How a strike could lead to a STRIKE

Phoebe Carre
By Phoebe Carre | 20 September 2023
Phoebe Carre

Phoebe Carre, Creative Solutions & Partnerships Lead, Dentsu

If you have every played ten-pin bowling, which I assume you have because I don’t think you are Australian if you didn’t host your 10-year-old birthday party at a bowling alley, you know that a STRIKE is the pinnacle of all moves, an entire knock-out.

The strike we’re seeing in the United States is having a similar knock-out effect on TV land. The 2023 Writers Guild of America strike has led to over 50 programs being paused, moved or stopped in production. Therefore, movies and TV programs that were likely to be released in the first half of next year will at best not be released until the end of next year.

If you’re not familiar with what the strike is about, let me simplify it.

American screenwriters, like all of us, want to be recognised for their work and skill. They face two challenges and are asking the industry to realign on; both are based on pay. Firstly, they want show residuals to be shared, rather than go to producers and production houses. Secondly, those who write for streaming services want pay contracts. Only TV and screen writers have minimum wage contracts (which were only established in 2020) and streaming writers have no contracts in place, which makes it difficult to earn a consistent living.

The flow-on impacts of this are that we won’t see any fresh content on Netflix, and their competitors, until the protest is resolved.

You may be wondering why this is relevant to you and your clients. Easy: where there is change, there is opportunity.

The public do not change their viewing habits overnight. People love to binge.

Just because I won’t be able to watch the next season of Emily in Paris next year (devastating, right?), I will still want to watch a binge-worthy series and be seeking out shows that will fill that void.

If streaming services aren’t going to provide fresh new shows, then the Australian public will go looking in other places.

Enter the rebirth of free-to-air television in 2024.

As cost-of-living increases, this is also a consumer win knowing we can safely unsubscribe from streaming services next year and not miss out on workplace toaster chat.

With no local writers’ strike or covid restrictions, Australian broadcast networks are producing more shows for 2024 than they did in 2023.

If you want to STRIKE your client’s competitors out of the way, I would strongly suggest you start to consider what Australian programs you can integrate into and the free-to-air channels that will resonate most with your target audience.

70% of people find brands through content and partnerships (some lovely News data proves this). If you want more people to find your customers' brand, then there has never been a more cost-effective time to invest in broadcast partnerships.

Whatever your client’s budget, there will be an opportunity to STRIKE. Whether you just look to do spots and dots, or whether you trust my opinion piece and want to put the full budget into a program integration, you will gain more eyes on your brand. 

With Upfronts starting to fill our calendars here are three questions you should be considering when you attend (apart from what will they be serving as appetisers?):

  •          Who is the audience for each program?
  •          What values does the program stand for?
  •          When does each show go into production?

The first two questions will guide you to see which programs you should request further information on, and the last question determines the level of integration you can do, such as full integration or sponsorship of the program if you missed filming dates.

Like the ten-year-old in us visiting the bowling alley, we all want a STRIKE; we all want to knock our competitors out of the way. Next year might just be your year, if you lean into broadcast sponsorships.

*For those desperate to know what I’m replacing Emily in Paris with, my first stop is Strife, a comedy drama following the story of a female publisher climbing the ranks in media, to be released on Binge later this year and inspired by Mia Freedman’s memoir.

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