Just a week after Seven announced it was to launch a new male-focused digital channel 7mate, Ten has announced its next ‘distinctly youthful’ digital channel – Eleven, which will see a joint venture with CBS Studios to provide the content.
As part of the move, cartoon series The Simpsons, a longtime stalwart of Ten programming and Neighbours, will both move across to Eleven.
Announcing the deal with CBS Studios International, Ten said: “Eleven will also become the exclusive free-to-air home of the iconic The Simpsons.”
While CBS Studios will not be a co-owner of the channel itself, which would probably not be permissible under the current free TV regulations, Ten and CBS have created a content JV – ElevenCo Pty Ltd. This offering will be owned two-thirds by Ten and one-third by CBS Studios.The two companies have also extended their existing output deal which already sees CBS output such as NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Rules of Engagement, Medium, The Good Wife and Hawaii Five-0 appearing on Ten.
Ten programming boss David Mott discussed his strategies for the channel with Mumbrella earlier this month:
Eleven’s content will include new episodes of Futurama, The Cleveland Show, Supernatural, Stargate, Dexter, Smallville, The Office, Nurse Jackie and 90210.
CBS archive content that Eleven will draw on will include Everybody Loves Raymond, Sex and the City, JAG, Frasier, Judging Amy, Happy Days and MacGyver.
The move appears to be a defensive one to shore up Ten’s valuable younger demographic, rather than a more aggressive move to drive the network into wider demographics thanks to the success of Masterchef.
One thing missing from the announcment was any reference to Big Brother. There has been continuing speculation within the TV production community that it would form a part of Ten’s plans for its new channel.
With the move of Neighbours from Ten, the network will introduce a national news show at 6pm, followed by local news at 6.30pm.
Mott said: “Neighbours is an important and cherished member of the Network Ten family. “We believe Neighbours is perfectly suited to Eleven’s audience strategy and will find a successful and enduring home on Eleven. We will round out the first 25 years with a bang, and give Australia’s most successful drama a new home to keep it vibrant in the schedule for the next 25.”
Unlike 7mate which launches next month, Eleven will not be on air until early next year. Unlike 7mate it will be in standard definition rather than high definition. Ten’s digital sports channel One is already in HD.
Network Ten CEO Grant Blackley said:
“CBS Studios is a leading producer of quality programming for the global marketplace. In addition to its successful pipeline of content to the CBS network, which has been the lead network in the US for the last 8 out of 10 years, CBS produces content for the youth-targeted network, the CW. Our established output deal with CBS has been long and fruitful, delivering hits such as NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Rules of Engagement, Medium, The Good Wife and the much-anticipated Hawaii Five-0 to Australian audiences.”
He added: “Eleven will deliver a distinct destination for Australian consumers and advertisers. The channel’s ‘distinctly youthful’ focus will be well suited to fostering a strong level of online community and social media engagement, and the format will provide opportunities for a high level of sponsor integration – such as segment and program hostings.”
CBS Studios International President Armando Nuñez said: “This new venture is an extension of our international strategy to match CBS’s globally popular content with best-in-class partners – for both establishing new ventures, as well as licensing our shows.”