Australian Documentaries Online – 11 August 2010


online doco

A discussion of new delivery platforms, rights & contracts, marketing & financial returns, and the implications for Australian producer/directors.

The panel:

  • Nick Doherty, Managing Editor, Television – SBS Online
  • Penny Wright, Internet Broadcasting Program Manager, ABC iView and ABC TV downloads
  • Stephanie Salter, Executive Producer of Multiplatform ABC
  • Ray Argall, President, ADG
  • Raena Lea-Shannon, Member of the NSW Society for Computers and the Law, Committee Member of the NSW Chapter of the AIMIA, Frankel Lawyers
  • Michael Frankel, Frankel Lawyers
  • Dr Janet Merewether, Producer/director (Screen Culture Pty Ltd), Academic (Macquarie University)

The panel will be moderated by Pat Fiske

WHEN: Wednesday 11 August 2010, 6.00pm arrival for 6.30pm start

WHERE: AFTRS Theatre, Fox Studios, Entertainment Quarter, 130 Bent St, Moore Park NSW.

ENTRY: Suggested donation $5

RSVP not required, but be early to ensure your seat.
This event is open to the public. Parking fees discounted after 6pm, or with validated ticket from AFTRS.

The topic

The options for viewing Australian documentaries have recently broadened beyond traditional ‘free-to-air,’ broadcasts to include online and digital delivery of programmes to the public. This session will explore the range of platforms used by the ABC and SBS to screen documentaries, and the shifting nature of their contracts with filmmakers. Online distribution models will also be discussed.

A definition of ‘Online’:

How do we define online rights? (other terms include digital rights, electronic rights, multimedia rights, cross platform rights, ancillary rights).

New viewing platforms

Find out what delivery items the ABC and SBS expect when either commissioning or acquiring programmes. This may include the documentary itself, as well as additional multimedia/digital deliverables.

Proposals & Websites

At what stage should filmmakers present their online ideas and proposals to broadcasters, and can the production of additional multimedia elements such as websites be incorporated as part of the production budget for the film?  Once a project has obtained a presale and goes into production, will the broadcasters host a page or two on their website, or design a full blown web site (and what additional rights may they require to do this?) For how long do these webpages remain on the broadcasters’ sites, what credits appear and how do filmmakers contribute to eg: the SBS Documentary Blog. How are marketing and distribution strategies developed between independents and broadcasters for the online presence?  Is it beneficial for both the broadcasters and producer/directors to design film websites, and to have the right to use segments and film trailers for online viewing and/or promotion? The ABC and SBS will show examples of webpages/sites that work best for them.


Contracts are changing. The ABC/SBS now require the licence to screen on their main channels as well as more screenings on their subsidiary digital channels. The traditional 4 runs over 5 years has expanded to included online/catchup viewing rights, which are being requested for digital streaming. For example, SPAA’s recently negotiated terms of trade states that the ABC may request 14 days for online streaming after the initial broadcast. How are the ABC/SBS negotiating contracts with producers for delivery of programmes on the i-view/sbs player platforms?

Recoupment and Marketing

How can filmmakers explore the potential of online marketing tools (eg: Paypal DVD sales) as an alternative to traditional distributors? What rights do the need to retain if they negotiate distribution through educational suppliers such as Clickview? DVD distribution may a limited future if digital downloading continues to rise.  Will Screenrights/asdacs royalties be compromised in the future if there is less off-air educational copying, and more ‘free’ access by schools to programmes available on broadcaster websites? How can directors start to share copyright, IP and royalties with larger SA Enterprise-funded production companies in the exploitation of their films? How do the government funding organisations reconcile the demand to monetise online opportunities and at the same time seek to exploit them?


What do broadcasters predict for the future in terms of online and cross platform rights agreements?  What do filmmakers want in regard to the retention of certain rights?

RSVP and see who else is attending here: