Some interesting things have happened in Australian television in the past 70 years of commercial broadcasting. It’s pretty much shaped Australia’s future and highlighted where our passions are. Basically it comes down to sports, local talent shows (like singing, magic and cooking demonstrations) and news, so not much has changed really, except now we have a TV in every room of our home as well as one mounted outside (if you are savvy enough to have a SealTV waterproof enclosure this is). But here’s some interesting stuff that might be news to you about what goes on behind the scenes.  

First in

  Even though Australia was behind other countries with commercial TV broadcasting and TV sales, we actually started really early. Every day for one hour, news headlines, still pictures and silent movies were broadcast using mobile broadcasting equipment in Brisbane and other cities from 1934 to 1938. No one had TVs then, but they could come and watch, so really, it was the first outdoor television station.  

First TVS

  In Europe in 1938, long before the US and UK had sets available, you could purchase your very own 12-inch TV screen for $445, which translates to roughly $8,500 in current Aussie dollars for a screen that really didn’t show much. Any takers?  

Live Broadcasts

  Most networks only showed footage for a few hours a day, then, in 1969 Melbourne broke records with the live telecast of the Apollo Moon Landing, which aired continuously for 163 hours. Obviously that record has since been beaten and is currently held by Big Brother V (Germany), which aired continuously for 8,763 hours in 2005.  

We Don’t Like Change

  In the 1970s Australian news and current affairs programs really took off. Once of the first current affair programs was A Current Affair which debut with host, Mike Willesee, in 1971.  

Ads Work

  When TV first came out commercial stations were funded by advertising, but in 1960 only 15% of advertising revenue came from TV. By 1980 commercial TV made up 33% of all mainstream advertising income. Even though TV market revenue has some stiff competition with social media nowadays, in a six month period (July to December 2017) Aussie TV still saw $2.17 billion worth of advertising revenue come in from metro, regional and pay TV stations. So if you were wondering why you are seeing so many ads…it’s because it really pays.  

Some Get All the Luck

  Neighbours started out on the Seven Network in 1985 and quickly flopped. Seven tried to stay with it for a few months but had to axe it due to poor ratings. Chanel Ten jumped in and made a lightening quick purchase and started airing the show only six months later with ridiculous success, not only in Australia but also the UK. It is Australia’s longest running series and is a known platform for getting out local starts noticed in Hollywood.  

Crazy Expensive

  Producing content for Australian TV is expensive. In 2010 for networks to purchase ready to go content from overseas, like Two and a Half Men, cost only $100,000 per episode. Compared to the then hot shows like Packed to the Rafters and Underbelly, which cost about $800,000 per episode to produce.  

First Asia Pacific- North America Satellite Link

  A fake “Australia Day” went global in 1967 when a live broadcast between Australia and North America showed images of Aussies doing what we do best, you know, boomerang throwing, wood chopping contests, sheep-dog trials and even a tennis tournament as part of the Montreal Expo in June that year.  

What’s in a Name?

  Ever wondered what the B stands for in Humphrey B. Bear? It’s Bear. His name is Bear Bear. That’s how the show started out in 1965, with the show’s title Bear Bear. Thankfully they ran a competition to find a better name and Humphrey B. Bear was the winner. When Home and Away was written in 1987 it was supposed to be called Refuge, only they changed it mid-production because Refuge wasn’t friendly enough. The new title was ready for screening in 1988 on Seven.