Commercial TV networks see value of catch-up services, says Nine chief Hugh Marks


CATCH-UP television is radically changing the Australian broadcast media landscape, Nine Entertainment chief Hugh Marks says.

Mr Marks says 9Now, the network’s catch-up service, is bringing in $20 million revenue a year.

Speaking at the Screen Producers Australia conference in Melbourne this week, he said he believed the Seven and Ten networks would be seeing similar figures.

“Now we look at our business and revenues and cost across all platforms,” he said.

Love Child was a good example of a program doing well on free-to-air but suffering from fragmentation as audiences increasingly split their time across many platforms, he said.

“But the Love Child numbers on 9Now are fantastic,” Mr Marks said.

“Guess what — that’s an experience that lasts five, six, seven six years, probably a decade. So I can monetise that constantly.”

Nine Entertainment chief Hugh Marks. Picture: Hollie Adams
Camera IconNine Entertainment chief Hugh Marks. Picture: Hollie AdamsPicture: News Corp Australia

The success of a drama in revenue terms now had to be assessed across conventional broadcast programming and catch-up services, he said.

Mr Marks said he did not believe the takeover of Ten Network by US broadcasting titan CBS would affect the Australian TV industry significantly.

“Our job (in the local industry) is to take money off Google and Facebook.

“A successful free-to-air industry — all three commercial broadcasters — is in our interest at the moment. I want my competitors to do better, not too (much) better but better. ”

At the same event, Foxtel chief Peter Tonagh stressed the importance of overseas sales for his organisation to compete with international players.

“We want to produce not only Australian stories for Australians but Australian stories that will be viewed the world over,” he said.

He cited as an example the coming six-part series of Picnic at Hanging Rock, a remake of the “iconic Australian story”, which would also have offshore appeal.

The series will premiere on Foxtel, jointly owned by Telstra and Herald Sun publisher News Corp, next year.

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