How Channel Nine’s Shoddy Scheduling Encourages Piracy

How Channel Nine’s Shoddy Scheduling Encourages Piracy
Tonight on Channel 9: your guess is as good as theirs.

Last week, Channel Nine decided to fast-track its Schapelle telemovie in a transparent bid to capitalise on the media buzz surrounding the convicted drug smuggler’s impending release from prison. Originally slated to run at 8:45pm on Monday, the show was rescheduled to 8:45pm Sunday. Until a few hours ago, the network still hadn’t bothered to inform viewers what it intended to show in tonight’s empty TV slot. And people wonder why Australians pirate so much.

Don’t get us wrong; we’re not condoning the illegal download of television shows via torrent sites. But the fact remains that most television networks in Australia have what could only be described as a casual disregard for their viewers.

For the past few weeks, anyone interested in watching Schapelle would have had Monday 10 February marked on their calender. To have this date abruptly changed due to a cynical ratings gamble is tantamount to a slap in the face — especially to viewers who were also keen to watch Channel 7’s INXS telemovie, which also screened on Sunday.

Australia has barely enough locally produced drama as it is, so purposely putting two shows head-to-head is a disservice to everyone, networks included. By all accounts, the rescheduling strategy was an abject failure on Nine’s part, with Schapelle finishing a distant seventh in the night’s ratings.

Sticking to published program times isn’t something that networks should mess with — it’s one of the few advantages of traditional TV broadcasting. If you cant trust a show to run at the advertised time, then what’s the point of free-to-air? It’s certainly not versatility or the timeliness of content.

Update: According to TV Tonight, Channel Nine has belatedly updated tonight’s scheduling: we can all look forward to a rerun of Schapelle plus a Nine News special about Schapelle Corby. Joy.


  • I Agree I know the networks are competing with each other but to put two bug name shows out in the same time the loosed is the viewer. And like yourself I don’t condone piracy but you can see why it happens. And it the rest of life you can be charged for encouraging theft. Eg fined for leaving car unlocked.

  • Yeah but it’s Freeview… It’s free…! 🙂
    Channel nine is the worst station for reception in my town. I don’t even bother to record from it anymore because most of the time it is so badly pixelated it can’t be watched anyway… 🙁

  • They were absolutely stupid to schedule it head-to-head against INXS. The ratings spoke for themselves. Which is great, the whole Schapelle case gets far too much exposure as is.

    • Oh but they’ll get it right on the rerun, won’t they? I mean, if they don’t then they’ll just replay it again… and again… and again… and… You get the point.

  • Didn’t even know there was a “telemovie” about her. Thanks for letting me know, I’ll be sure not to ever download it (no need to worry about accidentally seeing it on TV as I don’t watch FTA)!

    Can’t believe they let that trash out!

    • Dude, if you didn’t know about it, you were probably the only one. Nine went nuts on the advertising for that shit. It was like watching a B-52 carpet bomb. After a while, it came across as pretty desperate and kinda sad…

      • yeah the advertising for this show was ridiculous. I don’t even watch TV any more and I somehow managed to catch one of these ads

  • Exactly this. I set my DVR to record the Stonedine Frypan informercial at three oclock this morning. When I went to watch it, it was the Jumpstart Soup Mate Informercial! I ALREADY HAVE TWO OF THOSE! GET YOUR SCHEDULING IN ORDER, EXTRA2!

    • I don’t anyone who watched Free to Air TV anymore. Especially since the focus on renovating, cooking, singing, dancing, losing weight competition type shows. Boring, repetitive, uninspiring rubbish. Network executives need to open their eyes and ears…

  • So your argument is that they pirate so much because of a relatively uncommon instance where they don’t know what’s going to be on one of a dozen odd chanels in a particular time slot?…

    • “relatively uncommon instance”

      Bwahaha. Its been a long time since you could count on a show being aired when it was supposed to be aired.
      We unplugged the aerial well over 2 years ago. One 10tb server later and i don’t miss it one bit.
      Excuse me, i must go start dinner before the new Top Gear and Walking Dead tonight. They air just at the exact moment i park my arse.

  • The free to air channels treat there viewers with contempt, delaying popular series, play them out of sequence, constantly moving them around, starting and stopping a series, I have given up on free to air channels, if I like a series or hear of a series I might be interested in I download it. I couldn’t be bothered with the ripoff that Fuxtel is either, TV is Australia is a joke.

  • The commercial networks have been doing this for over 20 years now, so it’s more than a “casual disregard”; it’s pretty much the underpinning of their entire corporate philosophies.

  • As if this wasn’t bound to happen! Did anyone seriously believe ‘TBA’ meant they had no clue what they were going to air?

    Have a spare block of time with nothing to air? Why not just replay ‘Shapelle’ again and and try to rope in a few extra viewers who chose to watch something much more worthy of their time last night (here’s to you INXS!).

    8.40pm – Schapelle – Finally Free – A Nine News Special
    9.40pm – Schapelle (M)

  • they did this with the final season of Fringe, 1am, 2am timeslots, with no ads even saying it was on, i only happened to catch the 2nd episode one late night flicking the channels, needless to say ive finished the entire season via alternate means

  • I can actually say with pride that last night was the first time in well over 18 months that my TV was actually tuned IN to watch something on FTA (vs watching something off the 32Gb Flash Memory card that’s regularly being updated with all of my movies and TV shows on it). And INXS did not disappoint – although I’m sure my neighbours weren’t impressed with the surround sound blasting INXS music for a couple of hours 🙂

  • I cant believe how much coverage she’s getting! 9 years in a prison and she will now probably be a millionare from TV/radio interviews, sponsorships, etc.

    I know she was in a prison, but really…. Its counter productive to the justice system if after her release, she gets hundreds of thousand of dollars from multiple sources

    • Yeah.. I would do 9 years in prison for 3 million dollars. More money than most rational people could ever hope to make on the outside. It sure as hell pays to sell drugs.. or at least if you believe her story, to have people think you do.

          • If she stays in Bali, yes, but if she returns to Aus we have laws saying you can’t profit from a crime even after the fact.

          • She’s not profiting from crime, she is profiting from the story of her life. There are countless books/etc with similar convicted people, it’s a huge genre called true crime.

            They can’t just ban you from talking about your life, nor anything associated with that.

          • Not how it works. She is famous BECAUSE she’s a criminal, therefore her “life story” is proceeds of crime. Same as Chopper. He didn’t die rich.

            No, they can’t ban you from talking about your life, but they CAN take the profit you make from it away. And she’s not immune from it in Indonesia. Our legislation still covers her there.. nor can she transfer the money to anyone else safely.

            There’s very good reason for this legislation.

  • i have no problem pirating tv shows, wouldnt have discovered 90% of the shows i watch without it, because australian tv either wouldnt air them, they would be locked into foxtel, or they arrive here on dvd a year after they end

  • There is nothing worth watching broadcast in HD on FTA, so there is nothing worth watching. Standard def is a joke in 2014.

    • So you’re discounting all TV shows made prior to the advent of HD? Personally I’d much rather watch a rerun of Fawlty Towers or Seinfeld than most of the modern crap shot in high-def.

      • Many older shows were shot on film, and while they don’t often look THAT great, the HD transfers look far, far better than standard def, especially at Australian FTA bitrates.

  • You know what really grinds my gears?
    The fact that 7mate is advertising this big massive event in Family Guy – Brian dying. Welcome to 2 months ago geniuses.

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