“There Will Still Be Television but I Don’t Know What It Will Be Called!”: Narrating the End of Television in Australia and New Zealand

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

“There Will Still Be Television but I Don’t Know What It Will Be Called!”: Narrating the End of Television in Australia and New Zealand


  • Jock Given Swinburne Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia


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Abstract:  Australia and New Zealand, like other countries, have unique TV systems and practices that shape the possibilities enabled by emerging technologies, enterprises, behaviors and ideas. This article explores two recent articulations of the concept of television that have motivated ‘end of television’ narratives in the two countries. One is future-oriented – the introduction of online subscription video services from local providers like Fetch TV, Presto, Stan and from March 2015, the international giant Netflix. It draws on a survey of senior people in TV, technology, advertising, production, audience measurement and social media conducted in late 2014 and early 2015. The other is recent history – the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial television, completed in both countries in December 2013. Digital TV switchover was a global policy implemented in markedly different ways. Television was transformed, though not in the precise ways anticipated. Rather than being in the center of the digital revolution, as the digital TV industry and policy pioneers enthused, broadcast television was, to some extent, overrun by it. The most successful online subscription video service in Australia and New Zealand so far, Netflix, talks up the end of television but serves up a very specific form of it. The article poses a slightly different question to whether or not television is ending: that is, whether, in the post-broadcast, digital era, distinctions between unique TV systems and practices will endure, narrow, dissolve, or morph into new forms of difference.

Keywords:  digital switchover; digital television; Netflix; subscription video; SVOD; television; video

Published:   14 July 2016


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v4i3.561


© Jock Given. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.