Ten’s new digital channel will not launch until 2011 according to a report in the Australian Financial Review quoting Ten’s chief executive Grant Blackley.
The new channel had been set to launch in the second half of 2010, and Ten had even been reported that plans were well underway but they were yet to name the channel and finalise some of the finer points. It had been revealed that the channel would be entertainment based, and many of the shows which Ten have the rights to but not yet airing or have taken off their main channel were expected to be seen there.
Nine – who also promised a new channel this year – have so far indicated that plans were on track, but no specifics have surfaced. Nothing has been heard of Seven’s planned third channel, and the Australian Financial Review further states that neither Seven or Nine were rushing to launch new channels. ABC’s new 24 hour news channel – ABC News 24 – is still set to possibly launch in July, with test transmissions being carried out in May and June. SBS have hinted at the possibility of a third channel, but no details there either.
One possible reason for the delay could be the result of the networks getting used to the new digital climate which has seen audiences on their main channels shrink by as much as 15% while audiences overall when digital channels are included have remained much the same as previous years. Let’s not forget that it was only 18 months ago we had nothing but HD break aways and no full time digital channels by any network.
From a business perspective, it would be a big ask to fragment the audience further by launching third channels too soon after the second channels – which are only themselves finding their footing now as digital uptake increases across the country.
It is Ten, however, that out of the three commercial free to air channels have the most to gain out of launching a third channel. With their second channel ONE locked in as a niche sports channels, the benefit Ten gains in overall shares from ONE is very low compared to Nine’s GO and Seven’s 7TWO – both of which are adding an average of 3% to shares obtained by their main channels.
A third Ten channel would claim back some of that entertainment audience lost to 7TWO and GO in particular and help Ten as a network be more competitive in overall shares with Seven and Nine. Ten, however, focus more on the demographics as opposed to overall people but still take lowest share of advertising revenue compared to Seven and Nine.
Sources: TV Tonight, Australia Financial Review, Media Week, OzTam, Daily Telegraph