This week Ten placed itself in voluntary administration. It might be the beginning of the end for commercial television as viewers increasingly prefer to download their favourite programs and watch at a time that suits them. This is a global issue and reflects a rapid expansion in the number of channels and a corresponding decline quality. In the week ending 04 June only the Manchester concert got more than 10 million viewers in the UK. Last year 49 of the 50 most watched programs in the US were sports or current affairs.
This is bad news for aspiring writers. Production companies will not risk an unknown talent, without a guaranteed audience to justify the increasing costs of making television. The BBC recently commissioned some new drama but they are funded by taxpayers. Commercial channels rely on advertising revenue and advertisers who paid a premium to reach ten million will negotiate reductions for exposure to four million.
Fewer customers, more competition, reduced quality, higher costs and less revenue. Factors that led to Ten’s demise and now threaten the entire industry but does anyone care? When we stream a guaranteed source of entertainment tonight, will we really miss the frequent repeats and inane reality shows, punctuated by annoying adverts, offered by Ten and their ilk?