Sydney Train network needs alternative routes and decentralisation.

The biggest problem with Sydney’s train system is just about every train other than those on the Illawarra / South Coast train run between Redfern and Strathfield. Whenever there is an incident on this stretch of track – despite the fact there are 6 lines (3 in each direction) it cripples the network.

What Sydney needs is decentralisation of the network and development of alternative routes to cope with the chaos that ensues when there is an incident between Redfern and Strathfield.

For example – why is it that a train from Kingsgrove to the airport ends up being delayed or cancelled due to an incident nowhere near the area? And for me, commuting to Central Coast, if my regular train can’t get through to Strathfield, then an incident in that area will also affect the alternative route via the North Shore line as trains on that line also originate from Western or Northern lines travelling between Strathfield and Redfern. Continue reading

Lowest Ratings ever: What should Channel TEN do?

Here’s a series of points I wrote about TEN late last year and what they could do to claw back ratings but never ended up publishing anywhere. It is quite astounding that TEN’s ratings have continued to suffer in 2014 – even moreso than 2013.

 

TEN’s overall ratings in 2013 ended up being 4th – the first time in OzTam ratings history that a commercial network has fallen fourth in end of year overall ratings behind Seven, Nine and the ABC.

 

A combination of failed shows, poor management, last minute schedule changes and lack of direction for the network is to blame for the result, driving ratings down. Continue reading

Test Post March 4, 2014

Testing, testing, testing… Continue reading

TV Posts May 2009 – Feb 2014 on Throng

See all my TV related posts from May 2009 to Feb 2014 on Throng – click here to see my Throng blog or here to visit the site.

Scheduling Frustrations

It’s great to see that channel 9 is now offering late night news at 11.30pm. For many of us, that is a better time to catch up on the news than 10.30 is on channel 10. Last night, I flicked over to 9 to watch the news at 11.30, only to find I had missed the start of it and therefore the first of the main stories which are usually the most important.

This is an ongoing problem for both channel 7 and 9 where programs after 11pm start early, while programs after 7pm start late. If you want to see all of the news on 9 scheduled for 11.30pm, I suggest you tune over at around 11.20 to make sure you don’t miss any. If you plan to record it to watch later in the night, then be sure to set your recorder to take into account those extra minutes before.

Channel 7 has been doing this with 30 Rock for months, which has started as early as 11.20 while still showing on both printed guides and EPGs as 11.30. On the flip side of the equation, channel 9 on Monday night, the last episode of Underbelly did not start until 8.39 and Eleventh Hour that followed Underbelly did not start until 9.45 – it was shown on the schedule as 9.30. That’s 15 minutes late. On that particular night, it was mae worse by having 3 minute HomeMade “Sneak Peaks” both before and after Underbelly, not to mention countless pop-up ads as well as extra ads during the ad breaks.

Last night, whilst working late, I left on 7HD in the background. At 12.53am, I heard the start of Deal or No Deal. After checking the 7HD TV guide on yahoo, I saw that Deal is scheduled to start at 1am. And, the show after it on 7HD – A Country Practice (and being on HD, you can see the rather low quality of the 80’s video compared to now) started at 1.17am – 13 minutes ealier than the program guide and EPG suggests.

The networks have to realise that an EPG is as good as useless if their programs do not match the time on the EPG. Most viewers rely on EPG times to either remind them of when a show starts or to record it to watch later. At least channel 10 keep their EPG times up to date most of the time. What is the problem with ch 7 and 9 – why can’t they keep their EPGs up to date? Surely the one that does stands to benefit the most from viewer satisfaction.

Both ch 7 and 9 need to be called to account for this archaic practise of running programs late or early. It is nothing more than blatant disrespect for their viewers, and such a strategy would only work if viewers watched the same channel all night. They don’t. They all have remotes. They all change channels many times during the night, and they all get frustrated at shows starting late or starting early.

Having said all that, here is my guide of what time you can expect a show to really start based on its advertised time.

Scheduled Time channel 7 channel 9 channel 10
5.00pm 4.57pm 4.57pm 5.00pm
5.30pm 5.27pm 5.27pm n/a
6.00pm 6.00pm 6.00pm 6.01pm
6.30pm 6.30pm 6.30pm 6.30pm
7.00pm 7.05pm 7.05pm 7.00pm
7.30pm 7.35pm 7.35pm 7.32pm
8.00pm 8.05pm 8.06pm 8.02pm
8.30pm 8.35pm 8.37pm 8.33pm
9.30pm 9.34pm 9.38pm 9.32pm
10.30pm 10.31pm 10.33pm 10.31pm
11.30pm 11.25pm 11.25pm n/a
12.00am 11.55pm 11.57pm 12.02am
12.30am 12.25am 12.25am  
1.00am 12.53am 12.55am  
1.30am 1.18am    

A bit of fine print:

These times are based on my own TV watching experience based mostly on
Monday to Thursday nights, although I have noticed late schedules
running on weekends as well, but not as bad as the weekdays. Times are
a rough average, off the top of my head. I have not sat down and
recorded all scheduled times for example, but have commented about many
of them on TV forums like
www.tvtonight.com.au or www.throng.com.au. Obviously these times
may vary from night to night, but for the uninitiated, can act as a
simple guide. Examples considered here include: ch 9 Mondays with
Underbelly and the show after it as much as 15 minutes late, The
Mentalist on Wednesday nights usually 7 or 8 mins late, Ellen at
11.30pm and now 12am starting early, 11.30 news starting at 11.25, 30
Rock on 7 starting as early as 11.20pm, Deal on 7HD starting at 12.53am
instead of 1am, Heroes from 10.30 – 11.25, always missing the start of
Beauty and the Geek which was on 11.30 Thursdays, and seeing it finish
around 12.20, missing the first stories on 11.30 news on 9, missing the
start of Hot Seat on 1st night and subsequent nights, seeing Antiques
and Mash start 4.57 after 4.30 news finishes, Life on Mars on 10
starting at 9.33 Thurs (now 10.30 Fri) on the dot according to the EPG,
Masterchef starting exactly on time in accordnace to the EPG, same with
Talkin’ Bout my Generation, Rove despite being after reality shows
normally starting as per EPG at say 9.06pm (although printed as a 9pm
start), not above here due to odd time, but Letterman on 10 at 11.15pm
is always on time as well, as is the show following. Yet 7 and 9 are
running early by 5 or more minutes. Obviously it has to do with the
lower volume of ads after 10.30, but the networks would know that
already and their guides should reflect it. Running late from 7 to
10.30pm though is a deliberate action as both A Current Affair and
Today Tonight finish 5 minutes late. Additional lateness, especially by
channel 9, can be attributed to extra self promotion ads thoughout the
night, especially when they through in sneak peaks like they currently
are for HomeMade.

Note that in the case of ch 10, their EPG times actually reflect the times above whereas ch 7 and ch9’s do not and only show 8.30, 9.30, etc.

I have not included ABC, SBS or Foxtel here as they usually run on time with up to date EPGs and therefore saw no point to include them on the table.

Go 99 Preview Update

In yet another example of just how hopeless the Channel 9 programming department when it comes to keeping viewers informed, as of this morning (Thursday April 30), there is no information in the yahoo TV guide online as to any of the planned 9HD day time break away next week. According to the advanced guide for 9HD posted on TV Tonight, extra 9HD beak away day time programming starts from this Sunday May 3.

It is not uncommon for the 9HD channel program guide not to be up to date in yahoo (perhaps this is because yahoo is tied up with channel 7), but you’d think channel 9 might go to a little extra effort to ensure there was adequate advertising and programming information out there in relation to this new programming. Otherwise, noone will know about it and day time viewers will most likely stumble upon the alternative shows when they try to watch Ellen and the View in HD only to see a movie on instead.

A quick check of the TV Guide that 9 MSN links to reveals the same – no alternative 9HD programming during the day. The only place I can find (admitedly I have not looked everywhere, but yahoo and ninemsn are two very high trffic locations so I would have assumed they keep there information up to date) this information in relation to 9HD is in TV Tonights’ advanced guides section – where you can see free to air TV guides as far as two weeks ahead. Usually, there is little point to look that far ahead into what channel 9 plan to show due to frequent programming changes, but this new 9HD programming is a big deal and a big step in the lead up to the new Go 99 channel later this year.

I might add, that I have not seen advertising for the programming either – not on the ninemsn web site or channel 9 itself. Maybe they are keeping it low key for now while they make sure there are no bugs, but surely, for the sake of their advertisers, they would want to attract viewers? Unless the ads will be free or endless 9 self promos (which would make the channel close to unbearable to watch).

At least there will be a day time alternative to talk, soapies, cooking and kids shows for now. If only they started the break away at 9am to provide an alternative to the morning shows. We don’t really need Kerry Ann and the mindless infomercials and content in HD – do we? 9am – 11 am are the worst 2 hours on commercial free to air TV, other than 2-4am of course. Before we had Foxtel, we would not even turn the TV on at our house until 11am for the news.

ONE HD on SC10

Southern Cross Tens’ (SC10) scenery HD channel is now displaying a message bar stating: “We are excited to announce that the 24 hours sports service ONE HD will be broadcast on this channel in coming months”. No indication of a date.

Coming months puts the launch of ONE HD on SC10 in line with what we hope to be a July start. Hopefully soon they will be able to tell us the date, and then to promote accordingly so that regional viewers can finally join their capital city counterparts in having the option to view the 24 hour sports channel.

At least there will be a free to air option in the early morning hours that is not informercials or movies older than your grand mother.