60 Years of QLD TV

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Becoming 10 TV Australia: 20 Years On.

Where were you, on July 23 1989?

You were most likely sitting down, to watch National Nine News over dinner, then flick over to see something on 7 or 10 (Disney or in league mad states, the replay of that Sunday's afternoon game as Ten had shared TV rights back then), then watch either 60 Minutes on 9 or The Comedy Company on 10. Those who chose the lighter option noticed a "new Ten", something that had been promoted for weeks on TV and with full page ads in Sunday newspapers, As the slogan stated... "Something's Going On Around Here..." and then the ID played, and a new era had begun, which eventually led Ten to recievership just over a year later, and ratings hell all at the same time.

This is the story of what led to the "10 TV Australia" rebrand.

September 1988... Five Tens, in Five Capitals.
Network Ten, prior to 1988 was a network in name only. Three of the four members were on VHF 10, with the fourth member, TVQ in Brisbane, being on channel 0, which it had been on since the networks establishment in 1965. Perth had no 10, instead relying on a weird arrangement between 7 and 9. But it was soon to change. Aussat's (now Optus) launch of the first A-series satellites in 1985, was the first wakeup call, which helped solve the Perth dilemma where the federal government offered the third commercial licence to the WA capital, alongside a switch in Adelaide in 1987, where ADS-7 (a station Ten picked up, along with the Perth 10 licence and Capital Television in Canberra from a young Kerry Stokes, now owner of Seven) switched from being a Seven affiliate, to a Ten O&O, giving 7 Perth-owned SAS-10, the chance to become SAS-7, alongside the Perth 7 station (which became a full Seven affiliate in 1988.) The second wakeup call, was the changes in media ownership, that led to a Qintex duopoly (the only one ever in a capital city) of the now 7 O&O and 10 affiliates in Brisbane. In September 1987, regional broadcaster Darling Downs Television bought TVQ-0 for $123 million, and prepared it for the same task that ATV-10 did in 1980, which was move from channel 0 to channel 10. In May 1988, the NEW-10 in Perth opened, followed by TVQ-0 becoming TVQ-10 in September that year, thus now, Ten was able to compete better with Seven and Nine, as there were five-city Network Ten ratings results for the first time, with a level playing field in the main capitals.

The changes, that came with the five city Ten Network: Ten "losing itself"
1989 started with with a couple of endings, first being that each station dropped their local morning program branding (Living, Good Morning Melbourne etc.), replaced with the concept of "Til Ten" (which ended in 1992) and second was the loss of network Saturday Night stalwart Young Talent Time in January. Then ratings season started, and a decline in ratings, (especially off a Olympic year the previous year) forced some changes to be made, and Bob Shanks (a American) was recruited to refurbish the networks image.

10 TV Australia: The lineup.
What Bob Shanks tried to do, was tentpeg Ten's schedule with of all things, gameshows. Some were old concepts revived (Price Is Right, Superquiz) one was a new "futuristic (for 1989)" concept, (The Great TV Game Show), And one was a experiment (Family Double Dare, a primetime adaptation of kids afternoon gameshow Double Dare). All flopped, and were shelved eventually,Ten News became Eyewitness News again, before becoming Ten Evening News in 1990. But bigger news was to come, with the network ending up in recievership in 1990, with major job cuts, and planning began of sales of Ten's production facilities in Sydney and Melbourne, with a move into smaller facilities closer to their respective CBD's. Eventually the mess ended in 1991, when the TV Australia ID's (the branding was dropped months prior) was dropped, and became "The Entertainment Network" as a 16-39 (in other words, aiming for the youth demographic) friendly broadcaster.

"Look, Youv'e got a friend on Ten": pre TV Australia launch promo.

10 TV Australia ID-Brisbane

10 TV Australia ID-Adelaide

10 TV Australia ID-Capital

10 TV Australia ID-Melbourne (with Neighbours promo)

1990 ADS-10 closedown

1989 Eyewitness News opener

1990 Ten Evening News opener

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I remember thinking what a disaster it was going to be when the X logo was removed (my favourite station logo of all time) and in only a few months was proven correct. Interesting that we never hear of Mr Shanks much these days.