Tag Archives: ch 9

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.

Go 99 Preview

It seems that channel 9 is experimenting or possibly testing what they may be doing with their new channel Go 99 set to launch in August.

From next Sunday, there will be many more hours of break away 9HD programming during the day. The break away programming starts at 11am and concludes at 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. There will also be break away hours on Sunday, as well as the usual small offering after 10.30pm Monday to Wednesday. on Thursday nights, the HD channel is used to broadcast the opposite football show to the one shown on the main channel (in Sydney, NRL is on the main channel, AFL on 9HD for example).

Programs include: 11am Just Shoot Me, 11.30 Seinfeld. 12pm Movies. 2pm previous nights’ 7.30 prime time show or similar, 3pm Bewitched, 3.30 I Dream of Jeannie double – till 4.30.

Unfortunately, though, this means that you will not, for the short term, be able to see Ellen, The View and ET in HD. I do believe, though, that if a show is available in HD, it should be shown on the HD channel in HD. I can understand why they might be testing the ground using 9HD, but hopefully this is not a sign of things to come. Hopefully. GO 99 will be the home of all these entertainment shows, and 9HD will be left to simulcast 9’s shows that are in HD. Only when a show on 9 main is not in HD should they ever consider breaking away – which, once Go 99 is up, an HD break away would mean three ch 9’s.

With channel 9’s very poor programming reptuation in recent times, the launch of Go 99 could be their saviour giving the network the chance to air many shows that they don’t feel comfortable to air simply because they are not instant million plus ratings hits. Let’s hope they don’t treat programming on Go 99 the same way they do on their main channel.

Let’s also hope, that the launch of Go 99 will be carried in regional markets as well. So far, NBN has not offered any of 9HD’s break away programming. I some areas, WIN has.

We Love Our Free TV

As part of the new FreeView campaign, the phrase “we love our free TV” is used. There isn’t much to love about free TV these days, especially where channel 9 is concerned but it never used to be this way. With 9 offereing more 20-1 than ever, I thought I’d make my own 20-1 list based on what we used to love about our free TV – mind you, 20 years ago, Free TV was the only option other than hiring movies on VHS video. Considering free TV is no longer the only option, I would have thought they would have improved as opposed to declined.

20. Adults Only was known as AO – a rating, not part of the title. 

19. Overnight you could watch news, music or old movies – no infomercials

18. Kids TV in the afternoon, sometimes till 5.30

17. There were no subscription mobile ads (and of course, no mobile phones, well at least not one smaller than a house brick)

16. Cartoons in the morning

15. Programs to watch between 9am and 11am other than talk morning shows

14. No trashy shows ever. Swearing was for the most part not allowed either (we all remember Kerry Packer ordering the Doug Mulray video show off back in the 90’s)

13. Stereo simulcasts on Fm radio for major movies like Star Wars (and I in fact connected extra speakers to my radio to make my own surround sound in 1986)

12. Timeslot changes and axings were rare and hardly ever happened the way it does now. Shows almost always remained on for their full season.

11. Reliable printed TV guides

10. The nightly current affairs shows once featured quality stories.

9. More Australian shows were on TV

8. Unmissable TV shows like Prisoner

7. Channel 9 news was the only news worth watching

6. Game shows were entertaining and watchable

5. Eddy McGuire was at home watching TV and noone knew who he was

4. 60 Minutes had hard hitting, quality stories

3. If a show was advertised as starting at 8.30, at worst, it would start at 8.31. Never 8.37 or later.

2. The first to TV Sunday night movie

1. Channel 9 always winning the ratings and known as “still the one”

And more: lets not forget those Demtel ads with the catch phrase “but wait … there’s more… ” and K-Tel selling vinyl record holders, and even records including Kamahl. And you might even get a set of free steak knives. There was still summer TV though.  But back then, way before email, mobile phones, SMS, my space, facebook and twitter, you would actually spend time with people and less time in front of the TV, your phone or computer.

FreeView in my View 4

So here comes the next round of Free View ads which will supposedly remind us of what we love about free to air TV. The same day we hear about channel 9’s new Tuesday night line up containing nothing but 2.5 Men, 20-1 and Underbelly, most of which are repeats. These Free view ads are a waste of time and no doubt take air space away from real advertisers selling real products.

Freeview are so delusional, that they call 7HD and 9HD separate channels. 9HD hardly has any break away programming and for the most part is the same as the main channel – so should not count, and 7HD is almost as bad but at least has more break away times.

And now the comment relating to more channels launching says within a year. We know channel 9 have announced their new channel, Ten is already doing ONE, SBS News has become SBS2, ABC has been given the go ahead for ABC3 (I knew thewy would) but channel 7 is still yet to announce anything.

Currently, I put the channel count at 8 – ABC, ABC2, Ten, One, 7, 9, SBS, SBS2. In regional area of northern NSW, it is 7 channels as there is no ONE yet. It will hopefully be on SC10 by July, about the same time it is rumoured Foxtel will get it for those who do not have cable. Go 99 and ABC3 will take it to 10 channels, and 7’s new channel when they announce it will be the 11th. And that will most likely be it, as I don’t see any of them then using the HD channel as a break away from the other 2 channels.

Hot Seat Runs Cold

Well I gave it a go. Hot Seat on ch 9 last at 5.30 last night. I was still working at 5.30 so ended up recording it and watching it later at 7pm. I was already sceptical of the show given what I had read about the format change.

The first problem with the show was that it started 3 minutes early at 5.27 – exactly the same way that Deal or No Deal does. Now, anyone who watches deal would be well aware of the early start time. Anyone wanting to give Hot Seat a go, would probably have assumed it would start at 5.30 as advertised. But then again, we all know that times on channel 9 can vary by 5 minutes either way. Nevertheless, starting early would have been a great way to lose a number of the viewers who tuned in late and did not know the rules explained in the first minutes.

The show has 15 questions. A contestant is able to pass to the next contestant if they do not know the answer. The contestant passed to cannot pass again and must answer the question. There are 6 contestants to start with. If a contestant gets a question wrong, then they are out completely, and the maximum possible prize reduces by 1 level. A new question of equal value is asked. The contestant left in the hot seat at the end wins the money provided they answer the questions correctly.

This format is fundamentally flawed. As we saw on the first show last night, a contestant will be more likely to guess an answer in the hope they may get it right and move to the next question rather than pass to to the next contestant. One of them last night even suggested they were not concerned about the final value of the final question and would guess rather than pass in case they did get it right. hat did work for one contestant, but not for long.

The other problem with this format is strategies instead of focusing on getting the questions right. The lady who was the first contestant with the first and easiest question opted to pass in the hope she would get back into the hot seat near the end after the other 6 contestants rather than answer the question. The result was, and lucky for her, that she did end up in the hot seat at the end and did walk away with $20,000. This reminds me a little of the weakest link where contestants would opt to eliminate the strongest players so that there chances of not being eliminated would be higher, rather than keeping in the strong players to help build the cash in later rounds.

The only way this show will give away $1 million will be if one contestant knows all the questions, or one that is passed ot early in the game can also answer the remaining questions.

But what if there is a group of contestants where they all get questions wrong, leaving noone in the hot seat? The show would surely finish early leaving Eddy to fill in time some how? I wonder what the show’s contingency is for this.

I love question and answer style game shows. But it is questions and answers I want to see. I don’t want to hear the life story of each contestant. I don’t want the host to try and talk contestants in or out of answers. I don’t want the host to try and be funny or something he is not. I don’t want the contestant sitting there soaking up their allocated time explaining how an experience in his life has lead to the answer he is going to give for that particular question. This, of course, was a much bigger problem in the standard format of Who Wants to be a Millionaire which had unlimited time for contestants to answer and they would go on, and on, and on. There was one one hour episode I remember once which only had 4 questions as the contestant took so long to get through them, and Eddy kept on going to breaks everytime an answer had been locked in before the answer was revealed.

Anyone who has seen the American version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire will know how fast paced the sahow can be. It is in the traditional Millionaire format, with the 3 life linesa we have all grown to love. Yet, on their half hour show, they can usually get through 2 contestants with each reaching 64 or 125 thousand dollars (thats 3 questions short of the million in the traditional format).

I cannot understand why we can’t do that here. Maybe it is just that Eddy has to talk and can’t help himself? I think he is OK as a host but really needs to stop talking so much to both the contestants and the audience. I really don’t think we need to know much more about a contestant other than their name and a basic interest or 2.

If you consider how many questions are in the show, hot seat has only 15. Temptation used to have around 40 – 50, the old Millionaire as low as 4 in one hour. But in the US, the American version of Millionaire nearly 30 questions, and the best of them all – Jeopardy has 61 questions. And Jeopardy is only 16 minutes once you fast forward the ads and the two minutes of getting to know the contestants.

Anyway, in my opinion, the show won’t work. Its not fast enough, not interesting enough and there’s too much Eddy talk. Even if it was at 7pm, which I initially thought would have been a good idea, I don’t think it would have done much better than 2.5 Men currently does. I think the ratings will only go down, not up.

Expect to see ch 9 do some sort of promo and competition to try and lure viewers with home viewers prizes.

Such a shame so little thought goes into game shows these days. The reason noone wants to watch them anymore is they are not what they used to be. Who wants to see a show where a contestant would rather get the answer wrong than play on with the chance to win more? And who want to hear more about the contestants life than the participation in the show?

FYI: I’ll be recording Hot Seat, but only to see the questions and answers. The talk and the ads will be fast forwarded through. Should only take 10 minutes to watch doing that. Temptation used to be only 15 minutes to watch by recording and playing back on the same basis.

Channel 9 and Go99 or Go!99

Channel 9 is set to launch its 2nd free to air digital channel sometime later this year – most likely in August. The rumour mills suggest it will be called GO!99. Apparently, GO!99 has been registered by ch 9 as a trade mark, but that does not necessarily mean that will be its final name. Whether it is or not, is not really relevant. Of greater concern, is what exactly will be its content?
 
Channel 9 now lead the free to air networks as being the channel that has the most programming changes, as well as being the network least likely to show a series that they introduce in entirety at any time favouring quick program fixes and repeats in favour of running a series they started. At least channel 7 give their series a go, even if that means, they end up late at night or being held for a few months or so until they put them on.
 
Channel 7 is yet to announce plans for their second digital channel. Channel 10 has already done it with ONE HD although the regionals will not see it until July.
 
All that aside, one must be concerned as to what channel 9 will do with their extra channel. It was only announced yesterday that 9’s Tuesday night line up was to be changed most likely due to low ratings. This change is too late for their printed TV guides – the very guides that most of their loyal viewers will rely upon. As has been the case for numerous weeks this year, channel 9’s programming changes are last minute and never are in time for printed guides to reflect. While TV guides are now available on the internet and EPGs, no doubt the masses are picking them up from printed guides and will tune in (or out) accordingly. This, to me, is one of the reasons why their ratings are falling.
 
In my opinion, if this is the way they handle their main channel, then their second channel is going to be an even bigger nightmare to deal with. I wonder if it will be loaded with endless Underbellys’, 20-1’s, 10-1’s, even 50-1 they did once, not to mention two and a half men played to the point of overkill. It is supposedly slated as an entertainment channel but, if the lack of programming ability they are demonstrating on their main channel is anything to go by, why would anyone care about the second channel?
 
I always thought that a second SD channel would give a network the chance to experiment and show programs they normally would not on their main channel. The marketing opportunities are enormous. I mean, here is the chance to have themed nights like 10HD did with Sci Fi nights. Here is the chance to have movie nights, comedy nights, crime nights, drama nights, niche programming, majorly time shifted prime time segments and more (what I mean by time shifted prime time is that they repeat prime time after say 12.30am instead of infomercials or even during the day to give those people who do not fit into the working prime time norm (such as shift workers) a chance to see prime time TV without having to record it). 
 
The way channel 9 are heading at the moment, is that this 2nd channel will show little more than endless 20-1’s, Underbelly’s, 2.5 Men and other repeats little or no people care about. I mean, the only reason most of these shows rate is due to a lack of options rather than the fact people really care for them.
 
Channel 9 have the rights to so many shows, that it amazes me why they don’t put them on. Channel 7 and 10 give their shows a chance and follow through – even if late. But not 9. They axe shows never to be seen again except possibly on Foxtel a year or so later. Who remembers their Pushing Daisies ads? That one ended up W channel Foxtel, but 9 had rights to originally. OK – that show is a bit weird, but still, if they had the rights to it over Foxtel, it would do alot better than something like Bridezillas which 9 was showing even though it had already been on Foxtel.
 
I can’t wait to see the programming for the 2nd channel 9 – I’ll call it Go99 even though that is not really confirmed yet. Even if it is a channel of 9 repeats, it will at least give an option for those who do not have Foxtel. I just hope they have the sense to program it properly as a new channel that will not yet attract major ratings. I just hope it is better than 9HD – which was really only there for a few hours each night – in the sense that they do not cut and chop programs left, right and centre. I hope that they will see this channel as an opportunity to show programs that – for whatever reason – they do not show on their main channel – we all know they have the rights to so many shows. Yes, I am a fan of ER, and have already seen the finale through a friend in the US, but they could put ER on this channel. Not to mention, Survivor, Weeds, and others they have the rights to.
 
Lets hope that they do not deal with the 2nd channel the way they do with the main channel and that they use it to promote digital uptake in the sense that they make people see what they are missing out on. Sooner or later, the networks have to embrace digital and multichanelling rather than catering for those who don’t care and making sure that their TV shows are all available on analogue.