Two years ago, Seven launched their third digital channel 7mate off the back of the HD broadcast of the 2010 AFL Grand Final on September 25, 2010. Supposed to be a day earlier, but ending up a day later due to set up difficulties, Nine launched its third channel, GEM. Continue reading »
The Ten network has endured a stream of abuse from angry fans after sticking with its decision to move its Formula 1 from the HD channel One to the standard definition main channel and delay the telecasts for viewers not on the east coast.
Ten Sport’s twitter address, @tensporttv, bore the brunt of the anger from hundreds of fans who pledged to boycott the network, advertisers and source pirated or paid streams from overseas. Continue reading »
Updated March 28, 2013
Here is the list of digital channels updated as at March 28, 2013. All channels in SD (standard definition), unless otherwise stated.
ABC1 – 2 & 21
ABC2 – 22
ABC3 – 23
ABC News 24 – 24 (HD Channel). Also on 20 is some areas.
ABC HD channel 20 phased out to make way for ABC News 24 on channel 24.
SBS ONE – 3 & 31
SBS TWO – 32
SBS ONE HD – 30 (HD Channel, simulcast of SBS ONE)
SBS also transmits channels 33 and 34 (until early December 2012) which are clones of SBS ONE
NITV – 34 from December 12, 2012
Seven – 7, 70 & 71
7TWO – 72
7mate – 73 (HD Channel)
7HD that used to be on 70 no longer exists.
74 – TV 4ME – Information / infomercial / paid program channel
Nine – 9
GO! – 99
GEM - 90 (HD Channel)
GEM replaced 9HD or Nine High Def ch 90.
Extra – 94 – Information / Infomercial / paid programming channel from March 26, 2012
Extra2 – 95 – appeared as part of Nine’s digital channel matrix March 28, 2013. So far, as I can only say it is the Sydney market only.
Ten – 10
ELEVEN – 11
ONE – 12 & 1
SD simulcast of ONE formerly on ch 12 was dropped to make way for ELEVEN
TVSN – Channel 14 (Home Shopping)
Ch 31, TVS and the like now digital in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth on digital ch 44
Special / part time
TV 4ME – Essentially 24 hour infomercial channel launched December 2011 on channel 74 in 5 metro and regional QLD, part of Seven’s multi-plex
Extra – Essentially 24 hour infomercial channel launching March 26 2012 on channel 94 in at least the 3 eastern state capitals, part of Nine’s multi-plex
3D Channel – 40 (HD, used only for 3D trials in 2010, not currently on the air)
3D Channel – 95 (HD, used for London Olympics daily 3D highlights during the 2012 Olympics)
Extra2 – 95 – appeared March 28 (Sydney market).
Regional (eastern states).
Prime Main Channel – 6, 60 & 61
7TWO on Prime – 62
7mate on Prime – 63 (HD Channel)
Prime HD channel 60 no longer exists. Note: 7mate on ch 60 in some markets.
64 – TV 4ME. Regional NSW, VIC, ACT. Essentially same as 74.
Main Channel – 8
GO! – 88
GEM - 80 (HD Channel)
Extra – 84
SC10 Main channel – 5
ONE HD – 50 (HD channel).
Eleven – 55
Television 4 / TV 4ME – 64. Launched September 18, 2011. Only those who are in Prime markets will get this channel.
Extra – 24 hour infomercial channel launched March 26 2012 on channel 84. Known as WIN GOLD in WIN markets.
Digital channel summary.
Nine – 9.
Seven – 7, 70 & 71
Ten – 10
ABC1 – 2 & 21
SBS ONE – 3 & 31. Available in HD on ch 30.
Digital Channels (in launch order)
ABC2 – 22 Launched 2007
ONE – 1 & 11 (at the time, now 1 & 12) Launched March 27, 2009
SBS TWO – 32 Launched June 1, 2009 (replacing SBS News channel)
GO! – 99 Launched August 9, 2009
7TWO – 72 Launched November 1, 2009
ABC3 – 23 Launched December 3, 2009
ABC News 24 – 24 Launched July 22, 2010
7mate – 73 Launched September 25, 2010
GEM – 90 Launched September 26, 2010
ELEVEN – 11 Launched January 11, 2011
Community – 44 Various dates for various mator markets
TV4 – 74 – Launch December 2011. Five city metro and regional QLD
Extra – 94 – from March 26, 2012 – Syd / Melb / Bris
TVSN – 14 – September 24, 2012. Metro markets only
NITV – 34 – December 12, 2012.
Extra2 – 95 – from March 28, 2013 (Sydney market only so far – subject to confirmation from other markets).
Still to come:
SBS THREE – 33 – possible for late 2013 / 2014.
Regional (NSW, VIC, ACT)
WIN, NBN - 8.
Prime - 6, 60 & 61
SC10 - 5, 55
ABC1 – 2 & 21
SBS ONE – 3 & 31. Available in HD on ch 30.
ABC2 – 22
ONE - 50
SBS TWO – 32
GO! - 88
7TWO – 62
ABC3 – 23
ABC News 24 – 24
7mate – 63
GEM – 80
ELEVEN – 55
TV4 – 64 Launched September 18, 2011. Prime regional markets only. Read more here.
Extra – 84 from March 26. NBN regionals, can’t confirm WIN at this point.
After effectively giving up their bid for partial rights to the AFL last year, Ten look set to go for the up and comgin NRL rights renewal as chairman Lachlan Murdoch (pictured) and his Chief executive James Warburton make a bid to take the NRL broadcastrights from Nine.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Ten has dramatically ramped up its interest in the game in recent months, so much so that it is already working out budgets to televise all eight matches per week.
Until recently, its interest had been confined to high-rating Friday or Monday night matches – but that has changed. “We want it all,” said one Ten source last night.
NRL chief executive David Gallop confirmed last night that Murdoch and Warburton had indicated a stronger interest than just one game a week in recent negotiations.
“That simply confirms the conversations we’ve had with James Warburton and Lachlan Murdoch in recent weeks,” Gallop said. “If you’re running a network and there’s the possibility of getting your hands on over 30 weeks of high-rating cross-demographic content, you would be mad not to be interested.”
The NRL is banking on a $1 billion payday from its next broadcast deal, which expires at the end of this year.
Gallop has long advocated the game would be willing to break up the television rights in order to bump up the value of the next deal.
It is understood Seven remains keen to broadcast State of Origin, although industry insiders said it has not discounted the idea of showing more matches.
It is understood Ten has now gone so far to start discussing possible commentary line-ups and production schedules to accommodate being the No. 1 rugby league broadcaster.
Murdoch, who was appointed chairman of Ten earlier this week, knows that Ten desperately needs high quality content on his network.There is also enormous pressure on the newly formed ARL Commission to strike a $1 billion-plus broadcast deal.
Chairman John Grant revealed last week that negotiations with current rights holders Nine and Fox Sports had started on February 1.
“Subject to our legal obligations, we would certainly consider breaking up our packages,” Gallop said. “We are in exclusive negotiating periods with our incumbent rights holders but subject to that we are obviously interested in the other possibilities.”
Ten remained tight-lipped on the network’s interest in the rights last night. “We look at all sports rights as they become available,” the spokesperson said.
Source, including picture: Daily Telegraph
Aussies and US ex-pats alike will be able to see Super Bowl XLVI LIVE on ONE and in HD from 10am Monday February 6. The game will be replayed 10.30pm that night. At 9am Monday Feb 6, prior to the Superbowl, is a one hour special called Road To The Super Bowl.
On Sunday February 5, a new series called Dangerous Drives premieres on ONE. That is followed by the movie I Spy from 2002 at 8.30pm.
Monday night (Feb 6) comedy night features another two episodes of Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, followed by the stand up special Arj Barker – Balls at 8.30pm.
Black Gold continues with its new series at 7.30pm Tuesday night (Feb 7), followed by Cops at 8.30 and double Rush repeats from 9.30pm.
Wednesday (Feb 8th) has new Psych at 7.30, followed by new Burn Notice at 8.30pm. The movie at 9.30 is Jarhead.
On Friday (Feb 10) is the series premiere of LA Hard Hats at 7.30pm which investigates the day to day experiences of iron workers, plumbers, electricians and the men and women who install the glass facades of Evo South in downtown Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Fear Factor continues on Saturday night (Feb 11) at 7.30, with double COPS at 8.30pm. At 9.30 is 48 Hours, followed by the NBL featuring Wollongong Hawks Vs New Zealand Breakers.
Sport on Ten and ONE is now all branded as Ten Sport.
Gone are those big ONE HD logos and promos that populated the channel for just over two years as it played 24 hour sport.
Shirts, microphones and signage on Australian produced sporting events that air on Ten, even if they also air on ONE, all now say Ten Sport.
ONE HD, early in 2011, in an attempt to attract more prime time viewers and thereby increase ratings, gradually introduced more general entertainment programming.
First, it was male skewing documentaries, then movies
On May 8, 2011, ONE HD became known simply as ONE, and the majority of prime time programming was general entertainment, save for major sporting events like the Formula One which has always been a ratings hit for the channel.
A 24 hour free to air sports channel was a good idea, just a little too niche to stand its ground amongst a sea of general entertainment digital channels. The Ten network seriously had not choice but to act at least on the prime time schedule to improve its position in the market.
Since moving to general entertainment in prime time, ONE has seen ratings increase many times over, and figures close to what the other commercial free to air digital channels achieve.
It appears that ONE have taken a leaf out of Seven/7mate’s book with the AFL this Saturday September 17, between West Coast and Carlton airing live on ONE in Sydney. Other markets will see the match live on Ten, while in Sydney it airs later in the night on the main channel.
The move is no doubt in response to the Sydney Swans being in the finals this year, and the likelihood of Sydney fans wanting to see how the other games pan out.
Seven have frequently used 7mate to air AFL games, and so far, have done so in Sydney and Brisbane for Friday night finals games. Although this Firday night (September 16), the Sydney vs Hawthorn game will also air live into Sydney, with only Brisbane having it live on 7mate.
And before anyone asks, the AFL on ONE in Sydney, like is the case when 7mate airs games, is NOT in HD.
Now what did Ten/ONE do with all their HD gear that they used to use for HD broadcasts of AFL?
This leads me to the next post…
Network Ten Announces Expanded Line-up of Seriously Good TV For 2012
Network Ten announces its strongest program line-up in recent years, with a big new
entertainment format, an exciting slate of Australian drama, seven new
international series and plans to strengthen its dominance in daytime.
Network Ten chief programming officer, David Mott said: “2012 is shaping up as one
of our most entertaining years ever. We are firmly focused on dominating in 18-49.”
New to TEN in 2011, come two new US dramas:
TERRA NOVA - In this highly anticipated series, filmed in the rainforests of Queensland, Steven Spielberg’s ambitious drama is an epic adventure that’s set to turn the sci-fi genre on its head. Think Jurassic Park meets Lost!
HOMELAND – a gritty psychological drama starring Claire Danes and Mandy
Patinkin. The series centres on the homecoming of a US Marine and the CIA agent
who suspects him of plotting a terrorist attack on US soil.
NEW TO TEN IN 2012
BREAKFAST – TEN is shaking up early mornings with BREAKFAST. Featuring a
comination of news and entertainment, BREAKFAST will be the perfect start to the
day. Speaking at Wednesday night’s launch event, the first of BREAKFAST’s co-hosts
Andrew Rochford said: “Breakfast radio has taught me a great deal about how
people want to start their day. They want the facts, but they want them in a light
and entertaining way.”
YOUNG TALENT TIME – the show that launched the careers of Dannii Minogue, Tina
Arena and Debbie Byrne returns home to TEN. Hosted by ex Australian Idol, Rob Mills and coproduced
by the show’s original creator, Mr Johnny Young, YOUNG TALENT TIME
2012 will be a contemporary take on the original format – just right for the GLEE
NEW AUSTRALIAN DRAMA IN 2012
BIKIE WARS – BROTHERS IN ARMS – From Screentime, the makers of Underbelly, and
based on the best-selling book by Sandra Harvey, new series BIKIE WARS – BROTHERS
IN ARMS is a compelling story of the Comancheros and the Bandidos – and their
murderous showdown at Milperra.
UNDERGROUND – THE JULIAN ASSANGE STORY – set in Melbourne in the 1990s, this
real-life drama follows the activities of the accused underground hacker as he
cracks the codes to the CIA’s computer systems. It’s the true story of Julian Assange.
PUBERTY BLUES – the TV adaption of Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey’s groundbreaking
coming-of-age story, this series is a rites of passage tale about two
teenage girls. It’s a frank and fearless look at teens in the 1970s.
REEF DOCTORS – Lisa McCune joins TEN as co-producer and star of a fast-paced
action-adventure series called REEF DOCTORS. Due to start production later this
year, the series will be filmed in and around the stunning Great Barrier Reef and the
Daintree Rainforest of Northern Queensland.
NEW INTERNATIONAL CONTENT IN 2012
THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW – in 2012, TEN is giving viewers a whole new reason to
stay in on Saturday nights with the show that’s a must for A-list celebrities. This is one of the funniest programs on British television – it’s fast, it’s fun and it’s wickedly cheeky.
TEN’s long running partnerships with Twentieth Century Fox and CBS will continue to
deliver in 2012 with:
NEW GIRL – a witty new half-hour comedy starring Zooey Deschanel as an adorable
20-something trying to get over a bad break-up. In 20′s REALLY!
THE FINDER – from the creator of Bones, comes a new one-hour spin-off procedural,
starring Geoff Stults as the man who can find anything and anyone.
THE 2-2– a fast-paced series produced by Academy Award winner, Robert De Niro
and featuring an ensemble cast that includes Leelee Sobieski, THE 2-2 revolves
around six rookie cops learning to balance their personal lives with the demands of
THE GIFTED MAN – New from CBS, THE GIFTED MAN stars Patrick Wilson as an ultra
competitive surgeon whose life is changed when his ex-wife dies.
HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN – inspired by the book of the same name, this is a
comedy about unlikely friendships. Starring Reece Darby (Flight of the Conchords)
and Kevin Dillon (Entourage), HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN adds another comedy to
RETURNING IN 2012
In addition to the all new YOUNG TALENT TIME, all TEN’s marquee franchises are set
to return in 2012.
Get ready for some romance with THE BIGGEST LOSER – SINGLES. Settle in for
another delicious season of MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA. And then get ready for a
whole new RENOVATORS experience.
Speaking about the return of THE RENOVATORS, Mr Mott said: “So far the format has
underperformed. But, it’s a brand we believe in so we are working directly with
Shine to renovate THE RENOVATORS for 2011 and beyond.”
Also back for another year, hit US comedy MODERN FAMILY, and returning for
season three, the little music show that could, GLEE. Fans can look forward to the
next installment of MERLIN. There’s also more of the LAW & ORDER franchise, another
season of THE GOOD WIFE, and plenty more NCIS and NCIS: LOS ANGELES.
TEN’s line-up of returning US hits is underpinned by a raft of locally produced light
entertainment formats including more BONDI RESCUE and another season of BONDI
In daytime, there will be more hilarity with the girls from THE CIRCLE, as well as all
your favourite day-time hits. George and the 6.30 team will be back in 2012
followed by another ripper year of Dave Hughes, Charlie Pickering and Carrie
Bickmore as they bring you their take on the stories of the day in THE 7PM PROJECT.
Also returning in 2012, fans of the Proudman family can look forward to the next
installment of OFFSPRING.
ONE IN 2012
With ONE now firmly established as a premium entertainment channel for 25-54s,
with a distinct appeal for men, 2012 will be another big year for the channel.
Leading the charge is the next season of US drama SONS OF ANARCHY and more of
the British travel series AN IDIOT ABROAD… THE BUCKET LIST. Also making ONE the
destination for entertainment is PRISON BREAK, and every episodes of the show that
changed it all – 24.
All this mixed with groundbreaking adventure series, COPS, TWISTER SISTERS and FEAR
FACTOR and you have a compelling line-up for adrenaline junkies. And don’t forget
all the action of the MOTOGP and every round of the FORMULA ONE live and
exclusive to ONE.
ELEVEN IN 2012
The star performer of Australia’s digital multi-channels this year, ELEVEN has
cemented its place as the cheeky and irreverent destination for the youth market.
In 2012, ELEVEN will again be the home to US series WILFRED, the Australian dog
done good, supernatural drama BEING HUMAN and US talent competition THE GLEE
PROJECT. There’ll be more NEIGHBOURS, THE SIMPSONS, FUTURAMA, DEXTER and
SUPERNATURAL as well as plenty more from the CBS library with EVERYBODY LOVES
RAYMOND, FRASIER, HAPPY DAYS and SEX AND THE CITY.
STILL TO COME ON TEN IN 2011
Still to come in 2011, JUNIOR MASTERCHEF is back for a second season, showcasing
the talents of Australia’s best young amateur cooks. Guided by Gary Mehigan,
George Calombaris, Matt Moran and Anna Gare, these tiny cooks face mighty
challenges with youthful enthusiasm, bringing the joy back to cooking.
The biggest sports showdown of the year, the AFL GRAND FINAL will air on TEN on
And from the makers of GOOD NEWS WEEK, there’s the all-new GOOD NEWS WORLD,
as well as more CAN OF WORMS, new TALKIN’ ‘BOUT YOUR GENERATION, the seires
of RUSH and RECRUITS: PARAMEDICS.
Rounding out the year, is a bold and powerful new series, CLASS OF 2011. It follows
a group of students as they attempt to get their academic careers back on track.
It’s not about a quick fix, nor is it about improving exam results. It’s about changing
lives and setting kids on the right course for life. Uplifting, touching and optimistic,
CLASS OF 2011 will leave you energised about what’s possible when the education
system gets it right.
In 2012, Network Ten will continue to expand its suite of digital media assets,
ensuring audiences can watch all our shows, any time, and place with a range of
With dedicated websites, catch-up TV, as well as iPhone and iPad sites across each
of our channels, TEN will launch Android, internet-connected TV and gaming
platform services over the next twelve months, giving Network Ten the deepest
connectivity of any commercial network.
And with 3 million unique visitors to our sites each month, more than 60 million video
views so far this year and dwell times in excess of 20 minutes, Network Ten also
boasts some of the highest online engagement levels of any commercial network.
Network Ten is among the leading networks for catch-up TV, with the rights to
stream over 60 programs. In 2012 we will continue to expand our catch-up TV
service, watchtv, giving fans even more opportunity to watch episodes they’ve
missed or re-watch their favourite TV moments.
And just as we did this year for the MotoGP and Formula One, in 2012, BREAKFAST
and YOUNG TALENT TIME will be streamed live online and via smart phone
Ten have always gone out of their way to do things differently. Until recently, Ten have avoided taking part in the 6pm news and current affairs wars that consume Seven and Nine. They avoid the morning breakfast battle between their two commercial rivals. They even have their own definition of prime time when reporting ratings shares.
Ten have always aimed at the younger demographics, with younger skewing programming being at the core of what Ten does. But with the advent of digital channels over the last two years, younger skewing digital channels such as GO! and 7mate from rival networks Seven and Nine have eaten away at Ten’s core viewer base.
Ten were well aware of this problem going into 2011 as they launched the extra news service at 6.30pm and 6pm George Negus in an attempt to lure some viewers away from Seven and Nine. Meanwhile, Ten’s younger audience were directed to ELEVEN – their own digital channel aimed predominantly at 13-29 year olds. ELEVEN became the home of The Simpsons and Neighbours, which, until the end of 2010, aired on Ten from 6pm-7pm.
With Ten aiming for more older viewers and moving away from 16-39 year olds, and ELEVEN an almost instant hit with its target demographic, only their other digital channel – the sports channel ONE HD – was left bringing the network down, with nightly shares of around 1%. Solution was to add some general entertainment, and then on May 8, take away most sports from prime time.
Now that the digital channels combined are drawing nightly shares not too different to their commercial competitors, the attention then shifts back to the main channel Ten. Masterchef this year did not perform anywhere near previous years, and their big end of year hope The Renovators is close to being one of the most expensive television flops in history.
Not only should Ten consider action on The Renovators along the lines covered in the previous part, but they should start looking at the rest of their programming and finding solutions to keep more eyeballs on their main channel for longer.
Ten’s 2012 line up of shows will be announced tonight. Expected to feature is a revival of Young Talent Time and the announcement of an early morning breakfast show to go up against Seven and Nine – which will mean preschool programming moves into the afternoons, if it can’t be aired in the mornings.
While the new shows for 2012 may bring some reprieve for Ten, the network need to look at their overall approach to programming to get themselves back into the battle with Seven and Nine.
Ten should straight away stop only programming for their own primetime definition of 6pm – 10.30pm weeknights. Both Seven and Nine, as well as the industry as a whole, define prime time and the time that nightly ratings count towards the ratings battle as 6pm – midnight every night. Only Ten use 6pm – 10.30pm which skews ratings figures in favour of their own network.
Seven, on many weeknights, airs new content as late as 11.30pm. Nine air shows like CSI: Miami, Football Classified, and the Footy Show Late in late night timeslots. Ten has the Late News, Sports Tonight (for now) and Letterman from 10.30 Monday to Thursday.
Ten’s shortened prime time philosophy extends to its digital channels. ELEVEN plays the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 10.30pm weeknights. While it is good to see some late night US talk shows on free to air TV, this one is NEVER in the top 100 digital shows of any night, and sometimes, shows that air after Craig Ferguson make it into the top 100. This is a massive dip in the ratings for ELEVEN, which would easily be rectified by moving The Late Late show past midnight – like what GEM have done for Conan – which also has very low ratings.
Looking at programming on Seven and Nine’s digital channels, they also program for ratings until midnight. One of the main reasons why most movies on GO! start at 9.30 is so they finish between 11.30 and midnight keeping viewers on the channel until then and thereby lifting that channel’s shares.
It does not matter how much ratings figures are skewed or which demographic is winning in that time, what most people care about is total people, 6pm – midnight. Certainly the advertisers care about the demographic breakdowns, but the media and the public are more concerned about total people, 6pm – midnight. With Ten not focussing on prime time ratings over the same time that Seven and Nine are, they will always be left behind and will always be reported as such in the media.
Ten will continue to be seen as the network coming third in commercial ratings behind Seven and Nine, a fact that does play on people’s minds when deciding what to watch on TV. It has often been said, that Seven, because they are number one, can put anything to air and still win the ratings. People do tend to stick to the network that is number one, and place more faith in that network. This was the case for Nine in the old days as well.
So Ten should immediately drop this idea of programming for 6pm -10.30pm only. On the main channel, the news should move back to 11.30pm, allowing for an extra hour of nightly prime time programming Monday – Thursdays. If the network had been able to make use of the 10.30pm timeslot on these nights, shows that had not worked too well at 9.30pm could have moved back to 10.30pm rather than out of the schedule or to a digital channel. This is what happens on Seven and Nine. Seven even move shows back to 11.30pm like is the case currently for Teen Wolf and Off The Map.
Same goes for ELEVEN and ONE. Notably, ONE is starting to add regular shows to the 10.30pm timeslot, but ELEVEN will continue to be held back while ever Craig Fergusson remains at 10.30pm weeknights. Sure – the channel is close to the most watched digital channel each night, and doing well in its target demographics, but it could do even better if The Late Late show was moved back to midnight and other programming was played 10.30 – midnight. One just needs to llok at 7mate, 7TWO and GO! programming for good examples of programming until midnight, and not giving up at 10.30pm.
If Ten and ELEVEN both made these sorts of changes, the nightly rating shares for the network as a whole would increase, allowing Ten to compete more effectively with Seven and Nine. Just that extra hour and a half, if programmed well, could start to make the difference between Ten being third every night (and sometimes fourth behind the ABC), to Ten being a serious contender in what should be a three horse ratings race, not just two.
Another area of Ten that should change or improve, is its on air presentation. Time to give the “seriously Ten” idents a rest and go for a more professional or at least new and fresh look. The “seriously Ten” motto has been around for years, and after years of being third in the ratings, for many, it will be associated with Ten’s performance.
Perhaps in 2012, Ten could relaunch with a new look, a new philosophy, and a new strategy that will help put the network back fully into the game? That is, of course, if their latest wave of cost cutting does not get in the way. Then again, if the network was performing better in ratings, they’d have more advertising revenue and therefore would not need to apply cost cutting measures to the degree that they have had to.
Next part: Media support – embargos and preview disks.
Today marks my second anniversary writing for Throng Australia.
It all started two years ago, on May 6, 2009 with a post about frustrating TV scheduling discussing how time on free to air TV are never what they really are, and how EPGs that are not up to date to the minute means that shows can start up to 15 minutes late or sometimes, early as well. As recently as last Wednesday, the premiere of BIG on Nine was advertised as a 9.30 start, but ended up starting at 9.44. While the EPG for Nine was correct with a 9.44 start, it is still a far cry from the advertised time of 9.30pm.
The free to air TV landscape has changed considerably in the last two years. So much so, our networks are still getting used to it, understanding the new demands the multi channel environment place on them.
In May 2009, ONE HD was just six weeks old, after having launched in March that year as the first free to air full time sports channel and taking away Ten’s high definition channel. Nine’s first multi channel GO! was nothing more than a speculative rumour of a channel that was believed to be called GO!99, while nothing – not even a whisper was coming out of Seven about its multi channel plans.
Both Seven and Nine at the time were broadcasting HD break aways for around 6 hours a day, with break away programming for a few hours in the middle of the day, and more late night. HD break away programming gave viewers more options, but rarely offered any significant programming.
Overall, there were then 8 full time free to air digital channels, including SBS News as one of them. SBS News became SBS TWO in June 2009. Add to those 8 free to air channels another two for 7HD and 9HD, and there were 10 channels at times. Yet Freeview promotions advertised 15 free to air channels!
In May 2009, a little cooking show called Masterchef was airing on Ten six nights a week including 7.30pm Sunday and 7pm Monday to Friday. The idea was just starting to catch on, with an average of 1.2 million watching each night. Last year, at the same time 1.6-1.7 million. This year Masterchef is almost at 2010 levels – but the difference being, this year, it is the first week – the top 50 week.
Meanwhile, in May 2009, Nine were having problems with their Tuesday night programming, with shares around 6% below that of Seven and Ten. Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation was reaching over 1.6 million (nowadays, it‘s usually half that), NCIS 1.5 million. Seven’s Tuesday night included All Saints, still drawing over 1.1 million viewers. Nine’s Tuesday night was filled with Two and a Half Men, 20 To 1 and Underbelly repeats – none of which were doing anywhere near the business of programming on Seven and Ten.
Scroll forward two years and we do indeed have 15 free to air channels – the number effectively doubling that of 2009. 16 if you include community TV – which also has gone digital over the last 12 months. While the extra channels give viewers plenty of choices, they have redefined the level of ratings that determine what constitutes a show being a success or not.
At the same time as having these extra free to air channels, the amount of HD content has dropped to its lowest level in years. Free to air, prior to 2009, was a prime source for HD content. Now, with Foxtel launching over 30 channels in the past two years, most of them in HD, Pay TV has taken over as being the major broadcast source for HD TV – for those who can afford it.
In 2009, anything less than a million in prime time was effectively a flop. Now, figures below a million in prime time on main channels are a regular occurrence. Networks often have to accept prime time figures of 600,000 – 800,000 for some shows. This all just makes any show that surges past the million and over the 1.5 million mark all that more successful – which brings us back to Masterchef – even with 15 channels of choice, the phenomenon is still stronger than ever, and if the first week’s figures are anything to go by, then we are set for another record breaking year for the show.
And, again, Nine are faced with difficulties on Tuesday night, despite airing two of their high profile shows – AFP and Sea Patrol. The combination of Masterchef and NCIS on Ten and Australia’s Got Talent and Winners & Losers on Seven all that more stronger than Nine’s offerings.
So far 2011 has been a one sided ratings race with Seven winning every single week of the ratings year as well as the two Easter non-ratings weeks. With strong programming on its main channel, and two digital channels with well defined programming and objectives, nothing seems to be able to stop the network this year.
Ten, in reaction to low ratings are relaunching ONE HD as more of a general entertainment channel during prime time. The channel will still offer sports, but also mostly young male oriented programming in the evenings perhaps aimed to capture some of the market 7mate have taken. The new ONE, Masterchef on Ten, and ongoing and growing success of ELEVEN will see Ten a lot more competitive over coming months. As it stands, in the first week of Masterchef have ranked second, behind Seven and ahead of Nine for a number of nights of the week, as well as first on Monday night when the finale of The Biggest Loser aired.
Nine, on the other hand, are dogged with constant programming changes, digital channels that seem to have no real direction and shows that simply cannot pull an audience. The combination of unstable programming, last minute scheduling decisions, a lack of time to promote anything new on the channel and a fairly large degree of viewer dissatisfaction with the network are placing Nine in a precarious position for 2011.
Looking forward, and 2011 will almost certainly be another year that is won by Seven. Seven has The Amazing Race Australia premiering soon, Packed to the Rafters to return later in the year and a number of new titles set to premiere over coming months. Ten and Nine will fight it out for second, but it all depends on what Ten does post-Masterchef.
Nine does have Underbelly Razor later this year, but interest on the franchise is dwindling – so it will be interesting to see how it goes. Then there is The Block to air at 7pm weeknights – a gamble, which may or may not breathe life into Nine’s early evening.
After Masterchef, Ten have The Renovators which is set to be the next big reality competition series, described as being the Block on steroids. The network also has new Aussie series Inside Out, essentially a remake of hit series from the late 70’s and 80’s Prisoner.
In the meantime, here at Throng we will continue to keep you up to date, bringing you the latest TV news, ratings information, programming summaries, up to the minute programming amendments and much, much more.
Now for another year.
This time next year, in 2012, Masterchef will be back for its fourth year, while Seven will be in control of the free to air AFL broadcast rights, for at least four games a week. Still no word if any games will end up on Ten, or even Nine. At the same time, all Nine AFL games each week will be able to be seen live on Fox Sports.
As for free to air, TV channels, unless there is a drastic change in the way the networks are allowed to arrange their digital channels, we won’t see any new channels in the next 12 months, unless, of course, there is a miracle at SBS and SBS THREE materialises!