Nine, Seven roll out new catch-up plans

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Seven and Nine have now started playing the catch-up game against Network Ten, and the two public broadcasters (ABC and SBS), as both will bring out new digital video plans that could potentially see your internet download cap dwindle.

This comes with news from Network Ten as its MasterChef Australia program has served up 5.2 million views for its full episodes and clips as the competition heats up in its final two weeks. Ten has also offered the first episode of the next season of its locally produced drama Rush online before it goes to air this month.

Talking to The Australian, Ten’s head of Digital Nick Spooner has said that the network was also looking to add online content for shows, like the new 7PM Project, to keep viewers and advertisers on its website, and was not looking in making it a youth portal.

Seven has quietly announced last week that its local programs, Packed to the Rafters, Home and Away and All Saints will be streamed online. For Victorian users, you will be able to see the first episode of Packed to the Rafters before it hits the air, after Seven rearranged their schedules for Melbourne to bring two episodes of All Saints last week and will air the first two episodes this week.

The three programs will join the other three shows that it has episodes online – Heroes, 30 Rock and Lipstick Jungle. Seven is said to increase the number of shows that you can view, but it depends on the negations with the studios.

Nine, however, is set to relaunch its video portal within ninemsn, and that it would make its new locally-produced drama, Rescue Special Ops, available for download on its website. Chief Executive David Gyngell, speaking to The Australian, has also said that it had an advantage as it had the rights to post the episodes of Warner Bros-produced shows online for 28 days, but this contract does not start until 2011.

Programming on its new video portal is set to mainly include content from its News and Current Affairs shows, including the entire Today Show program and its 6PM state news bulletins, in addition with news bulletins exclusively produced for the web.

It will also include up to 15 other content providers, including MTV, Lonely Planet and National Geographic to put video content online on its new video portal. LG has been announced to be the launch advertiser, while the technology has been based on the Bing search engine, which is the rebranded Windows Live Search.

Seven and Nine’s digital plans are in addition to the new digital channels they will be launching soon for Freeview – but no word on what will they contain, or their name.

The only criticism Nine and Seven, however, is that their video portals are either hard to find (in Nine’s case), or that is borderline unusable. Seven has this weird obsession that you should only see 4 videos at the time, then reload the page (not in the AJAX fashion) – even if you still have a video playing. Nine, however, pushes the video on the right hand side, and not in the middle (this is set to change, however, because of the relaunch).

While this is what ticks me off, since Nine and Seven are the top two networks in Australia, its happy to see them embrace and increase the number of content online in video format.

Updated 1:05PM: Includes additional information on Nine’s new video portal.