7th Heaven, Block Party and a Little “Big” Channel Called Eleven

TV is changing and at a rapid pace; at the forefront of this shifting paradigm is the abundance of choice to the consumer. 2011 was the year of change, for better or worse, as Television was set on its chosen course for years to come.

 “Imagination allows us to escape the predictable. It enables us to reply to the common wisdom that we cannot soar by saying, ‘Just watch!’” (B. Bradley)

Oh how wrong this is as we recap the year that was in TV!

Seven did not imagine, they didn’t gamble, they returned to the fundamentals much like Man United  or Roger Federer would. Going from strength to strength with its formidable format that quite often left its rivals scratching their heads and ducking for cover amidst the barrage of ratings victories. The four juggernauts of MKR, AGT, DWTS and X-Factor provided the perfect foundations to a dominant schedule in a year where almost everything Seven touched turned to gold.

Nine? Well…. Nine was just Nine; a box full of chocolates, a heavyweight boxer with a killer punch but at times a rather glass jaw. With a sporadic year, they surprised the industry in how well some properties performed and how badly others did. It was a year where many programmes met their fate beneath the guillotine (Let’s face it, we all knew where Ben Elton was heading after watching just one promo!) whilst others became a pillar of strength. The Block was the game changer of 2011, performing so strongly, beyond all experts’ imagination, that it put in check the cocky swagger of Network Seven, even for just a brief period.

Ten was in its usual “revolutionary” form, attempting to dynamically change the game and shake the fabric of the media landscape. However, it ended up being a year Ten would rather forget. MKR took the fiery flare out of the usually captivating MasterChef, whilst The Block simply dismantled that Network format blunder we call The Renovators. It was a year of learning for Ten, and we can’t fault them for trying. The gamble to take their 18:00 hour block from Ten to Eleven reaping instant success, with the newest digital channel already ranked number one against all major buying demographics. They finally changed ONEHD to make it more client friendly and become, in my opinion, the real “Maate” channel. Then of course was crusty, old Negus, the overnight attempt to create a credible and trustworthy news block; the longer he was on air, the more stale and unappealing he would become.

2011 was a defining year in TV; the growth of STV, the fragmenting of FTA and the abundance of choice made the industry as a whole start to realise old habits need to die young; our craft has changed thus our tools and procedures must follow suit. The changes in landscape will warrant the change in how TV is bought; a topic which we’ll discuss in future posts. 2012 embraces an exciting year in Television, will it be Seven’s uncanny ability to churn out locally produced content or Nine’s radical strip programming strategy, or Ten’s onslaught on the P 18-39 demographic that will have them lavishing in an abundance of glory? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain – watch this space!

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