Commercial Network Websites

While we took our one week break, and probably to keep up with their self-imposed February deadline, Channel 10 launched their new and much anticipated website. I wanted to mention this on the show this week but we ran out of time.

The short review would be “same shit, different shape” but I thought I’d take this time to look at and compare the websites of all three commercial networks.

I’m basing my comments here on the sites, and

Firstly, let’s talk about what you want from a network’s website. Show information? Tonight’s viewing lineup? Competition information? Annoyingly loud flash-embedded video previews of upcoming shows which start automatically and scare the shit out of you?

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to get to the front page of a TV network’s website and be able to confirm what time my favourite show is going to be on tonight. On Seven it’s some clicks and scrolls away. On the Nine website you have to think that maybe it will be in the entertainment section and then you find that you’re suddenly on the TV Week website and then you still have to click and scroll before you find what you want. Meanwhile the Ten website has the guide just one click away. This sounds good but it’s not. When you get there the guide is actually difficult to use.

This example just adds more fuel to the argument that the networks really don’t understand their audience. Both Nine and Seven have partnerships with internet companies for their websites. At least if you put into your browser you get to some Channel 7 content but Nine are just being right-royally screwed by their ninemsn partnership. If a viewer is going to a network’s website it could be for any number of reasons but surely one of them is to find out some information about the network. That might be a program guide or some information about one its shows.

Ten have got this half right with their new site but when they’re spending as much money as they are on “web presence” they should get it all right.

Network executives have got to realise that the world has changed and they can no longer force habits on their audience. There is too much choice out there to not give them what they want from the start. A little bit of market research goes a long way on the internet and TV networks have an opportunity to build some brand-loyalty but instead they just see fit to piss it up a wall.

Give me a reason to stop watching TV shows through other avenues and I’ll do it, but sitting me in front of a station promo while rubbing a cheese-grater across my face isn’t going to work. I’m just going to get pissed off.


  1. I agree about the Nine/MSN sight – the only one I have bothered to look at much. I long ago gave up trying to find any relevant info about the actual channel on the sight. They should at least have easily to find mail address, phone and email, but they have nothing like that.

    Does anybody actually use these sights to find out info about anything? Obviously we should and would if they were better, but I wouldn’t even consider it. The only reason I can possibly think I would bother is maybe to get the Lost clues (even though the episodes they relate to are somewhat behind where I am up to).

  2. I’ve been browsing the Channel 10 site recently. No real links to shows, unless they are a big big name show. The forums are a bit of a joke, they have a big forum for Jericho (even saying they would ask the stars questions) but no one there to let people know when the series is coming back. Channel 10 needs a way to communicate with its viewers in a way so that any questions about series could be answered (I’m wondering if we will see Battlestar Galactica S3).

    I also had a laugh at Channel 7’s Hero’s website, its pretty well useless compared to the blog/comics on the US version. Its a shame they can mirror that website where it was at the same time as the episode they were showing (ala if they are showing Ep 6 then its the same as the US site when it was at Ep 6).

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