It's tough making money in TV these days, and new technology threatens to disrupt the entire business model the box has long been based on. But that's no excuse for not doing a better job. Here's five things the local TV networks (especially the commercial ones) could do to make life sweeter for everyone in 2010.
Picture by rooreynolds
5. Stop starting programs 5 minutes late (or worse)
TV networks routinely run shows over schedule, in the hope that people won't then switch channels to watch something better as soon as the program they actually wanted to watch finishes. In the era of hard-drive recorders, this is a monumentally stupid strategy. More tellingly, it's just another incentive to ignore the channels all together and access TV by other means.
4. Stop shunting programs all over the schedule
Loyal viewers are a core asset for any program, or station. Running a show at a different time each week, and bouncing it every time there's a movie or sporting event that doesn't fit the timeslot, won't build any loyalty. And while once this might have meant never seeing the show or begging friends overseas to send taped copies, now it just means heading to the nearest BitTorrent client. Audiences are shrinking, why annoy them further?
3. Stop copying each other
TV has always been a cyclical business: if reality formats are successful, everyone wants one. The buzz for 2010 seems to be variety shows: after blockbuster ratings for the Hey Hey! reunions, every network wants a similar show. But that doesn't mean viewers want that. Taking a chance on something new would be a much wiser strategy.
2. Stop copying yourself
As Mumbrella neatly put it earlier this year: It’s called Nine because that’s how many times a week they show Two And A Half Men. Also: no more Eddie McGuire, please. Show some mercy.
1. Launch a commercial version of iView
While commercial TV has made limited forays into online streaming, there's nothing that remotely resembles the usefulness or comprehensiveness of the ABC's iView. What we need is an Australian version of Hulu, where we can catch up with programming from across the channels when the schedule doesn't suit us (or, as per the first two points in this list, doesn't mean anything anyway). Yes, getting rights to some overseas shows might be difficult. Yes, network sales staff will have to co-operate. The medium is changing. The networks need to change with it.
What's on your TV wishlist for 2010? Share your ideas in the comments.