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Networking Commercial Television in Australia

Networking Commercial Television in Australia
Nick Herd


Publication 15 April 2012 
hardback only, 408 pages


“No mere recitation of facts and dates, Nick Herd’s history of commercial television in Australia is without doubt one of the most sophisticated pieces of media history written in this country. Satisfying the reader’s natural desire for a narrative, it equally engages with the complex tri-market structure of the television industry ‑ the ‘audience-commodity’, the ‘program-supply’ and the ‘broadcast-station’ markets ‑ and the pressures on those markets as technology, audience tastes, Australian culture, and politics and influence ebb and flow over more than fifty years. A triumph, stitching analytical rigour and industry reality into a seamless story.”

Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham FAHA
Director ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation


Australia’s first comprehensive history of the founding and growth of our commercial television, from single stations to powerful national networks, and of its ancillary industries in newsmaking, production and advertising.

Networking is the story of how the arrival of this new modern technology changed the face of Australia. It’s about commerce, innovation and consumerism, about the challenges that faced the pioneering creators, investors and decision-makers, about the choices they made and the legislation they imposed. But more importantly, Networking is about the democratic processes of popular opinion, public tribunals, supply and demand, assertion and speculation through which over fifty years the power of mass communication spread to scattered communities across impossible distances, bearing the nation’s stories.

“From the start”, writes the author, “commercial television was conceived as a form of broadcasting undertaken for profit and funded by advertising”, but it is first a social, not a financial, institution and social change has contributed to its character as greatly as its engineers.  Good and bad, it’s the television we had to have.


Dr Nick Herd is well-known to the TV industry in research, cultural policy and industry advocacy. He has held senior posts with the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, Australian Broadcasting Authority, Screen Producers Association and Screen Australia. He is currently Director of Research and Strategic Analysis at the Australia Council for the Arts.


Networking was launched at Trackdown in the Entertainment Quarter in Sydney on 26 April.
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