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.