The Ten Network has today unveiled two major strategic moves. The first will be the launch of its new standard-definition channel – 11 – early in 2011. The new channel continues Ten’s strategy of building independently-focused identities, following the launch last year of One HD, while maintaining the Ten brand on its main channel.
11, which will replace the standard-definition simulcast of One HD, promises to provide a general entertainment format with focus on the 13-29 age bracket, with access to tens of thousands of hours of program material, old and new, from the library of US network CBS.
Some of the current programs promised to appear on 11 include The Office, Stargate Atlantis, Top Model UK, Dollhouse, The Cleveland Show, The Late Show With David Letterman, Dexter, Smallville, 90210 and Melrose Place. The new channel will also have access to CBS’ library of classics including Family Ties, Happy Days, The Brady Bunch, Cheers, Becker, Get Smart, MacGyver, Hogan’s Heroes, Everybody Loves Raymond, Sex And The City, Roseanne, The Love Boat, Frasier and Star Trek.
However, spearheading the new channel’s prime-time line-up will be two programs that have been early evening staples for Ten for two decades – Neighbours and The Simpsons.
In a bold move, Ten will be moving Neighbours exclusively to 11. It will be the first time that a commercial network has scheduled an ongoing locally-made drama exclusively on a digital multi-channel. Ten chief Grant Blackley also announced that 11 will become the new free-to-air home of The Simpsons. Both The Simpsons and Neighbours are expected to occupy the same weeknight timeslots on 11 as they currently do on Ten.
The shifting of the two programs from the main Ten channel creates an opportunity for Ten’s other strategic development – an increased commitment to news and current affairs.
Ten is planning to bridge the one-hour gap between Ten News and The 7PM Project with a half-hour national news bulletin followed by a half-hour locally-based bulletin in each state. Ten’s increased news presence will also extend to weekends where state-based bulletins will be reinstated on a regular basis. Presenters and reporters for the expanded news service have yet to be announced.
With this increase in news and current affairs coverage the network has committed to employing an additional 100 staff and upgrading infrastructure in an investment of up to $20 million per annum. Network Ten and CBS have also entered into a joint venture, ElevenCo Pty Limited, to ensure content supply for the new channel. ElevenCo will be two thirds owned by Ten and one third by CBS.
It is unknown at this stage what plans are in place for 11 to be relayed through pay-TV or through Ten’s regional affiliates such as Southern Cross Ten, Tasmanian Digital Television and Darwin Digital Television.
The announcement of 11 comes a week after rival Seven unveiled details of its new high-definition channel, 7mate, and just over a month after ABC launched its new 24-hour channel, ABC News 24.
Source: Network Ten