Even though the date has been bandied around for a while now – including a mention on a recent Ten News report – it seems Network Ten’s long-awaited digital channel, 11, has only now confirmed its launch date.
On their Twitter page, eleven_tv proclaims:
“It's finally confirmed! We will be launching on 11/1/11 - Exciting stuff!”
At least that’s assumed to be the date for Ten’s Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth outlets. There is still no confirmation or advice regarding the channel being launched in regional areas on Southern Cross Ten, Ten Mildura, Tasmanian Digital Television or Darwin Digital Television.
11 promises to be Ten’s new home for youth-focused entertainment – the target age group is 13-29 year olds – with its evening line-up headlined by The Simpsons and Neighbours. Both programs will be exclusively on 11 – something that’s a sore point with regional viewers frustrated at the aforementioned lack of a local launch date.
The channel’s future, months before it even launched, has been the subject of much media speculation following the surprise investment in Network Ten by James Packer. Although some commentators suggested that Packer’s investment was a sign of confidence that Ten was headed for some good returns with its multi-channel and news strategy, others have been less optimistic and have suggested that Packer only intends to tear down 11, sports channel One HD and Ten’s expansion of its news portfolio, and turn Ten back into a cut-price, no-frills network.
Of course, there has been no public statement from Packer as to his intentions – and in any case he is not set to get a seat on the Ten board until after the company’s AGM next month – but at this point it seems Ten is pressing ahead - ‘business as usual’ – with its plans, regardless of the speculation.