“Next on Nine: Ugly Betty…”
Nine and Seven are considering sharing content for their new digital channels, and pushing ACMA for easier classification rules.
Ugly Betty on Nine? Kitchen Nightmares on Seven? It’s a ludicrous scenario, but it’s again being floated as talk of a Seven and Nine alliance for multichannelling returns.
The Australian says Nine is considering a general entertainment channel while Seven is mulling a lifestyle channel, for their second digital channel to launch in 2009.
The talks between Nine and Seven are an attempt to save costs, with senior management of some of the networks privately complaining about the cost of offering programs on the new Freeview platform.
TEN is already going alone with a dedicated sports channel.
But the networks are understood to be applying to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for a PG rating across the multi-channels’ programming schedules, after ACMA rejected an application for the multi-channels to be allowed a more adult M rating all day. Foxtel is allowed to screen programming with an M rating across its schedules.
However, the main free-to-air channels have much more in the way of restrictions, with weekday requirements for G-rated programming between 6am-8.30am and 4pm-7pm, and other blocks requiring programming no more adult than PG at various points of the day.
The free-to-air networks are reportedly arguing these rules should not be extended to the multi-channels, as only a limited amount of households have digital set-top boxes that enable them to be viewed.
But what kind of nonsense argument is this when the government and broadcasters all want us to move across to digital, sooner rather than later? By the end of 2013 we’re all on digital anyway. Any relaxation in classification would be next to impossible to raise once its entrenched in the landscape.
They are also maintaining this would put them at an unfair disadvantage against Foxtel, and limit their options in offering a multi-channel that offers viable options in raising advertising and sponsorship revenue.
The new multi-channels will not have any minimum Australian content requirements.
But if our two biggest broadcasters can’t build a decent third channel each with the content they already control, do they really deserve one?
Source: The Australian