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Final Project

Final Project


Australian Film: Why is nobody watching ?

Australian Film

Australian Film


It has become a vicious cycle, the audience for Australian films has lessened, therefore the films being produced and made in Australia lessened, which has now seen again to a lessening audience.

The issue that Australia’s film industry is facing is that Australian’s just aren’t buying into Australian films (Aveyard 2011 p. 42). Our nation loves a good film, whether it comes form the US or Brittan, but the question is why has Australian field got such a small Audience?

The last Australian movie that I can recall watching was Red Dog. I really enjoyed the film however I’m not sure if it was because of anything else other then I loved the dog. I can’t really recall anything else, the actors, the filming techniques, nothing.


Had the story been set in the same location with the same actors but wasn’t about a dog chances are I probably wouldn’t have watched it, but why?

One of the biggest criticisms about Australian films seems to be the fact the producers feel the need to make it appealing for audiences outside of Australia, rather then to appeal to us. They do this by often creating characters that are fit right into that Australian stereotype that other countries perceive us to be. Rough rugged with ridiculously strong Australian accents.


The portrayal of Australia in this stereotyped light is cringe inducing for Australian audiences (Buckmaster 2014) and I suspect we often think if we are going to pay to see ourselves be stereotyped, we would prefer it to be done from elsewhere because it’s simply less embarrassing.


It can be seen that Australian produced films that don’t try to depict very Australian content, like The Great Gatsby and Happy Feet, are received well in Australia and internationally (Swift 2013). So maybe this is the key for the Australian Film industry for the moment?

To rebuild the industry by focusing on productions that doesn’t portray Australia and Australians in such a stereotyped light, if at all. Perhaps then, with more money and the ability to produce better and grander productions, the Australian film industry my not only be back on track but may at this stage have a stronger and loyal Australian fan base.



 Aveyard, K 2011, ‘Australian films at the cinema: rethinking the role of distribution and exhibition’, Media International Australia, vol. 1, no. 138, pp. 36-45.

Buckmaster, L 2014, Australian Cinema Is Still Big, It’s The Audience That Got Small, Daily Review, 28 September 2014, <>.

Swift, B 2013, Why don’t we watch more Australian films?, The Guardian, viewed 28 September 2014, <>.




Regulation is not helping

GOT Piracy

GOT Piracy

At some point in time, we have all experienced a form of regulation of the media we use. Personally, I can remember growing up and having regulations put in place by others how, when and what media I used. From not being allowed to watch TV at home after Prime Possum went to bed, to not being able to watch movies outside of my age classification, my school restricting us from using our phones in class, (although we always did anyway) and even now like it being against the law for me to use my phone whilst driving.

When I look back I believe these regulations had complete purpose and worked only my benefit. My parents protecting me from seeing inappropriate content for my age, the school attempting to help my learning at s and the law to protect myself and other on the road.

Things have changed for me now though. As media has become more prominent throughout western societies, it appears that the regulation and restriction I face when using media now has shifted from being there to protect me as an audience member and a media user, but as a way of controlling audience members and a media users and in most cases, to make money from this control.

The perfect example of this can be seen when trying to watch Game Of Thrones in Australia.

Yes, we have to pay a small fortune to watch Game of Thrones

Yes, we have to pay a small fortune to watch Game of Thrones

Foxtel, Australia’s only pay TV network station owned by Rupert Murdoch has seen to having the only rights to the popular HBO TV Game Of Thrones (Powell 2014). This means, that unless you want to pay $100 a month for a Foxtel subscription there is not legal way of keeping up to date with the latest episode of GOT. This form of regulation that restricts audiences from being able to legally watch the show unless they pay large sums of money in place simply to benefit Foxtel and their bank accounts.

This form of regulation in Australia has seen Australians respond negatively and has only lead to the increase of illegal downloading of content Piracy.


Regulation seems to be going further toward controlling audiences rather then helping them with the proposed Government reforms that asks internet service providers to regulate their users internet use and punish anyone found to be illegally downloading, by slowing the internet down or cutting them off completely (Suzor & Button-Sloan 2014).

We want instant access to GOT

We want instant access to GOT

These forms of regulation are completely different to the kinds I experienced growing up and believe that people will be willing to disobey and find way around these restrictions as it is no longer benefiting the media uses but an attack on them.



Powell, R 2014, Foxtel to blame for Game of Thrones piracy, says Choice, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 21 September 2014, <>.

Suzor, N, Button-Sloan, A 2014, Brandis’ leaked anti-piracy proposal is unrealistic, The Conversation, viewed 21 September 2014, <>.


Public Problems

Where we would once find media technologies only in spaces considered private, such as our homes, it is clear that there has been a shift that sees audiences now consider public spaces just as important for accessing and absorbing media technologies. These developed media technologies have seen a dramatic change in the way the public act but also a change in public spaces themselves (Freitas, 2010, p. 630).

Talking on Trains

Talking on Trains

One of the most extreme and interesting examples of this is seen when looking at how audiences use mobile phones in public as well as the impact these devices being used in pubic has had on society.

According to Mensch (2007, p. 31)‘‘Public space is the space where individuals see and are seen by others as they engage in public affairs”.

This definition itself is already challenged by the changing dynamic of the public using their devices in public spaces. As we see people in public spaces absorbed in their phones with their heads down, paying little attention to the world around them it becomes unknown to people viewing them whether they are engaging in any kind of public affair or simply trying to crack that one level of candy crush. This unknown is what challenges this definition and goes to show just how the ideas of public space are changing dramatically with mobile phones usage in public.

It has also become apparent how public spaces have experienced not only a physical change but also an ideological change in order to cater for the use of mobile phones. This becoming obvious as I took a train from Sydney recently.

The physical change was noticed as I sat in a quiet carriage, which is basically a specifically allocated space that you can’t make calls in or play games / listen to music on your phones without headphones in.

However this physical development has come about with a set of unofficial rules put in by society or that says that you shouldn’t make loud phone calls or play angry birds on full volume for everyone to hear because it affects the social experience of nearby members of public within that public space (Turner, 2008, p. 213).

And  just like the video below I noticed this social rule and quiet carriage rule being extremely broken as a group of 15 year old boys next to me chose to make several loud phone calls as they tried to find someone to buy them alcohol for that evening.

It becomes apparent that using mobiles in public spaces is changing not only the way we view public spaces but also the social rules we put in place toward interaction within these spaces.



Freitas, A 2010, ‘Changing Spaces: Locating Public Space at the Intersection of the Physical and Digital’, Geography Compass, vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 630-643.

Mensch, J 2007, ‘Public Space’, Continental Philosophy Review, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 31-44.

Turner, M 2008, ‘Understanding emotions experienced when using a mobile phone in public: The social usability of mobile (cellular) telephones’, Telematics and Informatics, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 201-215.

Strangers in Public



After speaking to my grandmother recently, I was surprised to learn that when she was younger during the war, the cinema was once a public space where audiences gathered for much more than just watching a movie.

She explained to me that her Aunty Kath would take her to the movies, not just for something social to do, but because the cinema was the one place that the public could view news the way we have it now on TV, with a presenter and with moving images that would usually depict what was happening in the war.

She then mentioned how everyone would arrive before the movie, stand up together and sing God Save The Queen, watch about 15 minutes of news, in which my grandma always had to keep extremely quiet, as Aunty Kath would be intensely watching, because her like many others within the cinema had a loved one fighting overseas. Then, after the news had finished everyone in the full cinema would relax and the movie would begin.

That was my grandmother’s audience experience of the cinema, united as a group by singing, nervously becoming informed whilst watching images of the war on the news and then relaxed once the movie began. Completely different to what we experience now.

This really got me thinking just how the development of technologies have changed the audience experience in many media situations, especially in places such as the cinema.

With her experience in mind, I went down to the Wollongong cinema with four other friends one Tuesday evening to watch The Inbetweeners 2 and to observe how audiences now acted in this changing public space.

Organising to all go to the movies was particularly easy. Everyone in the group who came live at Camus East and it was over dinner that night that all of us sitting there decided to go after dinner. Getting there was also easy as we all jumped in a car and headed into town.

As our group was one of the first groups to enter the theatre and we decide to sit in the middle row and in that rows middle seats, with the idea that those gave us prime views of the screen.

There ended up being an additional 17 people to join our group of 5 in that viewing. With all others in groups of 2 – 3 and with one person there on their own.

Interestingly, nobody sat behind us, nobody sat in the side rows and nobody shared a row with anyone else besides the people they came with. It was also interesting seeing that every single person chose to sit in a seat in which nobody was sitting directly inform of them for at least one of two rows, even if it meant being a little further over to the side. .

So in the end, once everyone one was seated, it appeared that every group in the cinema was essentially isolated from one and other.

Another thing that was apparent was the use of mobiles. Being behind everyone else made it easy for me to see that most people used their mobiles right up until the actual movie began. Even through the trailers some people couldn’t put their phones down, as if they were trying to extract every last bit of it before they were really unable to use it for the next 2 hours.

Throughout the movie, not many people moved, not even to go to the bathroom, people laughed but that was about all I heard from anyone in the cinema.

It’s interesting looking back at my experience, where the cinema was virtually empty and for the people who did go, it seemed they wanted to pretend they were in a private space, rather then a public one.

It’s interesting to look at how the introduction of technologies have enabled and accustomed us to watch and experience things in privacy or on our own with traditional public and social places like the cinema fronting the impact from this. With more and more people choosing to stay in and experience things in privacy, it seems that the few who do venture to the cinema, bringing this new idea about need to be experience things on our own and try to employ it, evening in public environments. Seen in my experience by everyone voiding contact or closeness with other audience members.


Our Connected Home



Internet access in Australia compared to other first world countries isn’t the greatest, with large areas of the country with no or very limited internet access. Not only is internet limited in many places around the county which limits peoples access online, it is also one of the most overpriced services, which in my opinion is being charged as if it were a novelty item, yet with everything else indicating it these days to be a necessity. This overprice is the second limitation to people accessing the internet, even if living in Sydney where internet connectivity is great the price may in fact restrict a household from being networked.

National Broadband Network

National Broadband Network

So, with the proposed National Broadband Network rollout or NBN claiming to provide broadband access across the nation and provide opportunity for homes, business, education, health care, entertainment and connectivity to loved ones will these issues be resolved? What will really change in the home once the NBN rollout has taken place?

After talking with my Dad who is living in Orange, a small country city 4 hours inland from Sydney, we established our internet is ok for Australian standards. He lives with my 18 year old brother and me when I’m home from Uni and all three of us will constantly be on the internet.  At the moment at home, there is one home computer, one TV turned computer, a Wii, PlayStation 3, two iPads, three iPhones, three Laptops and one iPod connected to the internet. So between all of those devices, my brother who is continually playing World of Warcraft or playing the Playsation online against other player around the country, my dad who will do some of his work at home, emails and pay bills online and then me who is always downloading music and movies, streams just about TV show online and Skypes my friends in America and Mexico, we find that our biggest restriction is the speed of our internet. This is usually due to not having enough gigabytes per month which ultimately comes down to it being too expensive to get more any more.

When asked about the NBN and if it will change our home and lifestyle dad explained that it wouldn’t for him.  The NBN hasn’t really reached Orange yet, and only a few of the newly developed suburbs in the north have it, and a small village a few Kilometres out of Orange but that’s it. We both agreed in that for us and our family we won’t actually do anything differently in our home when we do get it, but perhaps just do those things faster. My brothers game won’t lag, my downloads will be faster and TV streaming will be smoother and me and my brother won’t have to yell at each other when one of us has slowed the other ones intent using down.

NBN around Orange, NSW

NBN around Orange, NSW

His idea of home at the moment is very internet orientated, with a lot of all of our time spent on it. He suggested that maybe because that is the case currently, we don’t think the NBN will affect us too much because it won’t allow us to do anything new that we can’t already do.

He did however think it will improve the lives of others in our town.

For some of our family friends living out of town on properties who find their internet can get down to dial up speeds at times, the NBN will be a great improvement for their households.

He also believes it will give smaller businesses in town the opportunity to expand beyond just Orange which resonates with Melissa Gregg and  Jason Wilson’s  Willunga Connects Report that explains that Increased speeds enables new businesses to develop from areas outside Australia’s main cities whilst also enabling businesses to communicate and advertise much more efficiently and productively (Gregg & Wilson 2011).

The other aspect for us in particular is that the NBN may also address the issue of overpriced internet which effects access to many households including my own, with an expected savings on $3800 per year for households by 2020 according to the ABC (Ross, 2013).

In Australia I do believe faster internet is needed, although I do not believe the NBN will alter what my family or myself use the internet for but instead improve what we’re already doing.


Gregg & Wilson, M & J2011, Willunga Connects: a baseline study of pre-NBN Willunga, Government of South Australia: Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology, accessed 23 August 2014, <>.

Ross, M 2013, ‘Household will be $3,800 richer by 2020 thanks to speedy broadband like NBN: report, ABC News, 4 September, viewed 23 August 2014, <>.

Who’s really watching?

The advancement in technology and the growing media space within the average Australian’s life, the way people watch television has completely changed. The need to sit down in front of the television every night to keep up your with favourite TV show has gone, as Australian audiences increasingly rely on the Internet and technological devices to stream, legally or illegally download content or simply use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to keep up with a TV program.

So, when it comes to measuring modern day television audiences in Australia, I think it’s fair to say that, Oztam, the official source of television audience measurement in Australia, who are still using the traditional method of pen to paper, knocking on a few thousand doors in just some of Australia’s main cities, probably aren’t capturing realistic figures from this changing television audience.

So with this in mind, as I happened to catch some of The Block this week and noticed a constant stream of tweets from other audience members appearing on the show using the hashtag #theblock and a constant push from the show asking audiences to tweet and participate on their online TV page Jump in. This got me wondering whether encouraging audiences to tweet wasn’t just for audience benefit but a tool for Television networks attempt to measure the audience watching their programs on TV or online each and every night.



The idea of using social media as a tool for gaining more accurate television audience ratings isn’t a brand new concept and has been in place in the US and Italy for a while (Wood 2014).

Nielsen takes on Twitter

Nielsen takes on Twitter

Nielsen, the global information and measurement company that has provided these serviced will this year open its doors in Australia becoming our first ever official Twitter TV Ratings provider. The company will accurately measure and understand TV related conversations on Twitter and then make it available to Australian advertisers and Television Networks (Hsieh 2014).

This new take on measuring audiences does beg the question, is this any more accurate than the traditional method? At this stage with still a large portion of the population not twitter and if they are, not using it to discuss TV viewing, probably not. But I believe it’s a step in the right direction. This method can look at all places around Australia rather than a select few and has the capacity to look at each individual rather than a select household.

~References ~

Hsieh, J 2014, ‘Media Monday: TV x Twitter arrives in Australia with ratings integration by Nielson’, Marketing Magazine, 7 April, Viewed 16 August, <>.

Wood, P 2014, ‘Experts question Twitter’s Australian TV ratings plan’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April, viewed 16 August, <SMH>.