You’ve got to feel sorry for those who do not have Foxtel and are up very late stuck with free to air TV only. Apart from the ABC, no free to air network offers continuous programming throughout the grave yard shift from Midnight to dawn.
Ch 7 have recently added an extra hour to their over night infomercials, running from 1am to 4am. And on Prime, its even worse – they get informercials right through to 5.30am. Strangely, 7HD on weeknights finish at 2am or so before reverting back to normal 7 programming. 9 and NBN has 2 hours of infomercials from 2-4am, and over at Ten, its 2 hours from the ridiculously early 12.30 through to 2.30am. SC10 has 4 hours. So between 7, 9 and 10 there is half an hour when all you can see is informercials. On top of that, the regionals have extra infomercials during the day. One example is 11am on NBN. They don’t show the 11am news that is on 9 instead having infomercials for half an hour.
So why is this the case? There was a time when there used to be programming overnight. You could see old episodes of Prisoner on ch 10 in the early 90′s at 3 or 4am. Ch 7 used to have News Overnight – a collection of (mostly) NBC news shows from the US. Ch 9 used to play old movies. Going back further, 10 used to have music videos over night.
Obviously the networks are paid to show these infomercials, but in my opinion, I can’t imagine anyone would be actually watching them – so therefore why would an advertiser bother? It would be better if the networks showed actual progammes at those hours as they’d be able to sell the advertising space to regular advertisers or just have the two minute infomercial style ads in the breaks like they have on some of the Foxtel channels and daytime TV.
Of course, this advertising space would be quite cheap, but that’s not a bad thing – it would give companies who usually cannot afford to advertise on TV the chance to advertise cheaply. And if paying staff to work that late is an issue, then pre-record the night time programming during the day. That way, there is no need for any additional staff overnight. Why not replay prime time? 2 or 3 hours of shows from 7.30 onwards repeated overnight. All that would need to be done would be to change the ads, which, if they were pre-recording, they could insert the different ads into the recording. Apart from providing something for people to watch, this would give viewers the chance to watch a show they may have missed earlier.
At least we have the option of watching sports free to air on ONE HD. According to their program, sport continues overnight, uninterupted. Perhaps 10 could broadcast ONE on its main channel instead of informercials overnight. And as for SC10, well they have not yet informed anyone as to when they will offer ONE HD, but an announcement is tipped to happen within a week or two.