Hot on the heels of the 7Mate announcement by Seven and the announcement that Channel 9 will launch…something, the Ten Network have today announced the launch of their new digital multi-channel. Named ‘Eleven’, the channel will offer general entertainment content featuring recognised titles from the Ten library. Little about the announcement has been a surprise, it has really just been the final details we’ve been waiting on.
Network Ten will hold 66 2/3 per cent equity in ElevenCo, the company formed to produce the channel, with CBS Studios Inc. holding a 33 1/3 per cent share. The joint partnership doesn’t restrict the channel to content exclusively from the CBS library, but it will open up the vast CBS library to provide content to the new channel.
Viewers can expect to see Futurama, The Cleveland Show, Supernatural, Stargate, Dexter, Smallville, The Office, Nurse Jackie, 90210 all find a home on the channel. Along with this, the CBS library includes programs like Everybody Loves Raymond, Sex and the City, JAG, Frasier, Judging Amy, Happy Days and MacGyver. The result is a channel that will feel like a cross between Channel Ten and TV1/111 Hits.
Interestingly, long-time Channel Ten staples The Simpsons and Neighbours will both transition to Eleven. There has been talk that the network is considering extending their 5pm News bulletin a further 30 minutes, with a new 30 minute current affairs show to launch at 6:30pm. The move of The Simpsons & Neighbours to Eleven practically solidifies the rumours.
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Ten were smart to get in quick with their launch of the sports channel One. There are two areas of Broadcast Television that remain unaffected by downloadable content: sports and news. Both require live broadcasts as neither have much value on time-delay. For a broadcast TV service, it is imperative to ensure that your viewers are watching your service as close to live as possible. While Ten were proactive in insuring that they enter the ‘sports space’ first on FTA digital, the result was that Ten took a hammering in the ratings. Multi-channel ratings are included in the primary channels overall result, with Seven and Nine appear more attractive to media buyers due to bouyant figures provided by 7Two and Go!. The launch of ‘Eleven’ is expected to level the playing field.
It is expected that Ten’s popular series Masterchef Australia, The 7PM Project, and The Biggest Loser will remain on Ten, as will CBS programing that appeals to older viewers (think The Good Wife, NCIS, and Medium). It has been suggested that Glee will transition to Eleven, however that seems unlikely considering the very strong following for the show.
With more programing hours available and a stronger alliance formed between Ten and CBS, one can only hope that this leads to a stronger presence of CBS’ late night offerings. A regular Letterman timeslot on Eleven would be great to see. Likewise, there is finally room on the schedule to launch The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (easily the most consistently funny US talk show host). Also, with the series distributed by CBS Television Distribution, could we possibly see the US Jeopardy game show make its Australian FTA debut? A man can dream.
The foundations for the launch of Eleven appear to be very solid. Ten have taken an interesting step in forming a partnership with CBS to develop their new channel, however it feels like it will be a partnership that will be of massive benefit to the new offering. Moreso than any of the multi-channel launches to date, Eleven feels like it has a very strong integration into the core business strategy of the network. It’s exciting stuff.