What now for Network Ten?

July 13, 2017

Cast of the Project at the Logies with silver logie for best new panel or current affairs show earlier this year. Contrary to internet outrage they are not the cause of Network Ten's failings.

The news of Channel Ten going into administration has been a big talking point recently, particularly on social media, but I’m a bit confused by some of the commentary people are throwing around.

There are a lot of people claiming that somehow one of the hosts of The Project, Waleed Aly, is the sole reason the television station failed.

I don’t really watch The Project, but it has been going since 2009 and has been pretty steady in terms of ratings for Ten, consistently rating between 600000 and 700000 viewers almost every night of the week.

It’s an okay news-themed program aimed at young people, and it does what it sets out to do.

I don’t think the show is their biggest problem, and as much as people like to throw vitriol on polarising figure Aly for being progressive — I know, how dare he — it was misdirection from the top that caused the downfall of the station as a whole.

I think we can all agree the biggest mistake Ten did was take away The Simpsons from 6pm prime time slot. No, seriously, the station moved away from catering for ‘‘young people’’ to try to take the audience of 30-plus-year-olds loyal to the other television channels.

As Frank Chung wrote on news.com.au, Network Ten launched a major expansion of news line-ups in 2011 and within 18 months of the change the station went from being the most profitable television network in the country to losing millions of dollars.

They brought in boring breakfast shows like all the other television stations and moved shows such as The Simpsons to their other channel Eleven.

I know some of the reality shows get big followings, but surely no-one can watch I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Masterchef and The Biggest Loser every year for the past five years.

I wonder what will happen to television stations in the future when they face a similar problem to the newspaper industry with all of the television networks also being hurt by the juggernauts of Facebook and Google.

Free-to-air television probably has not been helped either by the arrival of streaming services such as Netflix and Stan and the rise in popularity of video gaming platforms competing for eyeballs.

I don’t know what will happen to the channel, but I hope they still come through with the promise of more All Aussie Adventures with Russell Coight.

Perhaps that’s the key to returning the station to its former glory, wave after wave of nostalgic programs to regain its now grown-up audiences.

Declan Martin is a News journalist.

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