For the first episode of the new season, the ABC decided to air it at the same time as the UK. Which was 4:50am Sunday morning. They also uploaded it straight to their online site ABC iView, and re-aired it at 7pm that night, which is when they usually show Doctor Who over here.
Yes, I got up at 4:50 to watch it. I was in Brisbane with my parents at the time- we'd flown down to see David Suchet in The Last Confession. (Which also stared George Spartel from Play School, and Stuart Milligan from Johnathon Creek- not sure who I was most excited about!). Anyway, we were all staying in the one motel room so my parents also had to get up to watch the episode. They would have done so anyway I'm sure!
What was really awesome though was that, in response to how popular the early morning airing and the instant iView upload were, the ABC have decided to continue to do this for the rest of the season!
Which I love. It shows that a) the viewing world has changed and b) that television stations can adapt to suit the new market. Someone at Comic Con said that Australia has the highest download rate per head of any country in the world. Which I readily believe. With the internet and social media, information on new episodes is readily available at a mouse click (or a touch if you're a tablet user). It's hard to avoid spoilers. And people don't want to wait. We know instantly when a new episode of our favourite international show is released in The UK or USA. The chat forums, blog sites, and social media pages go crazy with spoilers and memes. It's hard to avoid. Fans become frustrated. The TV stations can take up to 6 months to aire new shows, and iTunes is just as bad, if not worse. It's relatively easy to find illegal copies of episodes and watch them online. So many people I know would rather watch a show on TV (minus the ads perhaps) or pay for a legal copy on iTunes or the like, but they become frustrated with the wait and so look elsewhere. Which means the TV stations don't get their ratings, and iTunes (or the like) don't get their profit. The same goes for DVD sales when people buy from overseas for the same reasons, but that 's another story.
So good on the ABC for leading the way. Good on the ABC for showing how it can be done. For showing that it does work, that it is worth it, that people want to do things the right way. Good on the ABC for letting us. Now if only the Australian Government would stop cutting the ABC's funding, maybe they can continue to bring us brilliant, quality international shows in line with other countries. Oh and some good old home-grown stuff too (ANZAC Girls and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries being perfect examples).
This was going to be a blog about the New Doctor and my take on the new episodes, but it got off track. Will have to save that for the next one!
P.S. No, I didn't get up at 4:50am to watch the next episode. Instead I watched it at 6:30am when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. The third one I watched at 7pm with my Dad for Father's Day (I was in Brisbane again but at my brother's house so decided to wait to watch it with Dad). Yes, I may get up early to watch next week's episode :)