Harry and Meghan Make Belated Bow

NZ looks like being one of the last members of the Commonwealth to broadcast CBS Presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry.

It will air 7.30 tonight on Three, almost two days after the CBS broadcast drew 17 million viewers and 22 hours after it aired on Australia’s Channel 10.

You would have thought the network might have streamed it earlier on ThreeNow but it won’t be going live on the platform until after the two-hour broadcast.

Whereas Three fast-tracked the Britney Spears documentary, Framing Britney Spears, as a ThreeNow exclusive, the Oprah special will be catch-up viewing only.

With every bombshell Harry and Meghan dropped exploding around the media world, these incredible missed opportunities undermine the Discovery-owned channel’s coup of landing the local rights.

Programming-wise it makes no sense, so presumably there were contractural conditions that stopped Three from screening the interview the same day as Australia.

Three isn’t commenting on the reasons behind the programming, be it in-house or contractural, except to point out: “If you take a look at when the special has played (or is scheduled to play) in other territories, you’ll see that it played out in the US (across every time zone) first.”

It’s possibly another example of the intricacies of licensing in the streaming era. Variety reports subscribers to the just launched Paramount+ platform in the US, which ViacomCBS owns, could only live-stream the full interview.

A source has told Variety that Harpo, Winfrey’s production company, has the streaming rights to the special, not CBS. So while the special was available on Paramount Plus to stream live, and is on CBS.com for free for the next 30 days, it won’t be added to the nascent streamer’s programming.

As of last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a multi-year deal with Netflix, and in 2018, Winfrey made a deal with Apple TV Plus. It appears those deals precluded Paramount Plus from being able to stream what will likely be one of the biggest programmes of the year, showing the complexities of the streaming wars.

Three will provide a bonus for those who still bother to tune in after all the revelations have been analysed elsewhere: a Newshub Special after the interview will feature insights from a “panel of royal experts and palace insiders”.

It will replace the previously scheduled NCIS, which will now screen next week.

In other programming changes on Three, this Saturday’s movies Blackhat and The Purge: Anarchy are being purged for Second Act (9.15) and Girls Trip (11.30).

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2 Responses to “Harry and Meghan Make Belated Bow”

  1. Yes, nonsensical in this era. Australia aired it last night, makes no sense for NZ to hold back.

  2. Yes, I wondered why it didn’t screen on Monday night, it would have got better ratings than tonight 🙂

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