I’m always interested in Film and TV – and we had an interesting discussion the other night on the social network, Twitter about EPG (Electronic Program Guide).  The sheer – and there’s no other word for it but ‘hatred‘ – people have for EPG abuses by TV stations was obvious. It seems that ALL the stations abuse and disrespect their viewers by running up to 20 mins early or late for their shows. But have a look at this satirical video of Freeview:

Freeview TV had YouTube pull the video which causes a furore – exclusive by Patrick Avenell of current.com.au. Robin Parkes is the CEO:

Currently in Queensland speaking with retail groups about the Freeview service, Parkes said in an interview with Current.com.au that the handling of the YouTube video controversy made Freeview appear ‘touchy’.

“It didn’t end up being an ideal situation for Freeview, absolutely, and the lawyers did what was correct and took the video down, and the minute it went back up, Freeview made the decision to just leave it,” said Parkes. “Yes, it did create unnecessary publicity, with hindsight everyone thinks differently.”

So here’s two tips – first, lawyers always do what is correct (traditionally), so don’t let them anywhere near the public  social media sites, without PR smacking them around the head first and secondly, removing public created content – without being able to prove it’s done by a competitor or out-and-out weirdo –  causes the spotfires to spread. Then you really will need PR to step in and handle the crisis communications.


Have a look at the rest of the interview:

When asked if the negative press surrounding the YouTube was one off, or if she thought there had been excessive negative coverage, Parkes responded, “Absolutely”. She was then asked if this negativity was unfair.

“I think two things: there’s always an agenda, so let’s just palm the agenda aside.

“The second thing is lack of information. When you don’t give enough information to the marketplace that creates a vacuum and they make their own assumption and it usually becomes negative.”

Refreshingly, Parkes accepted some of the responsibility for this.

“Absolutely, we accept some responsibility. We weren’t making things crystal clear but what we didn’t want to do is go to market with information until we were positive about what we were delivering.”

Importantly for the success of Freeview in the long run, Parkes has thick skin. When asked if she had taken any of this criticism personally, she responded, “No, not at all, I’m not buying into what’s agenda driven.

“We have a great free service and it will take time deliver and in the fullness of time it can only be positive for everybody.”

Refreshingly? Someone points out the crap issues with your product or service and you pull a cloak-and-dagger “they hate us for mysterious reasons and have hidden agendas” response? I’d say the “agenda” was what is in the video:

  • more of the same sh*t
  • same content on multiple channels – including Kerrianne K in all her glory in High Definition.
  • News you can’t understand (not sure?)
  • boring (?) and unpopular shows like Parliament Question Time.  – in standard definition
  • can’t skip ads
  • something about uncaring manufacturers
  • Electronic Program Guides that run late/early rendering them not only useless but anti-brand antiloyalty device.
  • Ad was stolen from Ford ad.
  • Recommends you watch your fave shows on the internet.

Given that – I think – it comes from the ComedyFestival.com.au crew, not sure what she thinks the ‘agenda’ is – clearly not put together by the competition, and the sentiment really resonates peoples concerns, no?Yes comediens use satire to fill audience seats, but they are at their most powerful when they reflect back popular sentiment. Aha! moments – such as “Aha I didn’t know other people hated the way stations mistreat us with the EPG as well!”. Comediens, satire, social discourse, social media. No wonder Robin Parkes owned up to not “being crystal clear” – social spaces abhor a vacuum.

Hell, freeview’s free – that gives them the right to present crappy, boring shows on multiple channels that break the EPG. Doesn’t it? I mean, they are broadcasters. Just because you can time shift, form shift and place shift using internet and mobile technologies doesn’t mean that they aren’t “We have a great free service and it will take time deliver and in the fullness of time it can only be positive for everybody.”

By the way, we asked Dr William Cooper (U.K.) at AFTRS the other night if TV stations had to value add. He said no. I say he’s wrong – if you don’t provide a great value add, an additional service, then you will be disintermediated. You’ll be bypassed and the consumer will go right to the source.  Oh Freeview will work for a while – we are scared of downloading over our limits, it’s all a bit too hard currently but it’s not a sustainable model. Free just ain’t enough anymore.

By the way, Massage My Medium comediens are the one’s with the Cafe Press store front, including “I’m the Fake Stephen Conroy” mugs.



Date 21 – 26 April

Times Tue-Sat 8.15pm, Sun 7.15pm

Duration 55 minutes

Dan Ilic (Ronnie Johns) and Marc Fennell (Triple J TV) are a couple of media junkies ready to rip apart Australian television live on stage then save it.

Be amazed at their media mashups. Watch as they deconstruct genre with the help of a green screen, a video camera and a laptop. Can they build a celebrity in three months? Learn the anatomy of a viral video, then create one live on stage. See how easy it is to make a Baker’s Delight ad with the audience. Marvel at how current affair programs can turn any jovial baker into a national hero or a predatory paedophile or both…

Live on stage Marc and Dan and their celebrity guests plan to deconstruct genre, manipulate your emotions, create their own television station and generally poke fun at that old medium their parents called the box, and what they call boring.

Shall we go, boys and girls? Could be a laugh 🙂

Update: PRDisasters has covered this.  The Age article.