Nine’s new digital channel GO is set to launch on Sunday August 9, 2009 at a time yet to be announced.
The channel will be aiming at the 14 -39 year old demographic and will include shows such as Gossip Girl, The Hills, Fringe, Eleventh Hour, Terminator – the Sarah Conner Chronicles, Weeds, The Wire, Survivor, The Bachelor, Sienfeld, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Gordon Ramsey will return to our free to air screens with Kitchen Nightmares as well as other much loved channel 9 shows like CSI. And no doubt, as seen in 9’s current 9HD breakaways, shows like I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched will get a look in.
To the relief of many fans of shows axed on 9, GO!99 is looking like a repository of the numerous axed shows left incomplete from 9’s main channel from 9’s typically harsh axe chopping shows that do not perform with little or no notice.
While many of the shows on GO can already be seen on Foxtel, the new channel offers a chance for those without subscription TV the chance to sample these shows and hopefully they will not be treated the same way such shows are treated on the main channel.
Without the ratings pressure and advertising demands of the main channel, we should see programming on GO be relatively stable, and it could well be 9’s opportunity to start picking up market share it is losing on its main channel – mostly due to poor programming decisions, last minute programming changes and out of schedule programming.
GO!99 is channel 9’s opportunity to win viewers back who are deserting 9 losing faith in their poor programming decisions. Now, one would hope, that if a show you get into fails on 9, then you’ll see it on GO!99.
It will be very interesting to see what the programming will be like. So many questions needing answers – for example – will the channel run 24 hours a day? Even 9 itself is really only 21 or 22 hours a day once you take out time for overnight infomercials. Will there be encores or catch up episodes of main 9 shows there as well? Most importantly though, will 99 be immuned to the bombardment of Two and a Half Men and 20-1 seen on the main channel?
And perhaps the biggest question of all – what becomes of 9HD?
In my opinion, 9HD should be set up as per the following: If a show on 9’s main channel is available in HD, then it should be shown 9n 9HD. If a show on GO!99 is available in HD at the same time a show on 9 main is NOT available in HD, then 9HD should show the GO!99 show in HD. That means the HD channel would show HD content most of the time. I suspect that the current 9HD breakaways will all become part of GO!99 regular programming. In particular, this means that Ellen, The View and ET during the day – all of which are made in HD can be shown in HD again while 99 shows what 9HD was doing during the day.
GO!99 will be available on digital channel 99 in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. WIN owned channel 9 in Perth and Adelaide will also offer GO! For the rest of Australia, see the next post!