COMMENT:Why The Ten Network Will Struggle To Survive.

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The first people to go at Channel Ten should be the senior management team whose actions have led to the network now facing an uncertain future as consumers switch to paid content and quality content.

The network is a mess, the brand tired and consumers have chosen to stay away from some really good shows for the simple reason that the current management team do not know how to lure viewers to the network nor have they delivered the right content at the right time. 

Even the Ten logo and branding looks tired and limp, more 1970’s than a progressive modern network.

Last week the network announced that they would cut up to 150 jobs from its news and operations departments. This is the network that bought back failed news anchors such as George Negus to head up a current affairs show which bombed because Negus lacks credibility with today’s audience. He is no Ray Martin despite a stint at Sixty Minutes. 

Peter Meakin the former Seven and Nine news boss who returned from retirement to take on a role at Ten is like an Admiral with no ships to command. He told the Australian that “I’m sure our news teams everywhere will do their level best to produce a classy and watchable bulletin every night of the week,”

The big question is do we really need the Ten network anyway?

Consumers are watching less free to air TV, instead they are turning to IPTV services and are quite prepared to pay for “quality content”.

By letting Ten die on the vine the chances are that Seven and Nine will have a better chance of survival, it could also drive more consumers to invest in subscription TV such as Foxtel and Fetch TV.

Over at Foxtel sport is the big attraction and the difference between what Foxtel deliver with superb Full HD coverage of games Vs the poor 720p HD coverage that the likes of Nine, Ten the ABC and Ten dish up is clearly noticeable. 

Around the world networks have invested in Full HD content delivery because it delivers a superior picture but not in Australia with the likes of Ten, Seven and Nine still delivering a HD signal Vs a Full HD signal that delivers a better quality video to screens.  


Consumers want better quality because they have the TV’s and the devices that allow them to watch Full HD and now Ultra HD content.

Network Ten News has struggled to deliver quality content despite having the rights to some excellent shows. 

Ten was never seen as a leading edge news source despite delivering an hour of news every night but what they have delivered considering the limited resources has been excellent according to several observers. 
 
Peter Meakin described his news staff as “heroes” who have “been churning out great product with less resources than their competitors for years”.

Former Ten journalists, news directors and hosts agree with their rivals that this reputation, ?acknowledged by the industry, will now be tested. “It depends on your definition of a news service,” said one former Ten reporter. “Can they do a local news bulletin with those resources? No.”

On the entertainment front subscription TV services are growing, Telstra has had record growth with their T Box offering and Netflix is currently negotiating with global TV and movie houses to deliver content for as low as $39 a month in Australia. This will allow consumers to watch the latest shows and movies when it suites them including shows such as NCIS which is currently on the Ten network.

The bottom line is that there is no future for the Ten network in today’s declining TV market, they don’t have the management or the revenues to continue buying programming that attracts eyeballs and they are facing tough competition from IPTV players.

Nor do they have the management who understand what is needed in today’s entertainment market. 

 
For some investors the brand could be worth something especially if they can find a unique position in the market and be able to deliver content that appeals. 

Tim Burrows writing for mUmBRELLA wrote ‘The lack of local content to replace it – suggests that Ten is running out of choices.

Primetime isn’t working, mid mornings are a struggle and breakfast time has failed. (With the caveat that at least the new series of Masterchef has held up so far.)

The only obvious route it has left now is to cut costs again and attempt to be profitable as a distant third placed network until the ownership situation changes.

But before we get to that – a thought on Wake Up. The failure of the show is not about the content. It’s in large part about the inability of the network to successfully persuade people to sample it”. 
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