Ten HD to dump HD content – moves to sport

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According to one Citigroup analyst talking to Smarthouse, the Ten Network has become the laughing stock of the entire television industry after announcing that it would be ditching its HD stream in favour of a 24-hour HD sports network. The new move will see shows like Rush, Neighbours, NCIS and Life no longer having a HD simulcast, and would also displace many of its shows that were shown on the HD channel only dumped.

The new plan has seen fans of the HD channel complaining on the forums of the Ten website, with one saying:

If Ten foolishly believe this plan will improve their ratings then they are sadly mistaken. TV viewers like myself that only watch FTA due to the HD quality will now only watch that programming through Foxtel or online torrents due to fewer ads. If there is no longer any advantage to watch that programming on Ten why will anyone bother when more convenient sources are available with fewer or no ads?

But this would ultimately make sense for Ten’s current line-up of sport for next year and beyond. It has the rights to NASCAR, Formula One, NFL in America, Australian Swimming, NBA Basketball, US Major League Baseball, Trans-Tasman Netball League, India’s IPL Twenty20 cricket matches, US Open golf and tennis championships, the World Golf Championship and the US Masters golf championships. As well, it has the rights for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.That’s a lot of sport for one network to broadcast on one channel.

While it would be better the channel to broadcast two HD channels, current regulations only allow the commercial stations to broadcast one HD multichannel, with another SD multitchannel allowed in 2009 – but this is expected to be relaxed when Australia has gone fully digital in 2013. And if the commercial stations were allowed to multichannel more than one HD channel – Ten would either need to reduce the quality of both HD channels to below 1080i (the highest resolution that terrestrial television can broadcast), or spend millions in upgrading their multiplex.

I’m still surprised that Ten hasn’t bothered thinking of just pushing all of its sports on the new SD channel. But hey, who said that television executives were smart in technology.