movie Show, converging TV and internet audiences.

The show, which premieres on Thursday, will allow viewers to upload their own video reviews of movies to a companion website with features similar to the popular video sharing website YouTube. Some reviews will be televised.

The new format has been devised by production company Fremantle Media. Director of digital media Chris Culvenor said the new direction was inspired by audience reaction to the company’s reality TV shows, The Biggest Loser and Australian Idol.

Nice spin but the reality is that SBS told anyone bidding to produce the new version of The Movie Show that its online content had to be different and a significant product in its own right.

This heavy emphasis was written into the Movie Show brief sent to interested TV producers — read the full brief here:

Segments from the program will be used in either short form or longer form on the SBS online Video Player.

While the 2 components will work together, the Online content should not just mirror the on-air shows but offer more than its counterpart.

Producers say SBS wants to boost its website traffic significantly and The Movie Show will be the model for all SBS TV programs in future. The on-screen look and content will be vital but there will be a huge emphasis on making the websites stand-alone “programs”.

SBS sees this as a way of boosting ad revenues across its online sites and some in TV land see this as a model for the ABC which is grappling with the question of online advertising.

Website advertising received a small airing at last week’s Senate estimates hearings in Canberra with ABC CEO Mark Scott making it clear the broadcaster had no plans to put ads on ABC websites.

SBS is far more single-minded than the ABC, or its commercial counterparts, in boosting the online side of its business model to a point where it becomes equal to or possibly even surpasses on-screen TV.

Peter Fray

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