Xiv) Channel 10 (Australia)

In the early 1990s, Channel 10 was in receivership. Then it turned itself into a successful TV station using a low-cost business model aimed at younger viewers, ie under 40s. It left its competitors, Seven and Nine, to battle for the rest of the market.

By the mid-2000s it was generating around $1 billion in revenue and over a $1/4 million in net profit. This was more than its competitors (Channels 7 & 9) combined. The youth network focus and a proud history of broadcasting risk-taking shows, such as Number 96, Prisoner, The Dismissal, Big Brother and the 7 PM Project. In other words, it was at the 'top of the S-curve'.

By 2012 it was a shadow of its former self. Ratings actually dropped to the worst night in the history of Australian TV rating, ie 6.5% of the metropolitan viewers.

"...In a few short years, Ten has gone from being the cheeky upstart to being hit by weak morale, mass redundancies and a resurgent rival in Nine..."

James Chessell et al, 2012

Channel Ten's recent decline is linked with

- the start of new digital channels by rivals Seven and Nine, like GO, GEM, 7Two, etc that competed directly with Ten's main market, ie youth.

- the rise of the Internet with global video suppliers, such as YouTube and Australian National Broadband Network; the latter allowed for on-line giants like Google to compete. While Seven and Nine had online partners, Ten did not

- the increasing use of mobile phones for entertainment, sport, etc

Furthermore, management/board's mistakes added to its problems; for example

- confusion over whether Ten's digital station, Channel One, was for entertainment or sport (second tier sports like netball, major league baseball, the Indian Premier league cricket, etc). Sport won and it was expected to compete with pay-TV sports broadcaster, Fox Sport Australia (half-owned each by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and James Packer's Consolidated Media)

- ill-conceived expansion of Ten's news and current affairs coverage to complete directly with Seven and Nine by hiring 100 journalists plus the ageing George Nexus. Ten was trying to build a news brand from zero.

- disastrous launch of Channel Eleven aimed at the 13 to 39 year old cohort

- disruptive share ownership changes in Ten started when Ten approached the Packer group to do a deal around Fox Sport and for Packer to take a stake in Ten. This was expanded by James Packer to include Lachlan Murdoch; then Gina Ginehart (mining magnate) purchased a 10% stake.

- the continual micro-managing by the Board which culminated in the appointment of Lachlan Murdoch as "interim CEO"

- Ten's poor program performance continues. Even the successful Masterchef (in 2012, in its 4th year) is losing audience share; shows like The Shire, Being Lara Bingle, Everybody Dance Now, Breakfast, etc have all gone. Loss of AFL rights and an unsuccessful NRL bid have added to Ten's programming problems. In contrast, Nine has had great success with The Voice and The Block.

- then Channel 10 went into voluntary administration in mid 2017 and was purchased by CBS, an American mass media corporation, in late 2017

 

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