Clock ticking on plans for ELEVEN for regional viewers

Regional viewers are still awaiting word on whether ELEVEN will be available to them at the same time as metropolitan viewers.

TEN launches the new digital channel on January 11th with Neighbours, The Simpsons, Supernatural, Nurse Jackie, Dexter, Stargate, Smallville, The Office, Futurama, 90210 and more.

But so far Southern Cross has not confirmed it will be ready for the start-up date.

Yesterday Rhys Holleran, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Cross Media, told TV Tonight: “Our plan is to be on air hopefully around the same time as Network TEN.”

TV Tonight understands that while parties are moving towards the January 11th date, deals are not yet finalised.

As such a spokesperson from TEN directed all enquiries back to Southern Cross.

Carrying of digital channels for regional broadcasters has always been a challenge, requiring upgrading of equipment at playout centres that host diverse local advertising.

Freeview CEO Robin Parkes told TV Tonight, “Regional viewers should expect to receive the full line up of channels. In some areas where infrastructure needs to occur the roll out dates may be delayed from the metro cities for a few months, but they will in time all receive the full suite of Freeview channels.”

Unless ELEVEN launches in time, regional viewers are at risk of missing new episodes of Neighbours and other shows that may not necesarily be made available in catch-up once it does launch. Viewers of 7TWO on Prime will remember missing key episodes of new shows when it eventually launched last year.

The government has already announced $34m across 4 years so that regional networks could bring digital channels to regional viewers. In November Senator Conroy’s office said WIN, Prime, Southern Cross and Imparja woukd announce a rollout schedule to regional viewers “in coming days.”

The clock is ticking.

Meanwhile there is also no clarity on ELEVEN being available via the Foxtel platform, with negotiations still continuing.

Foxtel has reserved channel 131 to transmit 11 on cable -meaning satellite viewers are likely to miss out.

TEN said, “We are currently working through the technical requirements to make this happen.”

Foxtel says a retransmission agreement is not yet finalised.

44 Comments:

  1. It took them months to be ready for OneHD…. Something tells me they’ll launch the channel at the same time, but regional viewers will be stuck with a loop of zoo animals, oceans and forest flyovers, with scrolling “Eleven will be available soon. Stay tuned.” along the bottom of screen.

  2. Why can’t Southern Cross just continue to show Neighbours on their Ten station? It’s not like they haven’t had different schedules to the metro stations in the past.

  3. @Josh, hate to tell you this, Griffith and the M.I.A. are not part of Southern Cross territory. The licence area is WIN territory which controls all commercial television broadcasting in this area. So expect to be further behind than Southern Cross, maybe 2012 before you get Eleven unless you have a tall enough antenna to pick up Wagga Wagga.

  4. Will we see a reversal of form from SC…i doubt it.

    Another Prime / 7two debacle in the making.

    @Russell – well this is what the digital rollout is all about,just like the NBN all Australians should have access to the same FTA service no matter there location.Do you really think SC did not have a clue that Ten was going to launch a 3rd digital channel.

  5. “Viewers are at risk of missing out on new episodes of Neighbours….” No way!! God help us!!…(Not!!!)..I fail to see what the problem is……..probably not such a bad thing I would think….They are who I would consider to be the lucky ones….lol!!!

  6. If digital is in an area…isnt it a good chance that channel 55 (in sth nsw anyway) could be used for 11…. iam no techo but would assume that be the case

  7. With digital channels being now available through other companys.Foxtel needs to get satellite viewers all of the digital channels available.A deal has to be made.Foxtel i look forward to hearing the good news.Satellite viewers always suffer

  8. @ Andrew and Russell – I apologise for my misunderstanding of FTA channels in the U.S. However, in my reference to pay TV subscribers, I meant satellite not cable. Companies such as DirecTV and Dish Network, in which yes they still offer varying channels, but they are both offered in all parts of the country. Here only Austar is available in certain parts and Foxtel in others, with the only overlap being the Gold Coast. This part I am pretty sure about being right about, so if I am not please let me know.

  9. Armchair Analyst

    11 looks very good. The promotions on ten have been very good and it will rate its socks off no doubt, it will give the other boring channels a run for their money. The fact that it will not be on for the regional viewers on time is crap but hey they will eventually get it later in 2011. That does not serprise me not one bit it was the same with ONE HD. If people want something done then complain to the government or the regional channel. (imparja, southern cross, prime and win)

  10. well 10 does have an iphone app coming soon, lets hope the use of phones in the 11 ad has more meaning than just trying to be trendy. hopefully the shows on 11 will be available for online viewing, possibly also through the new app, at least then the pain of a delay can be somewhat reduced.

  11. @Josh: That is a fairly simplistic view of the US market, I believe it is far more complex than that. The networks like NBC, Fox, etc. are not necessarily represented in every market and in some cases they have local stations that have dual affiliations like we do in some regional markets. Also AFAIK “network” TV in the US is only during certain timeslots (e.g. breakfast, prime-time), the rest of the time it’s local news or syndicated programming that can vary from state to state.

  12. @Josh

    You say “Why cant we be like the U.S. where they have the main channels all through the country….(and) being launched throughout the country at the same time and having the same programming. ”

    This is not true. There are still dozens of markets in the US that don’t get The CW, MyNetworkTV or even Fox. And they are not launched at the same time, not even close. Different cable systems often are missing dozens or even over 50 channels that another cable system just one town over may have.

    Also programming is not even close to being the same all over the country. The networks (NBC,CBS,ABC etc) programme about 10 hours a day (Fox just 2) and the rest is all programmed locally.

  13. Ten, do something good and make a retransmission deal for both One HD and 11 on satellite. If it’s good enough for ABC News 24, it’s good enough for Network 10.

    Maybe then, 7 and 9 may end up playing follow the leader.

  14. Well even if Southern Cross dont receive the channel for a couple of months after the country premier, it wont launch in the M.I.A. till after June 2011, potentially not till the digital switchover. The M.I.A. only just received TEN for the first time in its history, with our only channels being the primary channels and no sister channels (not including ABC or SBS with their sister channels being available). It however seems that Southern Cross is like Austar in the way that it refuses to start the channel the same time as metro viewers just to save money, as Austar have done with more channels and services than I can count off the top of my head. I just wish there was none of this “country affiliate” garbage where the country viewers always have different channels to that of the main channels in metro areas. Why cant we be like the U.S. where they have the main channels all through the country, with the only difference being each state having its channel numbered (e.g. FOX44) in reference to its state but being launched throughout the country at the same time and having the same programming. And with pay TV they have access to more than one subscription throughout the entire country, instead of this one service in one part of the country garbage. The government need to step in cause this is just getting rediculous with TV in regional areas only getting further and further behind because of big shot companies trying to save money.

  15. “Our plan is to be on air hopefully around the same time as Network TEN.” Its nice to finally have some type of release from SCTen regarding Eleven after 4 months of reaming silent! Maybe if they started work on infrastructure when the channel was announced, they would be in a better position to bring it to regional viewers from day one! Instead they wait this long to speak.

    I think SCTen had ample opportunity and a more than generous time frame notice, as all of the other digital channels launched quite soon after they were announced. And what do SCTen do with this time? Nothing!

  16. thanks for that update David. Down here on the south coast we have 2 southern cross channels. Surely that would mean the infristructore is already there for one of them to be switched to channel 11.

  17. Isn’t this just what Neighbours needs? I struggling show ignores a group of it’s viewers who end up losing interest and loyalty when it eventually turns up again. Smart move Ten/11!

  18. Oh David what have you done! Cue 100 posts about people from Wagga and Rockhampton complaining and demanding to be treated the same as city people!

    Although people love to think Southern Cross can just hit and button and make all this happen, there is an important thing to remember and that is advertising.

    Southern Cross Ten is only going to carry Eleven if they can sell their own advertising. Why Should SCTen spend millions broadcasting a new channel only to see all the ad revenue go back to the parent network?

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