The US writers’ strike will be felt by Australian platforms with potentially more unscripted or extended content.
But not all broadcasters will feel the impact equally.
Lyle Bettson-Barker, Sydney-based senior vice president of Australia and New Zealand for Banijay’s rights, said Support C21 “It will be heard 100%, but different platforms have different requirements for scripted content in the US. SVoD services like Binge and Stan are heavily dependent on US scripts. There are others like BBC First or ABC which are less dependent. Everyone will be directly or indirectly affected. If you’re relying on that pipeline and it’s broken, you’ll need to get hold of other content. Other platforms that don’t rely on the volume of US content will have it much easier, but will be impacted by increased competition for things like the UK script they were buying.
“Unscripted space will increase to fill that void, whether it’s to extend seasons or produce spinoffs and launch new IP. There’s a lot of US content being produced in Australia as well, using various government offsets and whatnot, so they’re going to suffer.
“It depends on how far it goes. If it can be fixed soon, hopefully it won’t have any impact. Everyone wants this to be resolved and a mutually acceptable position to be found for all parties.”
Describing the differences between Australia and New Zealand for the distributor, he said Support C21, “It is often grouped as an ANZ market; they are very similar in many ways, but there are differences.
“New Zealand, for us, with Australia unscripted, is a huge market. We have deep and long-standing relationships with all NZ broadcasters, which continue to thrive year after year – Big Brother, MasterChef, Lego Masters, Hunted.
“We sell a lot of non-UK written content there, like Turning point, eat well for less, your home is perfect. We also have a great relationship from a script point of view; it’s a big market for Oz and scripted in the UK. There’s a lot in common and it’s a thriving business for us.”
NB: An older version around a local New Zealand Point of no return the series was misquoted in the source article.