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.