Early evening makeover

TEN is yet to reveal how it will address the loss of drama quota points when Neighbours shifts from TEN to ELEVEN next year

The announcement yesterday comes hot on the heels of the Network throwing an anniversary celebration for the long-running soap. On the day of its #6000th episode cast and crew are facing headlines that say “Dumped to Digital.” It is a soapie twist even a scriptwriter couldn’t have dreamed up.

The move will leave TEN with two primetime dramas, Rush and Offspring, both yet to be confirmed for 2011, as its current drama quota generators.

Yesterday CEO Grant Blackley would not be drawn on its future plans for new drama announcements, or whether the network plans to lobby the government to allow content on digital channels to qualify. Right now it’s probably difficult to know who to lobby anyway…

TEN has had some success with telemovies such as Hawke and A Model Daughter: The Killing of Caroline Byrne, which yield 4 times the drama points than a serial episode. Others such as Emerald Falls and The Informant haven’t been quite as well received.

The network has crunched the numbers on audience trends and says there is a significant switch-off by viewers at 6pm, with many not returning until 7:30pm. It hopes to address that by investing heavily in News.

Next year TEN will follow News at Five with a national 6pm News bulletin and a 6:30pm local bulletin, followed by The 7PM Project.

It is hiring an additional 100 employees, around half of whom will be Journalists / Presenters and forking out $20m per year to step up its News output.

It plans more live eye vehicles, SNGs, on air sets and graphics, a broader affiliation with global news providers and promises the return of local news to each state.

Presenters are expected to be announced at its 2011 Programme launch in mid-September.


  1. The thing is would the ABC sell the Degrassi New Generation rights over to Ten?It is a quality product that would give the home grown soaps a run for the money and pretty much deals with the same kind of things as what we get on Home and Away and Neighbours minus the fluff.Here’s another idea why not start from scratch and make an Australian 90210 minus the fancy cars, Nat and the Peach Pit.

  2. I like Ten’s news at 5. The Perth news team do a really good job. Though having a 2 and a half hour block of news is too much for me.

    Maybe Ten could do an Australian version of Undercover Boss and have that on at 6pm instead? It just feels that Ten should do something a bit different to the networks. Or maybe put Ready Steady Cook on at that time?

  3. Best news ive heard all year….now thats gone TEN will be forced to make some Good aussie drama, After the fantastic Offspring and the edgy Rush I cant wait too see what they make next. This is fantastic news on every level I say!

  4. I think most people who watch the 5pm news go and watch 7 or 9’s news at 6pm straight after. Ten want to keep their 900,000 odd viewers that watch 5pm news and stretch it through to 7pm Project which gets roughly the same amount of viewers.

    So over on 11 add 200,000 viewers or so for the 6pm Simpsons and 400,000 for 6.30 pm Neighbours and the same again for whatever they play at 7pm and they have a total audience of 1.1 to 1.3 million for the block – seems pretty good to me and some competition for 7 and 9 finally

  5. @Jerome – “More often than not” is definitely not accurate. I’ve just had a quick look and although I stand corrected on the “never fallen below half a million” front (in February and March, Friday nights were always below half a million and for about four weeks, Thursday or, on one occasion, Wednesday was below half a million, too), aside from one particular week in March/April, when it fell below half a million on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, every week had a clear majority of episodes in the 500-600k range. Interestingly enough, after reaching a new low of 428k in that particular week, it soared the next week, with every episode nudging 600k the following week (with three of them above 600k). It hasn’t dipped below 500k since the first few days of April, although some of the Friday episodes last month were in the lower 500k range. All in all, looking at the year to date, Neighbours has rated above half a million viewers on all but 12 nights, all of which occurred in Feb/March and the first couple of days of April, with three of those 12 occurring in the same week (so we’re talking about 9 nights spread out over about eight weeks i.e. 9/40). Definitely not a “more often than not” scenario….

  6. Ten would never consider putting Neighbours on at 7pm, and to suggest that is ridiculous. They know very well alot of that audience probably switches to H&A at 7pm, and that if put up against each other H&A will win. Most people I know would watch H&A over Neighbours (not me personally), and I think it wouldn’t even be wise for it to be on 11 at 7pm. And also it is unfair to the diehard soapie fans who love both shows.

  7. @carta: “As someone said yesterday, Neighbours has a core audience of half a million – it has never dipped below this.”

    it was getting below 500k more often than not ealier this year before it went up for winter. most shows that had a clean switch from main>digital so far have lost about 80% of their audience. i’ll say tat neighbours will get 150k on a good night with the benefit thatit will be 2011 by then with a high digital uptake and that it does have a strong following.

    it will be very interesting to see how ten make the 120 hours. they will probably be in the unstable position that 9 was after they announced mcleods to end. lots of dramas coming out but very few catching on. they are only now finding their feet. but there will obviously be lots of NZ shows coming our way.

  8. Think TEN are waiting a bit long to do this, already I am quite fixed on The Drum with Steve Cannane and guests (including Annabel Crabb) on ABCNews24 at 6pm. Will take a fair bit to move me form watching that which runs until 6:45pm (and I am becoming hooked on The Quarters after as well), then it’s ABC News at 7pm, so unless Ten offer up someone like George Negus it’ll be tough.

  9. 5:00pm Ten news at Five [local and some national focus].
    6:00pm Ten news at Six [national focus].
    6:30pm The 6:30pm Project [Wraps up news gives TT and ACA some competition].
    7:00pm Neighbours [Where it was and might get some more viewers].
    7:30pm [various].

    If Ten want to snag the best of the ratings on offer there has to be some way to get more news without cutting Neighbours. The Simpsons are just repeats and they seem to have not shown season 1 in about 10 or so years. They seemed to go s1-5 in circles for a while, then up to 8 then only recently they got to 20 leaving one ep for 8pm. The Simpsons on 11 is a good thing and will also hopefully allow Ten to show the next season closer to the American airing.

  10. “target Australians seeking a more informed, considered and insightful approach to news and news-makers of the day”

    Well that would be the news on ABC wouldn’t it?

  11. I dont think Ten would have done all this without thinking how it will address the Neighbours problem. Perhaps the reason why we’ve had to wait so long for this new channel, if they’ve been considering this move all along as part of this channel’s launch.

    I agree, too much news in one hit – it will have to differ a lot from each other to make an impact I think, and seperate itself from Current Affiars garbage on the other channels. But Ten have stuck with 7pm, and for all the hooplah people are making on Neighbours moving, Ten have had to try something early evening for a long time. No one can say they haven’t tried fixing neighbours.

    11 isn’t high def anyway, so anyone with even a SD STB will be able to watch it. But the ratings for Neigbours what they are, I dont think there will be much of a drop off after the switch. And perhaps this is a good move to start lobbying in itself for change to get drama points recognition. After all, it took Ten to drop Sunday night movies for the other networks to catch onto that.

    I say good on them, and personally, news would be better than Neighbours for me anyway 🙂

  12. There was a reason that Ten pulled out of the primetime news market – it was overcrowded and their news never rates very well against competition. Now there is even more news available (not to mention so many other methods of getting news – I can’t remember the last time I found out a breaking news story via TV) what makes them think anyone will turn to them? They’ve just invented a two hour block there is no danger of me every seeing.

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