The 10 network has made the decision to utisile the summer non-ratings period to test extending its evening news bulletin to 90 minutes.
The surprise decision, which was first reported today by the website TVTonight, will come into effect from Monday.
The decision will see 10 News First compete against top rating rivals Seven and Nine for the first time since 2011. It will also mean the network is now broadcasting consistent news and current affairs content from 5pm until 7:30pm.
A spokesperson for 10 explained the decision telling TV Blackbox;
“We have decided to take the opportunity of changes to the commercial news landscape along with an intense news cycle to better serve our audiences by offering a quality extended local news service in all states.
This is a trial and in the meantime Celebrity Name Game will play on 10 Bold.”
It’s a programming move that will divide opinion, including us in the TV Blackbox office. Podcast host and co-owner of this website, Robert McKnight is not a supporter of the move:
“Every bit of research I’ve seen over the years suggests viewers who watch 10 News at 5pm then switch to seven or nine at 6pm. When ten last tried news at 6pm, that trend continued and didn’t change the landscape at all.
These viewers don’t want the same stories told the same way; they want to see how other networks are covering them. While 10 have to try something with the timeslot, I would suggest a rebooted Blankety Blanks would at least provide a point of difference, but it would need to be outrageous and funny.
Ten need to take a bold gamble if they want 6pm to work, what they have delivered so far has been too safe.”
Personally, I disagree with my colleague. This is a move 10 should have a long time ago. News, Sport and Event TV are the only things that drive viewers to FTA anymore. CBS is a strong news brand, and they need to bring that experience and investment to Australia if the network is going to have a long term future.
10 News First is a respected brand, full of many talented reporters, producing impressive content on a shoestring budget. Personally, I would like to see the network incorporate a 20 minute local Sports Tonight segment into the bulletin, commencing at 5:50pm. An increased investment in Political coverage is also required.