James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch caused a stir last year when they took over Oz's third-ranking network, Ten, in a share raid snaring them 18% of the web, not least because Packer had only recently sold out of his family's long-held free web Nine Network. The pair have since ousted the board and begun a review of Ten's strategy in an attempt to get value back into the web.
Five years ago, Ten may have still ranked third but it was running a lean ship with cheap, youth-skewed content to attract advertisers keen to target the young.
Then the Aussie government introduced multi-channeling, that allowed the three major webs (Seven, Nine and Ten) and the two pubcasters (SBS and ABC) to introduce up to two separate digital channels. Nine and Seven used the opportunity to lower their demo and undermine Ten's aud. Ten, however, took the odd step of starting a sports channel called One that lifted costs. It then launched Eleven with the Eye web that took a lot of the youth programming off the main channel, which then chose to increase its news service, another expensive move. Before long, Ten was not only garnering low ratings, but it was also in the red.
Enter Murdoch and Packer, with a plan to return the channel to profitability -- but all has not gone their way.
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