The SBS2 Rebrand Delivers What SBS Needs. Probably.

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By guest blogger Dan Barrett, Televised Revolution

Today SBS announced the rebrand of their digital multichannel SBS2. Starting April 1, SBS2 wil now target younger audiences aged 16-39 with a direct focus on “thinking 30-somethings”. SBS are billing SBS2 as a “place to share their passion for emerging cultural ideas and experiences with diverse content from around the world that is edgy, adventurous and fun, and connects audiences with the world”. While yes, that is a lot of “world”, it also sounds like SBS are onto a good thing with this rebrand.

SBS2 has been aimless. Serving more as an extension of the primary SBS channel rather than a service with its own sense of purpose, SBS2 has largely diluted the SBS brand with viewers torn not just between viewing content on SBS or other channels, but between the two similar SBS TV offerings. By providing this focus on “thinking” youth viewers, SBS are not just creating a distinct focus for their channel, but are also catering to an audience that is not being catered to all that well by existing networks. The youth audience that Go! cater towards are those who seem perpetually aged 16 years-old, while Ten’s three channels don’t quite have a clear focus on any specific audience.

In chasing this audience, like any traditional broadcaster, SBS have a major hurdle to overcome: The Internet. 16-39 year-olds are, by and large, a connected audience. Furthermore, a focus on a “thinking audience” of viewers in that age group would typically mean an audience who are university educated. They are seeking an audience for of whom have had a long relationship with online access – one that has matured and one that has established related behaviours. This is an audience of whom are dissatisfied with traditional broadcast television and have grown up with illegal downloads and DVD’s as a core part of their viewing habits. Furthermore, it is an audience who are mobile and spend less time at home. This is a hard to reach audience.

“SBS 2 will be a channel which is fun and inclusive and all about giving our younger audiences content in the fast-paced way they want it, when they want it and on a device they choose to view it.” – Michael Ebeid, SBS Managing Director

But SBS are in a better position than most to be able to succeed with this difficult demographic. Working in their favour is that the content that viewers expect from SBS is material that is harder to find from sources beyond SBS. All of the international content broadcast by the commercial channels in Australia can quite easily be found on torrents online, purchased through vendors like iTunes, viewed on Foxtel, or purchased on DVD. The content is hardly exclusive. Yes, the audience are connected and more than willing to source their content from beyond the bunny ears, but fortunately for SBS, their content is generally hard to source elsewhere. SBS can cultivate an audience that go to SBS to explore and discover new content. SBS are less a broadcaster of content and a curator of content.One of the most impressive aspects of today’s SBS2 SBS2_VERT_LGE_ORANGE_CMYKrebranding announcement has been the integration of their catch-up platform SBS On Demand into the new-look service. In an effort to successfully implement a synergy across SBS2 and On Demand, SBS have recognised that the youth audience they’re courting don’t consume television in the traditional manner. Instead, acknowledging the non-linear binge-consuming way that youth audiences watch television nowadays, SBS have unveiled their Back 2 Back strategy which will provide every episode of a show online as soon as the first episode has premiered on TV. Three series will be made available initially under Back 2 Back, with more to follow.

SBS’s Director of TV and Online Content Tony Iffland has embraced this new programming strategy “We’re delighted to bring Back 2 Back to our audiences meaning they can watch all the episodes of a new series via SBS On Demand. We know our audiences don’t necessarily want to wait eight weeks or more to make an appointment to-view a series and now they don’t have to. They can go straight to SBS On Demand and watch all the episodes back-to-back or whenever they want.”

Of course, all of this is all very good and well, but if the content on SBS 2 doesn’t interest the viewers, the rebranding strategy simply is not going to fly. Based on today’s announcement, SBS2 is heading in the right direction. While there is nothing particularly outstanding at launch, there’s certainly a number of shows of interest. At launch SBS2 are offering two UK series starring Russell Tovey (Threesome and Him & Her), season 7 of Skins, the Eddie Izzard led Canadian series Bullet In The Face, Belgian hidden camera comedy series Benidorm Bastards, and Russell Howard’s Good News. There are also a number of doco’s and factual series on the schedule which seem to be a deliberate attempt to embrace extreme blokey reality adventure shows, among other hip subject matter like advertising/marketing: Don’t Tell My MotherBe Your Own BossThe Pitch, and Warrior Road Trip.

CommunityAn interesting curiosity on the schedule is Community. Previously broadcast on Go!, Community will now be airing on SBS2 nightly. While there is certainly a loyal audience for the show, it’s cool factor has begun to wane of late with the current season from the US following the departure of showrunner and creator Dan Harmon. With much of SBS2′s desired audience torrenting the show as soon as it airs, while also discussing how badly the new season of the show sucks (it really does), this feels like less of a coup programming choice than it may have been even just a few months ago when the rights to the show were likely purchased.

From the outset, SBS2 seems like a clever strategy. It appears well thought out with both its on-air content and the integration of SBS On Demand and has quite a bit to offer. We’re yet to see a full schedule for the new-look SBS2 but it’s promising.

About the Author

 spends far too much time talking about TV. When he isn’t editing the Televised Revolution website, he hosts the TV Rev podcast. When he isn’t doing that, Dan can also be heard on the Televised Revolution: In Review podcast where he reviews television. He can be found on the couch with excessive regularity.

Short Film Controversy

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‘Scene 16’ was funded by Metro Screen through the Breaks program and screened at Tropfest 2012 in the finals.

Post-Tropfest there has been heated debate about short films right across mainstream media and the blogosphere, and I think that’s a good thing. Short Films are front and centre of the debate which is the best news.

The film industry is fixated with the length of content, which screen it’s watched on and currently relies on a model where thousands of people work for free in the hope of the attaining the dream – to be paid to tell their stories. If Tropfest is the catalyst for bringing short films to the forefront of industry discussion and alternate viewpoints then hooray for Tropfest!

Some highlights from the presses:

Colin Delaney focuses on the importance of short films in launching careers and providing a stepping-stone for fillmakers to ‘cut their teeth’ on in Mumbrella. Colin also suggests that festival prize money is a movitating factor – “One of the only revenue streams for shorts is festival prize money which can help to offset the cost of production and the fee to enter the film in the festival.” A one in 600 chance of recouping some of your budget seems like a stretch for a financial incentive.

Cail Young wrote a really interesting in-depth open letter to Tropfest, a self-confessed cynic who would like the festival to CHANGE “…into one that celebrates excellence for its own sake, not as some constructed journey from hardship.” Cail’s 10 detailed suggestions for improvement and bingo-card for predicting winners really adds value to the dialogue about short film festival models.

And then there was the controversy over plagiarism with Micheal Bodey picking up on the Tropfail.com website in The Australian and Giles Hardie rushing to defend the Tropfest winner’s reputation in The Sydney Morning Herald. Plagiarism versus adaption will be an ongoing issue for all screening events and channels as more and more content is created, shared, remixed and re-shared often without crediting anyone along the way.

It’s so fantastic to feel the passion lifting off the pages as you read through all the comments, suggestions, accusations and justifications. What we now call short film, will be a normal part of our screen diet as faster internet connections start to feed our big surround TV screens.

In 2012 Metro Screen invested over $170,000 in new productions through financial funding, production subsidies, mentoring and support for film and content makers in NSW. Special funds were also earmarked for Emerging Filmmakers and an Indigenous program.

By Tiani Chillemi – Development Manager at Metro Screen

MUSIC VIDEO SHOW+TELL AT CAKE WINES TROPFEST BAR

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Metro Screen presents the second installment of Music Video Show+Tell, a chance for filmmakers and music makers to get together and talk about the process of making music videos.  It’s happening Thursday 28 February from 7.00pm – 8.00pm at the Cake Wines Tropfest Pop-Up Bar at the Rocks.

Join us at to hear from a panel of experienced music video makers including Natalie van den Dungen, who has produced and directed over 25 music videos for local and international artists, recent FBi Radio Sydney Music Arts and Culture Award finalist, Melvin J Montalban, who has clocked up over half a million views on Youtube for the clip ‘I met You’ and cinematographer Adam Howden, who has worked with numerous directors to create visually vivid music videos . Each filmmaker will screen their clips and talk about their trials and challenges that they over come to get the job done.

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ITS TIME TO COLLABORATE

It’s time to leave the house and get in the same room as like-minded creative people. February is jam-packed with events for the digitally inclined, music video makers, musicians, Interactive Designers, Queer filmmakers and people who don’t know where to start. Word-Of-Mouth is still BOSS for getting people to know about your project. Collaborations and industry networks are more important than ever to cut through the clutter and get noticed.

Here are 5 events you don’t want to miss.

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The revolution (in the form of blue jeans filled with dirt) is here…

By Alicia Brown, San Francisco

Brisvegas circa 1974 has always appealed to me. The idea of being a properly disaffected youth as The Saints partied and performed in a suburban house, making proper punk rock history, is incredibly enticing. There were no thirty something Malcolm McLaren’s or Vivienne Westwood’s orchestrating the ‘revolution’ like the London scene, just a wave of pure anti Bjelke-Peterson rage coming from a makeshift stage.

I love the thought of living in Brisbane 40 years ago because I’ve always wanted to be part of a movement. Right in the middle of where it was happening, rather than reading about it, or looking back with an inherited nostalgia, understanding the context, being able to analyse every angle and see why things evolved the way they did. I wanted to be smack-bang in the middle, not quite sure where it was headed, not knowing, but hoping, that it would have any lasting impact on the world…only being certain that it was important right now, and fun, and spontaneous and dangerous and risky – cause that kind of passion, uninhibited compulsion, is where all the good, nay, great stuff comes from right?

And happily, here in San Francisco working with Ted Hope at the San Francisco Film Society I think I’m in the midst of one – a sweeping (silicon valley) tech fuelled creative burst to save ambitious independent film.

And by save I mean change the very bones of how we make and watch aspirational and inspirational indie movies. It seems that the internet is finally doing what they said it would back in ‘97 – putting the power back in the hands of the people, to make and watch movies the way we want to, and not the way the market behemoths say we should.  Now we just have to figure out how to connect these two groups, indie filmmakers and indie audiences, in a meaningful way through the technology – and bam – a new indie film infrastructure, that sees the money and the power securely in the hands of the creators emerges. There isn’t a day (or even an hour really) that goes by here that I don’t come across a new platform, or practice or person that is trying to subvert the current system.

I have to say at the outset, Ted H is like a movement in himself. He operates like a director on set, every second of the day. There are constant (constant!) requests for his time, attention, answers, ideas, inspiration and energy from every direction. Watching him move through them is a spectacle of presence and focus.

And how does it feel for me to be in the middle of this movement?  Terrifying and exhilarating. Luckily, being a producer, those are obviously two of my favourite emotional states.

Firstly the pace at which Ted operates is slightly terrifying, like entering a cyclone…then it morphs into an exhilarating ride of possibility….

There is a terrifyingly confuzzling choice of technology available to filmmakers to talk with their audience, to transmit their films to whoever wants to watch them.  And then I’m exhilarated by the mammoth possibilities they present – a world where filmmakers have the power, the power to make beautiful artwork, have people actually see it, and make the money from it to plough back into their art, making a creative life sustainable, rather than to go to traditional studio owned middlemen.

Terrified at the thought of continuing a conversation about movies, loudly and candidly, in a public place (bless the Yanks, there is a refreshing lack of self consciousness about candid conversations in public here). Exhilarated by the revelation that The West Wing IS REAL! Walk and talks do happen. I strode out of the building, into the car, out of the car park, into the lift and all the way to the eye doctor with Ted, all the while discussing the notions of a ‘good’ deal and how digital self-distribution could give may filmmakers a better deal.

So how am I finding calm in the eye of the storm??

About 6 years ago on my first visit to San Francisco I fell in love with its creative and revolutionary heart while sitting in a coffee shop watching an old man paint the specials board, working from a palette that was a hand carved, history filled wooden box overflowing with oil crayons. He painted the specials board at every café in the neighbourhood everyday for a $5 a pop, his creative outlet, his livelihood, and a service to the city in general – every board in a three-block radius was a work of art.

I was reminded of that art in everyday life philosophy at the bus stop in the Lower Haight the other morning when I saw these casual denim pot plants (I hear they use black skinny jeans in the Mission district):

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And then while instagramming these blue jeans filled with dirt I was reminded of the simplest beauty of the indie film revolution happening here – you don’t have to be physically on the corner of Haight and Ashbury, or in the heart of Silicon Valley circa 2004, or at Sundance 2013 to be a part of it.

Right now we can work the technology so that it really can support indie filmmakers and indie film lovers – and that we can be part of it wherever we are.

Alicia Brown of Optimism Film was the successful applicant for the Screen Australia internship with US indie Producer Extraordinaire Ted Hope who is now the head of the innovative San Francisco Film Society (which runs festivals and funds films) and is keeping Metro Screen posted.

QUEER SCREEN 20TH ANNIVERSARY

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Queer Screen is turning 20 this year, with a long history of the Mardi Gras Film Festival, advancing queer culture on screen, telling queer stories and supporting filmmakers. Metro Screen caught up with Film Festival Directors past and present to talk about how it all started and where it is headed in the future. It’s a fantastic video documentary to add to the new Q&A series DISPATCH.

Don’t worry about planning Valentine’s Day this year, the Mardi Gras Film Festival has you covered with their opening night 14 February running for two weeks to 28 February. The program is up with some beautiful stills jumping off the page when you scan by title.

Film Titles >

MAKING VIDEO GO VIRAL

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Over 48 hours worth of video is uploaded every minute, and that statistic has probably changed while I am typing this. You get the picture, there are more videos out there than people or devices, so what makes that tiny little percentage reach 1 million and now over 1 billion views? Is it magic? No. There are common threads to all of them that you can learn from. So here is your D.I.Y. Self-guided crash course to making a video go nuts!

Kevin Allocca’s TED talk ‘why videos go viral’ is short, very funny and fascinating. He gives you 3 quick take aways that are practical.

‘How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer’ is not a new documentary but it still holds true. This introduction to the series explains how the new branch of science Network Theory and Kevin Bacon have come together to explain why crickets chirp in unison and why videos go viral.

This video is terrible quality but content is worth listening to, for most people its a great introduction to Reddit and Sub-Reddits if you’ve never heard of them. He also touches on crowd-sourcing support from the inception stage of the project.

Okay this one is not strictly a video, its slideshare, but worth it! The main message here is framing. Framing and copy can sink your video even if its the funniest most entertaining video in the history of dancing penguin videos EVA.

This one is mostly just for giggles and because a good parody of “marketing” is always necessary after learning about marketing.

Researched and Written By Tiani Chillemi – Development Manager, Metro Screen
Twitter: @tianichillemi @metroscreen