Back in the day, an exclusive television interview might have seen an interviewee receive a considerably generous dollar-figure for their story. Nowadays, however, television networks just don’t have that kind of money.
News Corp has this week reported that Sydney siege survivor Marcia Mikhael has been signed by Channel Seven for $400,000 to tell her story, while John O’Brien is said to be receiving $100,000 for his.
Channel Nine has also arranged for Sydney siege survivors Fiona Ma, Harriette Denny, Joel Herat and Jarrod Morton Hoffman to tell their stories, with a combined offer of $1 million. Though Fairfax Media has reports that this figure may be much lower.
All figures fall substantially short of the reported $2.6 million that the Beaconsfield miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell received in 2006.
“Times are tough in television,” says media analyst Steve Allen, managing director of Fusion Strategy. He says that a decade ago television networks could offer more for big interviews.
“You can’t go crazy…Now, you’ve got a substantial amount of the audience that watches the digital multi-channels,” Allen says. While significant interviews like these “will drag some eyeballs back,” television networks are facing tougher competition than 10 years ago.
It is unclear whether the rival networks will air their interviews in the same timeslot, though multiple sources say it is unlikely.
Allen says, “Seven had the camera sitting opposite [the Lindt café], so they have footage we haven’t seen yet…But Nine has signed all the staff. Put simply, both should rate.”
Do you think that the victims are right to sell their story? Will you tune in?