Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Viewers in Box Seat; Subscription Video on Demand Services Source "Original" Content

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Viewers in Box Seat; Subscription Video on Demand Services Source "Original" Content

Article excerpt

Byline: Ben Goldsmith

LAST month, YouTube's new subscription video on demand service (SVOD) YouTube Red launched its first swag of "original" programs. This followed news of significant rights acquisitions by SVOD services at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, and award ceremony successes (and disappointments) for Netflix and Amazon.

These events point the way to dramatic changes in the business of television. They have implications for producers, traditional television services, major film studios, and viewers around the world. Online SVOD services are increasingly commissioning and purchasing content for premiere screenings, rather than simply operating as aggregators of content from other sources.

In industry parlance, this is "original" content. "Original" is, however, an interesting choice of term, given that many high-profile SVOD productions are revivals of shows first screened on traditional (or "linear") television.

For example, one of Netflix's first commissions in 2013 was a new series of Arrested Development, a madcap sitcom that originally screened on network television in the early 2000s.

Some of Netflix's forthcoming reboots include The Gilmore Girls (seven series to 2007), Fuller House (sequel to the American sitcom Full House that screened from 1987 to 1995), and Degrassi: Next Class, a revival of a Canadian high school drama that screened for 14 seasons from 1979.

Netflix's original feature films for 2016 include the sequel to the 2000 feature film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and a slate of films by Adam Sandler. One of Netflix's main rivals, Amazon Prime, is financing Woody Allen's next feature film.

Along with the ever-growing number of awards nominations for SVOD originals, the financial muscle of the major services is beginning to be felt in both film and television. …

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