ABC TV’s iview screening of Doctor Who attracts record numbers

03 September, 2012 by Brendan Swift

ABC TV's decision to stream the latest Doctor Who episode just hours after the UK premiere has led to a record number of single-day views.

Season seven of the popular sci-fi series kicked off with Asylum of the Daleks, which received a record 75,900 plays on its iview platform on Sunday, September 2, according to the ABC. The episode will receive its first traditional TV broadcast on ABC1 the following Saturday in prime time, however the broadcaster said it plans to continue showing each episode on iview immediately after the BBC in the UK.


Anton Andreacchio, chief executive of copyright specialists Intercept Media, said the company does not specifically track Doctor Who but it is a fair assumption that the majority of the ABC's online views were from potential pirates.

"We very much believe that if there are viable alternatives that do not punish the consumer then users will inherently gravitate towards them," he said.

While Network Ten also showed the first episode of local series Puberty Blues online before its recent TV broadcast, such decisions are still unusual among major broadcasters despite rampant levels of piracy.

Andreacchio said having primetime shows on iview potentially reinforces the consumer mentality that "if it's not being provided on-demand, for free, in high-quality, then it's the fault of the distribution pipelines – a common rationalisation for pirates."

"We really are at a fork in the road to different end points; one is to a monitored, rigid internet that prioritizes the distributor over the consumer (and all the privacy/civil liberties issues that go along with it); the other is towards a more open media landscape, that prioritizes the consumer over the distributor and encourages competitive ideas to capture the attention of the audience (and provides far more opportunity for entrepreneurial producers/distributors)."

At the recent Australian International Movie Convention, News Ltd boss Kim Williams called on the government to strengthen legislation to tackle ongoing piracy across the industry.

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