New digital channels challenging cable

GO!, ABC2 and 7TWO are already pulling bigger crowds than Pay TV.

Until recently, Pay Television has had a pretty good ride in the Australian television market. Roughly speaking it is now in around 30 per cent of Australian homes, and seen by around 40 per cent of the population.

But with the advent of digital channels it has more competition. Digital uptake has been around 50 per cent of Australian viewers, and without the subscription fees, they are liking what they see. With the arrival of GO! and now 7TWO, TV shows on digital television are out-rating those on Pay TV.

On Monday night The Vampire Diaries took 148,000 viewers on GO! in its first screening. It was followed by titles including Doctor Who, Bewitched, Category 7: The End of the World, Junkyard Wars, Seinfeld, Play School and Frasier.

Landing at number nine was Pay TV's top show on Monday, The Simpsons, with 78,000 viewers. Grand Designs was its next best at 75,000. The new series The Contender Australia clocked in at 50,000.

On Tuesday it was a similar story. A Seinfeld repeat on GO! was best at 134,000 followed by Ugly Betty on 7TWO with 127,000. The best Pay TV could attract was a Fox Classics movie The Longest Day at 80,000.

TEN's new sports channel ONE picks up its biggest audiences on the weekend. Last week its Formula One Pre-Race pulled 106,000 viewers. Its NRL Replay had a more modest weekday figure of 30,000 yesterday, but TEN insists its overall audience is still ahead of Pay TV's sports channels.

ABC2 is a regular winner in the market with shows such as Scrapheap Challenge and Junkyard Wars consistently sitting near the top of digital rankings. Its SBS cousin SBS TWO trails a long way behind with Euro-soap 112 Emergency the more popular title.

So far it is Wipeout Australia and The Big Bang Theory on GO! that is out in front, but 7TWO is here to challenge with broad entertainment that offers alternatives to Pay TV subscriptions.

From Sunday, Pay TV steps up the contest, with 12 new channels, 10 new digital channels and eight new time-shift channels.

What about you? Are you watching more and more shows on digital channels? Comment below or discuss this topic in the forum now!

Figures are quoted from OzTAM, the official source of television ratings for all metropolitan TV and nationally for Subscription TV.

Comments (6)
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the last thing they need to do is get HD versions for ALL digital channels and it'll rule. They could put TenHD on 11 and put HD versions of digital channels on any other numbers.

Go! is mostly trash, but huge amounts of fantastic show like Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory is enough to make it rank way up there.
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I've always liked abc2 and don't have foxtel or anything so the new digital channels are cool.
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Ah Fox. I just dropped the Platinum package down to the basic and am just going to ride out the contract. What a piece of junk. Way way way overpriced (The entire product, every single channel available is a $39.95 a month product that the have the NERVE to charge $120 for which has been its problem from the start), the IQ is average, the channels poorly programmed (I'm sorry but Science Fiction does NOT consist entirely of endless Star Trek, Angel and Buffy repeats with the odd ep of The Dead Zone thrown in... I could program a better channel from my DVD collection!) and the sports coverage for NFL, the only reason I got the sports channels is dismissive at best with ads running over plays and minimal games shown. However the ultimate in screw you, is the lack of proper delay for the west. I'm sorry, but if it says 8.30pm in my TV guide, it should be on at 8.30... at the moment 'prime time' is 5.30 and it's a pain to stuff about with the +2 channels. The new 'channels' are just a rehash of the same stuff, shuffled around to make more 'channels', there is nothing new there. I'm not suprised Fox is losing. You've lost me to FTA. Come on contract expiry.
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I love GO! but I am not fussed on 7Two the only thing I have watched on there was Magnum P.I. and 1 episode of That 70s show.
I hope 10 gets a digital channel like they used to have.
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I've watched pretty much every episode of WIPEOUT on GO since it started and not 1 single episode was an episode of WIPEOUT:AUSTRALIA, They were from what is presumably the latest version of the U.S. WIPEOUT and it wasn't until during the finale on Sunday that they even hinted at the possibility if a second season of WIPEOUT:AUSTRALIA when they ran the ad to say they were giving Aussie people the chance to fly to wherever the set is and film some episodes so the second season if it ever gets made probably won't air until late next year if ever! So far they seem content with double repeats of the US version.
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I think the digital channels are a waste of time. Pay TV still has a much more broad variety of options. You can watch what you want, when you want. There are so many categories. Furthermore, Fox Sports still has all the sport that I love, with a majority of the NRL and all the EPL. PayTV FTW!
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