Ep 233: Hawke, TAC Ads, Kit Kats

hawke.pngJohn is back from Japan and he’s brought us some weird flavoured Kit Kats. You can hear us eat them. Also TV happens.

Get yourself more of Declan Fay at the Sweet Plumb podcast.

Why not send us an email to agree with Brett or Josh about the anti-syphoning laws.

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  1. Nelly Thomas says:

    I’d like to introduce a new segment: “Cropleyism of the Week”, starting this week with Brett’s brilliant argument that Wimbledon ratings have dropped off due to the drought in Australia. Love it.

    And Cropley, you fought the valliant fight in the face of those inner-city-latte-belt-co-hosts! I totally agree with you – sport does have an important and different place in Australian culture (whether we like it or not) and should be available free to air. This is especially so in working-class culture where people are the least likely to be able to afford Pay TV.

    As for watching it at the PUB, what about kids, (some) oldies, alcoholics, those with religious objections and those who can’t co-exist with bogans? Where do we go?

    Come on fellas, we should all have the chance top get fatter in front of the telly while watching elite athletes run. It’s Oztrayan.


  2. Paul Boxcutter says:

    Man, I hoped you were just playing devil’s advocate there Cropley, but alas, no, it’s your anti-foxtel blinding your vision.
    (For the record, I have Foxtel, and happily so, I also am a member of my AFL team, and attend matches regularly, I also go to the cricket and tennis….. man, I sound like a bogan. Oh well.)

    The issue isn’t about Muslims, or boxing, or even Foxtel. No seriously, Muslims? I know you said you needed to flesh your thoughts out better in the blog, so I’ll let it slide.

    The issue is more about the fact that the TV stations have these ads (Yes, Ch9 have them too, Ken Sutcliffe does one, as does some ex-swimmer, I’m going to say Sam something? maybe Riley? But I’m not 100%). They are exactly the same ads, in terms of script, just different channel ‘personalities’ talking at us.

    Then let’s look at what they do.
    • Ch9 only show certain games of Wimbledon, and mainly the later rounds and if an Aussie is involved.
    • Ch9 will show the cricket, but leave it if the news has to start, at least Foxtel stick with it. Ch9 also buy the rights to the England home series (the Ashes) then decide not to show them.
    • Ch7 are easily the worst here, they pay over the odds for the rights to the AFL, then don’t actually show a game live, then they on-sell to the evil draconian Foxtel (that’s a description to keep you reading Brett ;). 4 games a week anyway.
    • Ch7 and the coverage of our home grand slam tennis tournament – a great cultural event that I attend every year, but what did channel 7 do this year? Tried to on-sell the ‘other’ matches to Foxtel again, at a highly extortionate rate (compared to previous years), Foxtel balked, and no-one got to see any other games that Ch7 showed in between all the ads for the coming TV Show line-up, but remember keep sport free.
    • Ch7 and the Olympic coverage, we’ll show swimming in week 1, then highlights of the swimming in week 2, and maybe any other aussies that do well. Contrast to SBS, although they aren’t allowed to broadcast non-team aussies in action, they’ll just show sports, for 2 weeks, different sports with different countries competing, which ironically, is what the Olympics are.
    • Ch10 at least make an effort to show what they decide to purchase, so I don’t mind them wanting to have first crack at sports to keep it on FTA, but the others can get stuffed. If they didn’t run these crying ads I wouldn’t care.

    Foxtel at least show the sport they have live, if it’s a multi-event sport (ala the tennis) you’ll get the option of a few different matches to watch on different channels, it’s actual coverage, not just buying the sport to show enough to satisfy legal requirements and let the rest go untelevised.
    This is the great shame of the FTA channels wanting to keep sport free….. they don’t they just want people like you to defend their position because they’ve stooged you into thinking they are doing the best thing for the ‘everyman’, no, they are just doing this to appear to be looking after the everyman and maybe some ratings.

    While I love the idea that you’ll defend the poor downtrodden everyman, really, what are they/we getting that’s so great with FTA now? Yeah, it’s free, but in a lot of ways we are getting what we pay for, poor coverage (well in the AFL – at least in Melbourne the epitome of a cultural pastime) not 1 game live on Ch7 (yes, thank goodness for Ch10 showing 1, maybe 2 games of the 8 live FTA), making the attack on Foxtel is wrong, the real issue here is how FTA channels are treating the sports. FTA is the one crying about the anti-syphoning, but they are repeatedly sticking it to us all with what they actually show.

    Listening some more, you asked a question about the Comedy channel, I watch it to see things that I can’t see anywhere else, Better of Ted as an example.

    Also, a mate of mine just went to Japan also, you can read his travel blog here, as well as his Kit Kat reviews. Soy Kit Kat, now that sounds yummy! 😉

  3. Paul Boxcutter says:

    Doh. The link is: http://muttler.wordpress.com/
    (And I so carefully spell and checked over my rant. ;(…..)

  4. David Boxcutter says:

    Brett, your arguments are all absurd. Let’s take them point by point:

    “The poor/working class will lose access to sport and sporting culture.”

    There is this device called a “radio” which I understand is used for broadcasting audio. They broadcast sports matches over the air to these devices, with commentary. How is someone who listens to the football on the radio any less a part of the sports culture than somebody who watches it on TV?

    “Free TV can’t compete with subscription TV.”

    I’d really like to see some evidence of that. Last time I checked, free-to-air TV had a significantly higher viewership than subscription TV. What’s to stop the free-to-air stations from outbidding Foxtel? Hell, the three channels could even band together to buy the rights collectively. I mean, aren’t they all supposed to be buddy-buddy with one another for this “Free TV Australia” initiative, anyway?

    “Sport is like a religion, so it should be supported.”

    Government should have no business supporting religion. Why should the religion of football receive federal support any more than it should be trying to convert us all to Islam? MUSLIMS!

    “We are in danger of losing sport in our culture.”

    This has got to be the most hilarious thing I’ve heard on Boxcutters for a while. Sport is perhaps the single most powerful cultural force in Australia. It might even be bigger than middle-class entitlement syndrome.

    And it’s not a good part of our culture. I results in people who can be kicking a ball praised as “heroes”, and the abuses we see with the gang-banging, date-raping football team. But you know, they’re just “boys being boys” nothing wrong with that. What is suspicious is anyone who engages with cultural criticism or art, who doesn’t conform to the “Aussie Aussie Aussie!” culture – they are un-Australian elitists.

    The idea that sporting culture is some kind of fragile thing that will die if not nurtured on our is a truly strange argument.

    “Subscription TV is bad because, you know they charge money for stuff and gouge the consumer.”

    And commercial TV is a paragon of good-heartedness which never resorts to cynical profiteering? You say that Foxtel charges more for less, but isn’t that exactly what the free-to-air stations have been doing? Putting in more and more advertisements and product placements, while showing progressively crappier content?

    You’ve fallen for the spin that Free TV Australia is putting on things. They want you to think of it as ‘free” to distract you from the fact that it is a commercial, profit-driven operation. It’s called commercial TV. The other terms are just euphemisms.

    Anybody who is being “gouged” by Foxtel is doing so of their own free will. Nobody is forced to buy it, so obviously the people who do subscribe feel that it is of enough value to justify the subscription fee. As Josh alluded to out, a similar dynamic works with commercial free-to-air TV. At some point, viewers will get sick of too many ads and start switching off or changing channels.

    You also dismiss the argument that you pay for the “Free TV” via commercials as a furphy. But this is the truth of the matter. Who pays for Free TV? Advertisers. How do the advertisers get money? By selling products. So, when you buy a brand-name product at the supermarket, part of the purchase price is going to fund TV advertising. If you have a bank account, part of your bank fees are going to pay for advertising the bank.

    This is such a fundamental part of how TV works, I’m surprised that you just dismiss it off-hand. Where do you think the money comes from, thin air?

  5. Nelly Thomas says:

    Hey David (et al),

    I am truly not being facetious when I ask this – I genuinely want to know – do you think coverage of popular sports like AFL, tennis and the cricket have any positive cultural effects at all?

    Notwithstanding the problems with elevating sport above, for example, the arts, and taking into account the sexism and homophobia that is part of many sporting cultures, doesn’t free-to-air mass sports coverage of popular events provide:

    – a sense of belonging for a lot of people
    – a shared experience that cuts across almost all differences
    – a source of entertainment
    – a platform for social change (DreamTime at the G for example)

    Or, in your view, are those things simply not enough to compensate for the problems?


  6. David Boxcutter says:

    Hi Nelly,

    I certainly think it’s possible to have positive cultural effects. I was mostly lampooning the most extreme of the negative effects of sport, as a counter-balance to Brett’s fawning apologia.

    I wouldn’t have any problem with sports, if only it wasn’t taken to such extremes in this country. Staying with the religious theme, many of the more extreme sports supporters don’t seem to be a world away from Jihadists and Fundamentalist Christians. MUSLIMS!

    Anyway, regarding your suggestion for a new segment, I think it should be called “What’s in Cropley’s Crack Pipe This Week?” or perhaps “If You Smoke One Thing…”

  7. Nelly Thomas says:

    Thanks David, I am genuinely excited about “If you smoke one thing.” I will strongly suggest it to the BC fellas.

    And thanks for your reply, it’s a very interesting discussion.

    Oh, and for the record, I can’t speak for him, but I’m pretty sure Brett doesn’t even watch sport on TV. I dip and out of major events, but I’d venture a guess that Josh is the only committed sports watcher among us. I’m pretty sure Brett is just arguing for a passion and point of view that’s not really represented among the BC hosts. He’s a good egg like that.


  8. David Ubergeek says:

    Thanks for the discussion on this. Am only part of the way thru, but thought I’d capture my thoughts while they are hot, thereby running the risk of having you cover them later in the podcast 🙂

    I’m sure Ch 9 – and other FTA providers – want the Anti-Siphoning rules to be changed to allow them to show LIVE sport on one of their ‘other’ digital channels (viz GO! ONE, 7TWO…). Currently the law does not permit this for certain sports, including AFL and Cricket involving Aus. The government has a review of the A-S rules, but has put it off till after the election (I think we all know why – Foxtel will be the big loser and News Ltd has papers etc)

    I think Ch 9 are positioning themselves to say they are ready for this new regime, particularly for Cricket…by demonstrating they are willing to give up the Tennis and focus on the Cricket. On GO! there will be no clashes with A Current Affair for timeslot.

    Also, you headed down the path, but isn’t sport important because it is LIVE? Movies, docos, series are not. That’s the key.

    Lastly Foxtel will get competitors via IPTV. Something like Fetch TV via the NBN could be a ripper; in 2 or 3 years time (granted)

  9. David Boxcutter says:

    “Something like Fetch TV via the NBN could be a ripper;”

    I fully support that, on the condition that the network’s slogan is “That’s so Fetch!”

  10. I don’t understand what Brett was saying.

  11. Interesting discussion on the anti-siphoning laws gents. Whilst it may be a little facile to suggest everyone’s ‘right’, let me give you my take and see if there isn’t a certain amount of common ground;

    After some back and forth, I think Josh said the most relevant thing right at the end (I’m paraphrasing) – ‘there’s no economic argument for not allowing pay tv to buy up the righhts’. Err, quite. I can’t disagree as such – but with respect, I think that issue is almost completely irrelevant.

    Really, the crux of the whole matter is that it’s not an argument over economics, and treating it as such misses the point. Why did the free-to-airs make ads about saving

    sport on free-tv? It’s an appeal to emotion, not logic or economics… There’s never ever BEEN a TV campaign based on logical, rational thought; Never eeeeeever…

    Sometimes, we just pass laws ’cause we want stuff. free stuff; or semi-free, really. Or we want stuff to happen, despite our better judgement. For example, the more hard core nut-job economic rationalists say there’s no justification for ‘free’ health care, and that the dole is just a sop to lazy people who don’t want to work. Or that broadband in the bush should not be subsidised by city dwellers. And to be fair to the nutjobs, there are arguments both for and against these propositions (dependant on your political view, your mileage may vary. I just point out it’s not cut-and-dried) – But We ignore the rationalists, because we’ve decided as a society that we like living with the dole, and with medicare, and selling off Telecom ended up a disaster, so we make a value judgement as to what is fair and reasonable – because we ARE a society, not JUST an economy, so we pick and choose to legally enforce the things we want, and sometimes irrespective of the economics.
    Last I looked, the Army wasn’t turning in much of a profit, for that matter.

    Anywho, when the anti-siphoning laws were passed, the TV landscape was rather different – no real digital uptake, rather healthier balance sheets, and a whole mess of other

    issues that the Howard govt didn’t want to kick a hornet’s nest over. So ‘we the people’ decided that Uncle Kerry and Auntie the-other-Kerry, could keep getting special

    treatment and a competitive advantage, and stuff foxtel – which was operating at a loss, and had they had to pay even more huger-amounts of $$ for sport would still be

    operating at a loss. And of course the free-to-airs immediately f___ked it up by not using any of the stuff they were handed on a silver platter.

    …personally, now that we’re all switching over from analogue and the traditional viewing patterns have been decimated, the air has gone out of the issue; if anyone raised

    the Anti-S issue it could easily be overturned without too much fuss. But who knows? Maybe there’s a whole bunch of people that still care? I suspect not.
    So, in summary: both Josh and Brett are correct. Ermm… good enough? Josh, you’re right, up to a point. Brett, you’re probably closest to the way most f the pollies are thinking. And John, Yes, the new Dr Who is yummy-looking, if a little young. (sorry!)

    Finally, just for the sake of further discussion, consider the following scenarios;

    – my dear ol’ Ma Mords, a retired pensioner with a bad hip – just wants to watch St Kilda play (I know, I know *shakes head, sadly*) on the telly every weekend – she’s old,

    can’t make it to the games live, doesn’t want to go to smelly dirty pub, and can’t afford foxtel. An economic rationalist (ie, “bastard”) would say – get the rest of the family (ie me) to chip in and pay. Fine; but what about those without family? Subsidised foxtel for seniors and the decrepit?

    – the Olympics, an Australian team competes every 2 years and are supported by taxpayer contribution vias the AIS, etc etc. Why should I have to pay a private company for the

    privilege of seeing how my tax dollars are spent? Shouldn’t a channel of the digital ABC/SBS be REQUIRED to give coverage? I can see how an individual sport – Wimbledon, for

    example, where rah-rah yes Aussie Leyton n’all – but he pays for his own flight and hotel – can be a wholly and soley commercial coverage. But anything with an ‘official

    Australian’ team – why should I be forced to pay more?

    – for that matter, I don’t remember being asked to vote on who’s in the Australian Cricket team. Did i miss the enrolment form at the post office? Why are they ALLOWED to be

    the official team if I don’t have an input? Does the minister for sport?

    – correct me if I’m wrong, but there are still all sorts of restrictions to entry into TV – bandwidth, cabling requirements, etc. Do the current Pay TV cmpanies still receive

    special protections (can’t upset Auntie Kerry, Cousin James or that nice Mrs Rupert who lives down the road, after all). It’s a bit rich to argue open slather on purchasing of

    sporting rights when we still have all these other artificial constraints in place – when will the first sporting event make it to IPTV? How much will they kick and scream

    against THAT happening, even though we all know that it’s the future…

    – finally, wimbledon overall; when does Wimbledon turn up? During prime time, or after rating end for the night? (honestly, I’m struggling to remember; if the ratings aren’t ‘counted’ as such, is it a surprise W’don is the first to go?

  12. (erm; apologies for bad formatting of reply above. Who knew copy n’paste from text file was so shite? Sorry all for any reading/continuity issues…)

  13. David Boxcutter says:

    Sorry to harp on about this, but I was just thinking about an aspect that hasn’t been covered much in this debate – the issue of special-interest legislation and poor lawmaking.

    When you make laws to create specific exceptions or privileges for things that are transient phenomenon, special interests, or fads of the day, you end up making bad law.

    There are countless examples from around the world, such as prohibition or the “war on drugs” or even Germany’s anti-Nazi-memorabilia laws, or France’s laws to protect the French language and culture. Even Australia’s 6pm closing time for pubs had widespread impacts on culture, media, domestic violence and relationships.

    Closer to (the Boxcutters’) home is the way that we have special laws for digital media, for example, there are different laws in the Copyright Act for dealing with digital media versus analogue media. You have many more rights when it comes to copying analogue media than you do with digital. Why? Because instead of legislating for general principles, they legislated for specific technologies.

    Who knows what unintended consequences the ill-conceived anti-siphoning laws might have in 10 years? TV references provided: The Simpsons.

    1. The “monorail” episode, where the Mayor and Chief of Police discover they are entitled to a stipend of pigs and comely women.

    2. The “moonshine” episode where they discover obscure laws about prohibition and catapulting.


    Anyway, I think you get my point. What I’m not sure about is Nelly’s comment that Brett was just playing Devil’s Advocate (pinball machine sound effects) and hypothetically arguing a contrary position. I Don’t Buy It. He sounded pretty damn serious to me, and has argued along similar lines before.

    I guess Brett is the only one who can elucidate. Was this merely a contrarian position, or do you actually believe what you said?

    I’ve never known Boxcutters to hold back on their true feelings before. If you all hate a show, you say so. You don’t have one person pretend to like it for balance. It would be terrible if you did. You don’t have to be like Fox News or the 7pm Project and introduce disingenuous disagreement in order to make things “Fair and Balanced”.


    P.S: Is it possible to use HTML or BBcode on this forum to properly italicise, embolden or quote things?

  14. murrayNE says:

    I agreed witha lot of what you said about Hawke. Roxburgh did a great job, and the makeup was just fantastic in terms of making a guy who looks little like Hawke look a lot like him. I was a bit surprised that so little seemed to be done to get some others to match. Beasley was not too bad a match, and you could at least tell who Keating and Richardson were, but I thought Hazel was dulled down visually and presented as generally incredibly lacklustre.
    I thought that Declan was right about the influence of Hawke and D’alpuget on the piece. I heard Hawke say, during the interview, that he disapproved of one part, but at some points during the movie I had actually decided that the whole thing must have been based on one of Blanche’s Hawke bios given what a Hawkish view of things it seemed to be, and how unimportant Hazel was presented as being.

    PS – I didn’t see the difference between “thanks for the bags, Crumpler” and “thanks for the DVDs, Sanity.com.au”. However I did wonder how much chicken one should eat during the duration of the DVDs.
    PPS – Changed comments system? No more Disqus?

  15. Josh Kinal says:

    @murrayNE I wonder how much of it was the makeup and how much was Roxburgh just being one of this country’s better talents. Either way, he was pretty convincing and the makeup on the others wasn’t so either they threw all their makeup budget onto him or his acting made us believe there was more than there was.

    I’m glad you don’t see any difference between the giveaway sponsorship because there isn’t. People give us stuff and we give it to listeners. That’s just how it works. Sanity.com.au are stepping tenderly into the world of podcast support and we want them to have a good experience.

    We had to get rid of Disqus for the moment because it was playing havoc with the new version of Wordpress. We’re looking at other options for Facebook connect etc. Will keep you posted.

    @David Boxcutter It is possible to use some code. “em” tags for italics and “strong” tags for bold. At least I think that’s the case. We’ll know after this reply.

  16. Nelly Thomas says:

    Wow, there is a lot of food for thought here about sport on the telly!

    Two things:

    1. Just to clarify, I don’t think Brett was playing “Devil’s Avacado” and putting a position that’s not his. What I meant was that I don’t think he was speaking out of self-interest (that is, that he wants to watch sport free-to-air himself). I think he believes that sport has a special and particular place in Australian culture (even if it’s not so at his house) and he simply wants it to be free-to-air for those people who love it and can’t afford to pay for it. For the record, that is absolutely my position too.

    2. Given level of interest about the subject, we’re trying to line up some more special guests so we can hear a range of views.

    Thanks for everyone’s thoughts. I particularly love the granny hypothetical above.


  17. actualchad says:

    Surely I wasn’t the only one who spent the first half of the podcast thinking “Enough with the anti-siphoning spiels! Get to the Kit Kats!!”

    I’ll never be able to eat a Cadbury Dream bar again without thinking “Demon Spunk”. Thank you Josh. Up there with Brett’s “Wide On” comment last week. Certainly found my level.

  18. Actually Chad (pun semi-intended), I spent most of the first half of the episode laughing at Josh’s Fast Fictions gag…!

  19. Josh Kinal says:

    You’re totally old-school, Mords. Bless. I’m glad someone got it.

  20. The hentai gag that got lost in the din was pretty great, too.

  21. Lyndal Boxcutter says:

    Quaker! (That’s what we are doing right? Shouting names of religions?)

    If I’d been near a computer when listening to this weeks episode I would have jumped in boots and all against Brett’s ‘Sports for All’ platform. Now that nearly a week has gone by, I’ll just give it a bit of “that’s what he said” in support of David / Paul Boxcutter. It sounded like Brett just ran off at his mouth without having his arguments in place and when called on it, decided to dig himself out of the hole by digging deeper.

  22. The use of fear and violence in road safety campaigns is a touchy subject, and it was fascinating to hear the subject looked at by a psychologist. I recall that when the Mothers Against Drunk Driving brought their presentation to my school- which consisted of a 15 minute interview of parents who had lost children followed by a 30 minute short film where a group of teenagers were injured in an impared driving accident, told from the POV of the driver, who then had to apologise to the mother of his now dead childhood best friend and visiting his brain-dead girlfriend in the hospital- had half the audience in tears, and several students had to ask to leave the room because they were shaking or about to vomit. However, those students who were most affected were not the ones known for being ‘wild’, and while many of us were scared shitless, the macho posturing of some of the boys made it clear that they thought this was boring, sentimental bullshit being perpetuated to make sure our lives were as empty as our parents’ (I’m paraphrasing).

    As a teenager, I’m certain that such campaigns are affective to a point, at least as far as touching some on a very visceral level, but those who allow themselves to be affected by these campaigns are almost certainly not those who need to be reached.

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