July 12, 2009

Multi-channel branding strategies

Posted in ABC1, Network Ten, SBS one tagged , , , , , , , at 7:35 pm by Give Me The Remote

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the multi channeling stategies being undertaken by the free networks.

  • ABC was first to kick off their second digital channel and choose to brand  similar to BBC (and others).. e.g. ABC1, ABC2, ABC3.
  • SBS has now followed the same lead, with SBS one and SBS two.
  • Network 10 on the otherhand have made their second channel a dedicated sports network called one HD.
  • Channel 9 look to be doing a similar thing and branding their station as a youth channel – in order to increase their marketshare in the much desired younger demographics
  • Channel 7 haven’t really done anything yet.

As I’ve written in my previous post, there are definite constraints with dedicating your HD channel to one genre of show.

I strongly believe that the ABC and SBS have selected the more intelligent format due to its lack of restrictions.

For example, at the moment most nights on SBS throughout July are filled with sport. They’ve stuck the Ashes on SBS one and Le Tour on SBS two. SBS one has the HD channel, so the cricket is in HD. When the cricket is not on, the cycling can switch to SBS one and grab the HD channel (or not, depending on what else is on)

Devil’s advocate says that switching serial programs between channels would confuse viewers. But I don’t believe we’re that stupid. If the cycling’s been on SBS one for the past week and I tune in to find the Ashes, I’m going to go to SBS two automatically. Informative idents and cross promotion help this. It’s a unified network across two channels. It works.

I can’t fathom why channel 10 has restricted themselves so much by dedicating the channel to sport. If the network had 5 different channels of course it would be fine to make one sports-only. However with 2 channels only, it’s just ridiculous to tie their hands so tight behind their back.


May 17, 2009

Why multi-channeling is bad for HD

Posted in Network Ten tagged , , , , , , , at 8:54 am by Give Me The Remote

With the introduction of three new channels onto our televisual landscape, the amount of new available airspace has increased so suddenly by an amount not seen since the introduction of Australian television in itself.

So for a while the commercial networks used their new HD channel to broadcast their programs in high definition (where available). Brilliant! The latest movies became available in a cinematic quality that may have put the Lumiere out of business (okay not really). Then there was sport – arguably one of the great champions of HD TV – tennis actually became watchable. The world of television seemed pretty good right there and then – TV in regular or BONUS mode!

ten HD

Then came multi-channeling.

One HD launched on March 26th to great fanfare. One HD was an interesting case, because it wasn’t ten HD anymore. It was One HD. A new brand. It looked as though sport on ten was to be no more. Even sporting productions (noteable the Melbourne Grand Prix) were branded on both channels as a One HD event.

one HD

Now comes the gripe..

I’m going to use ten/one HD as an example here because they are the only network really actually using multi-channelling to its full potential.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that ten currently have three channels:

– Ten (SD)
– One HD
– One SD

Can you see something wrong with this picture?

The flagship channel for ten is still ten. Yet it now finds itself with no HD alternative, while One HD broadcasting (alternative) sports gets both a high definition and standard definition channel.

Recently the Simpsons when HD and widescreen in the US. ten no longer has a high definition channel so it’s now marketed here as Simpsons in widescreen. Actually I’m not totally sure that there would be that much difference in The Simpsons HD and The Simpsons SD anyway.

The Simpsons HD

At the moment whilst the IPL takes place on a Saturday night, AFL football is only broadcast on ten (branded as ten). This means that the program being broadcast all over the country in Melbourne’s second highest rating football slot isn’t in HD because there’s people flying planes in circles and Indians pretending that their domestic cricket competition is the best in the world.

It would seem that the priorities are all wrong here. The hurdles jumped in the advancement of multi-channeling appear to have effectively been negated by its cannibalism of the wonderful HD.

A solution?

Having a flexible HD channel used by both SD channels where seen best fit would be a bit too confusing for the viewer I reckon.

So the answer has got to be the addition of another high definition channel simulcasting the original flagship channel in HD.

This is only going to get more frustrating as the networks begin to multi-channel more and more over the coming months and will need to be addressed at some stage.

Broken TV

(images taken from wherever they come from after google suggested them)

January 17, 2008

Good News Week to return!

Posted in Network Ten at 12:51 pm by Give Me The Remote

I was really tempted to make the title of this post a pun.. you know it’s been a good news week etc, but then I thought ‘i reckon every other single outlet with this story is going to do the pun.. why bother. be original. say no to puns’

So Channel 10 is bringing back Good News Week. Apparently due to the lack of US content coming through (something about a writers’ strike? i haven’t heard much about it?) they have decided to give GNW another go.

Good News Week

Paul McDermott never seems to stay off television for very long. He may be annoying, but he’s definitely a talented fella. He could bring vibrancy and wackyness to any dull show and make it half interesting.

Now let’s be honest. GNW in it’s 10 reincarnation wasn’t exactly great, hence it flopped last time. Please Channel 10 learn from the mistakes of yesteryear and bring this show back to its salad days. I guess it will never have the ‘cred’ that it had whilst on ABC, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be good.

I am very excited about seeing this again. Now Channel 9, bring back Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush with Tim Ferguson (and even Miss Wendy) and I will be a happy chappy. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. But I can dream.

Whet your appetite..

Source: Herald Sun, 17/01/08

Picture from Epod

December 9, 2007

Chaser, Thank God You’re Here expected to take a break

Posted in ABC1, Network Ten at 5:31 pm by Give Me The Remote

Recent mail from the Working Dog and Chaser camps says that they are both considering resting their shows next year.

The Chasers War on Everything averaged 1.45 million viewers an episode in 2007, forming the core of the ABC’s extremely successful Wednesday light entertainment/comedy night. Mostly remembered for its more controversial skits – who could forget the fake APEC motorcade or that Eulogy song that everybody seemed to take offence to – the show did not have the substance this year that it was present last year. There were definitely highlights and many of them, but there were also countless skits that missed the mark by a country mile and appeared to be nothing more than filler.

The Chaser

Channels 7 and 9 attemped to cash in on the Chasers success and seemed to broadcast a ‘Chaser’ story on ACA and TT every week or two – many negative, but also quite a lot positive. This pretty much equated to Chaser, Chaser, Chaser. As they continued to make the news the exposure grew and grew and the boys were just everywhere.

I believe that it has been an incredibly thoughtful move to take a break from television and focus on other things – a nationwide stageshow tour titled ‘The Chaser’s Age of Terror Variety Hour’. I dare say that this tour will be a great deal less politically correct than the show they are forced to air every week across the nation.

If/when they come back, I suggest another format change. Perhaps try the news panel style satire that they had been churning out for years in graveyard slots when nobody was watching. It really was quite good – and a change from the whole house/clubroom theme. CNNNN again?

Then there’s Thank God You’re Here. Michael Hirsh from Working Dog recently told The Sunday Telegraph that “We haven’t made a decision if we’re doing Thank God or not; we’re undecided.”

Thank God You’re Here
Hamish Blake and Angus Sampson watch the Veronicas on Thank God You’re Here

The Working Dog team have always said that they didn’t want to overdo the format. I would be surprised if the show doesn’t come back – but a few months off won’t hurt the ratings when the show returns. I think this show needs some new stars. How about some oversees names trying to plug television programs/movies? Boost the stars up from B-list Aussies to A-list American/UK stars. Would they be up for it? Most – probably not. But I’m sure some would really great – Stephen K. Amos, Jason Byrne are names that spring to mind. Some really crazy guys who would just run amok.

So, the production teams of The Chasers War on Everything and Thank God You’re Here are smart enough to understand over-exposure and do their best to avoid it. With smart people behind these programs, is it any wonder that have been two of the most popular shows of 2007?

November 18, 2007

Why Australian Idol is bad news for alternative artists

Posted in Network Ten at 1:58 pm by Give Me The Remote

As a fan of independent music, please let me indulge. 

How does an Australian Idol finalist regain their credibility after appearing for weeks on this glorified karaoke machine?

Idol Karaoke

It’s almost a given that once an individual makes the jump to the Idol stage they are no longer a regular singer or musician.. they will forever have Australian Idol winner/loser/finalist at the start of their name. They will have 40 year old women coming to their concerts for years to come and nobody in the industry will forget their version of that song that starts reasonably soft before ending with soaring vocals and tears aplenty.

But fame! There’s the fame. Appearing on television in front of a million viewers every week and umpteen invites to D grade envelope openings alongside Big Brother housemates. Performing for the next 12 months to sellout crowds of screaming girls and their arms-crossed boyfriends and husbands.

But once the whirlwind ride ends (probably with a highest selling single ARIA award under arm) and all memories of their weekly vocal excellence long forgotten there must become a time when the artist begins to tire of the Idol tag. But can they lose it? Probably not. Kelly Clarkson has done well. She’s transformed into a ‘real’ artist now (where television ratings aren’t an indicator of record sales). I’d definitely call her an anomaly.

Recently latest Australian Idol winner Matt Corby has made some comments indicating that he is already unhappy with the ‘fringe benefits’ of beginning his record career through Idol. He’s not happy with the winners song (and neither is Natalie for that matter) and has said “Look, it’s an Idols song — it’s kind of not something I’d choose to release. I’m being diplomatic. This competition has made me look like I’m into pop, but I’m not.”

Jacob Butler & Matt Corby
Alternative Idol contestants – Jacob Butler & Matt Corby

When Sam Simmons interviewed him on the red carpet at the ARIAs for Triple J, Corby stated that he’s already trying to get away from the ‘whole Idol thing’. Simmons replied “Well it’s going to be hard buddy, coz you’re in it.”

It’s not really a wise career move for an independent style performer to appear on Australian Idol. They won’t win. No hope against the Christina Aguilera impersonators. So when their time ends and they’re back on the pub/club circuit trying to be cool again, the local labels will remember the Idol time and it will prove a hindrance.

Let’s be honest now. It shouldn’t. But in the world of independent music, it’s this ‘selling out’ that will hurt their signing chances more than dodgy pitch or a boring chorus.

November 11, 2007

Erin McNaught to join Neighbours

Posted in Network Ten at 9:04 pm by Give Me The Remote

Erin McNaught, former Australian representative for the Miss Universe pageant, has signed a lease to move into Ramsay St.

You may remember that McNaught was a controversial contestant in the Miss Universe after it was discovered that she had posed topless for lads magazine ‘Zoo Weekly’. She was still allowed to compete in the contest, however she earned the (very creative) nickname of Erin ‘McNaughty’.

Erin McNaught

She has since gone on to host the late night channel 10 geek show ‘Cyber Shack’ where she smiles lots and talks about gadgets.

.. and no, of course this post wasn’t just an excuse to post a picture of the very um.. nicely proportioned Miss McNaught.

November 7, 2007

Ten’s ‘rapid cuts’ (subliminal ads) go unpunished

Posted in Network Ten at 3:36 pm by Give Me The Remote

How’s this for ridiculous. Channel 10 aren’t going to get in trouble by ACMA over their ARIA award subliminal advertising because nobody has laid an official complaint.

ARIAs 2007

Check out this media watch report for background:

Channel 10 reckons that ‘rapid cuts’ are often used in music presentations. “Claims that our ARIA’s nominations packages included subliminal or near-subliminal advertising are incorrect,” said Margaret Fearn, a spokesperson for Ten.

So here’s the big question.. does subliminal advertising work?

Heaps of people will tell you that it’s brainwashing and really devious. Others will tell you that it doesn’t work and that it’s a ridiculous concept. Tests haven’t really been totally conclusive on this one. But they have been conclusive enough to make this sort of thing illegal (since 1958 in fact).

Absolut subliminal
Can you see the ‘hidden’ message?

Personally I’m not a big believer in the effectiveness of subliminality. If I were in advertising I would much prefer to use an approach that is a bit more obvious. Just the regular product placement works better than flicking something up that your eyes may or may not have caught.

Anyway, regardless of this, I think it’s really quite funny that ten are going to get away with it just because nobody has complained.


October 25, 2007

Fox commissions more episodes of Back to You

Posted in Network Ten at 5:28 pm by Give Me The Remote

Good news for fans of Kelsey Grammer, his new sitcom seems to be doing okay in the US. By doing okay, I mean okay – not great, not terrible. The first episode rated a really promising 9.4 million, however it has since pulled about a 7 million average.

The show, which also stars Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) is about a couple of news anchors who work great on telly but are not quite best friends off screen. Sound similar to Anchorman? The show actually also stars the extra-talented Fred Willard who was the news boss in Anchorman and also had a regular role in Everybody Loves Raymond. Small world?

Back To You
Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton & Fred Willard

So it sounds like a show that works. Grammer has won 5 Emmys, Heaton has 2 and Burrows (the director) has been nominated for an Emmy every year since 1980 (exclusing 1997). I’ve seen bits of it and it looks like a nice little show.

Channel 10 have picked it up – it sounds like it would suit their sort of target demographic. Expect to see it early 2008.. or whenever you like on YouTube.

October 15, 2007

James Mathison stars in Ten’s new sitcom pilot

Posted in Network Ten at 7:48 pm by Give Me The Remote

Does anybody else find this as strange as I do? James Mathison, the dude who co-hosts Australian Idol with Andrew G is the star of a pilot for a new sitcom called ‘Life of Leisure’.

Apparently it’s about a guy who wants to move back in with his parents because of some ‘quarter-life crisis’, however the catch is that his folks are in a retirement village. It’s an interesting concept. In fact I reckon it’s probably too hard to tell on that two sentence description if the show’s any good. I’m guessing though that it can’t be much worse than the wedge.

I just can’t get my head around it. James Mathison? Am I missing something. I remember a little while back people were talking about Andrew & Jimmy and everyone was preaching the praises of our man of the moment (I think this was around the time of his first Arias gig sans Andrew). I was always of the opinion that Mr G was the superior half of the duo. James was totally monotonous and Hughesy-esque deadpan and always looked like a frog in headlamps, whereas I thought Andrew really brought the colour and shade in his voice (and Cleo Bachelor of the Year for the ladies).

Andrew G & James Mathison
James Mathison is taller than Andrew G.. that deserves him a sitcom!

Anyway back to Life of Leisure.. the pilot was produced by David Maher and David Taylor for Fox Australia and written by Jaime Brown and Kris Mrksa, who co-wrote ‘The King’.

I’m really curious about this one. Wonder what the chances of it getting up are..


September 30, 2007

Jet have audio problems playing ‘Live’ the AFL Grand Final

Posted in Network Ten at 6:13 pm by Give Me The Remote

I guess the thing about miming a performance is that although the sound is gonna be great, there is barely any margin for error if things go wrong…

.. and that’s exactly what happened during Jet’s first song on Saturday afternoon.

The boys from Dingley played a 3 song set as part of the pre-match entertainment at this year’s AFL Grand Final between the Geelong Cats and Port Adelaide Power.

Jet performing ‘live’ at the 2007 AFL Grand Final

During the beginning of their first song, ‘Rollover DJ,’ the sound was cutting out all over the place, leaving the lads bewildered and everyone watching in no doubt that the hard rocking Jet weren’t actually playing live.

Check out the embarassment:

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