With 7HD about to scale down the number of hours of break aways each day, the speculation only grows as to when channel 7 will launch their new digital channel. Possible launch dates being tipped are October 4 and October 15 which is the two year anniversary of the launch of the 7HD break away service. To date, however, there are no details pertaining to the name of the new channel or the content. Hopefully though, they will have it registered with OzTam (the people who measure ratings) soon enough so as not to cause confusion with show ratings including both viewers from the main channel and viewers from the secondary channel.
So far, it is mostly agreed by contributors and bloggers on TV websites like this one that the new channel will be mostly lifestyle based, showcasing repeats of many of the lifestyle shows channel 7 has aired over the years together with numerous factual programs as well. Some of these can already be seen on 7HD and most likely the current 7HD programming has been the trigger for these thoughts. Channel 9 used 9HD to air shows similar to what ended up being on GO.
But channel 7 could opt to do something completely different. We won’t know until the first programs come out about 2 weeks before the launch.
In the meantime though, we can only speculate and offer our opinions of what we would like to see on the new digital channel. Our poll on Throng suggests that most people would like to see movies on the new channel.
Good movies is an area that free to air TV lacks severely these days. Perhaps it is the perception that viewers no longer want to commit to watching two to three hours in one sitting or the fact that moves on free to air simply no longer rate well. The idea these days seems to be to load up the weekly program with one hour mostly crime or drama shows and half hour sitcoms. Mix that in with repeats and you essentially have the formula for what shows on TV most of the time these days.
Movies can rate well on free to air TV. But they would need to be first to free to air movies and not the same movies that get repeated many times a year we see now. Most of these heavily repeated movies – especially those on the weekends – are over ten year old and suit more of a late night airing then the standard movie start time of 8.30. This year, there have been a few examples of new to free to air movies ratings well, the most notable of which was “The Devil Wears Prada” in its first airing on channel 10 in February. Its second run in August did OK as well.
Back when 7HD was launched, there was the promise of movie nights, but that never happened. Having a good movie on at 8.30 each night (but not the same old repeats they always play) could be a welcome change and offer viewers better options without sacrificing ratings from the main channel – which of course is the way that secondary channels are seen to have to be programmed by the respective networks programming department.
Apart from movies, most who took part in the poll chose a good mix of programming would be their preferred choice. Others would like to see a channel dedicated to family entertainment which would draw mostly on 7’s relationship with Disney. Only 7% would like to see a channel made up of factual and lifestyle programming while 8% like the idea of a music or youth based channel.
The second most common format that many had thought would be likely – a time shifted or delayed broadcast of channel 7 itself is not a favourite in anyones’ books – with only 1 vote in our poll out of nearly 300 respondents. To me, while I think having repeats and catch up TV available at certain times, a time shift channel would be a waste of space.
Should be around mid September when we will know more about channel 7’s new digital channel.
And the poll is still open. Let us know your opinion on what content you would like to see on channel 7’s new digital channel. Feel free to leave comments here as to what you would name the channel, if it was up to you. Click here for the poll.