Are all the cool kids really switching off TEN?

2013-07-26_1104Two programming execs at Seven and Nine have commented on a story about TEN’s strategy to switch from 18-49 viewers to 25-54.

TEN CEO Hamish McLennan is already on the record as saying younger viewers are switching off Free to Air TV and it has to change its business model to survive. It’s a line in the sand from former failed TEN management.

Clearly it’s in the interests of TEN’s competition to talk them down, but here is what they’ve told Encore this week:

Angus Ross, Head of Programming at Seven says, “TEN is the only commercial network with a decreasing number of younger viewers. They are still watching TV in large numbers.

“TEN is trying to turn a TEN problem into an industry problem – you will find Seven and Nine are very pleased with their 16-to-39 performance.”

GO! / GEM programming executive Hamish Turner, says, “What TEN’s Hamish probably meant is that they are harder to get at because their viewing is so broad.

“They are quite industrious and seek out their own viewing. The content they want to watch is ubiquitous and they will watch it when they want to watch it.

“They will have their Foxtel Go apps, their ABC iView apps and all these things that enable them to watch across myriad platforms. It’s harder to get them sitting there at 8.30 on a Monday night. Having said that, if you’ve got event television like Big Brother then they’ll come in droves.”

Year on Year it’s true to say that younger viewers are switching off TEN.

It’s also true to say that Year on Year all viewers are switching off TEN. In weeks 7-29 (excl Easter) TEN is down 15% compared to the first half of 2012. 16-39s are down 18.5% and 18-49s are down 17.4%.

There is often talk that younger viewers are switching off broadcast television, but everybody conveniently overlooks the point younger viewers still want content. They still want entertainment, drama, reality and sport -but they want it their way. They want it in devices and times that work on their terms not the broadcasters.

I look forward to hearing more about TEN’s “anytime, anywhere” plan for viewing via other devices.

But I also find it curious that everybody forgets TEN’s woes began under a former management who sought to switch from being a youth network to a broader network. When TEN was firing all cylinders with hits like MasterChef and Talkin’ Bout Your Generation they tried to send all the cool kids to ELEVEN and broaden their main channel with News. We all remember how that panned out.

TEN used to boast it was never about being the highest rating network. But it was once the most profitable. It was the envy of other networks and I can’t help wondering if that’s a plan worth returning to.

Meanwhile, this week TEN launched This Week Live, content-wise one of its brightest new offerings in ages. Frankly the numbers were rotten, dropping from Offspring‘s 723,000 to just 338,000. Normally that would attract screaming headlines the next day and it will need to lift its numbers fast to avoid being branded a failure.

Hopefully the cool kids with the interwebs have already heard it’s worth catching next week.


  1. BellJay, if you refer to my comment earlier on, re the older demographic, all three commercial fta networks have abandoned the older demographic altogether with absolutely no regret at all. If any of these people had any brains, they would perhaps set aside on the digital spectrum a channel dedicated for these people … they would make a killing …..

  2. I hope 10 puts Reef Doctors on the off channel during the day because I know quite a few elderly people who would watch it because its on at a time they are awake. Most of them tell me they don’t watch much other than the older good programs that use to be on. I know they are so starved for something to watch they watch the kids cartoons because there is little else to entertain them. We too, as they have said, like Seven’s Most Wanted show. At last something worthwhile that could lead to a happy ending they have said.

  3. I agree with jonno, Channel 10 has stuffed us older groups enough. Hawaii 5-0, NCIS, Law and Order SVU type shows have been changed around far too many times. At least NCIS & LA appear to be back on track now. If it wasn’t for these shows 10 wouldn’t have too much for the over & 50’s to watch. All the good shows they had are discontinued, and the new ones they seem to get are mostly trash…IMO. They don’t seem to be choosing the best programs to show. Whatever happened to Good News Week? Elementary is ok too. We try to watch some ‘younger programming’ but don’t find them funny har har but plain stupid. We do like The Big Bang Theory. The only other shows we watch are Longmire, News, Person of Interest, Documentaries, & Mid Summer Murders. All the older shows are repeated on the off channels and we tend to watch them.

  4. There’s more than just their programming. Ten’s current logo hasn’t changed since the ’90s. They should have updated it a long time ago. Seriously.

  5. What I don’t get is if they know that people are downloading content. Then why not with particularly the popular overseas content offer it on the catch-up sites as soon as it’s available. Play it when possible on TV.

    Of course then there’s all the crap they put on the screen presumably to benefit those not watching the ads. So that encourages more people to avoid watching stuff on TV. Plus aids and abets people avoiding the ads. Also teaches more that it is possible to do so. And since TV supposedly wants people to watch the ads. Then I don’t get the logic of TV anymore.

    Although the channel I really don’t understand is ABC1. With pop-ups and end of credits crap they pull. They act as if they are a commercial channel. Yet over 90% of their ads in the ad break are TV show ads. So therefore the viewers know if you want to find out what is on the ABC you watch the ads. But the…

  6. Thee way ten handled glee made me switch off they changed the timeslot so many times and would always play the Christmas episode in February instead of December. Many of us Glee fans stopped relying on Ten for glee and sort out online streaming and downloading So that we could watch it instantly after it had been on in the US and not have to wait for weeks and weeks to be shown in Australia on an ever changing timeslot. And the ratings dropped as a result.

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