The Multichannels rinse and repeat test

43abcHow much new content is screened on our multichannels and how much are just repeats?

That’s the question that has been put under microscope today.

TV Tonight has assessed this week’s primetime schedules for each of our multichannels to get to the bottom of the rinse and repeat question.

And the results are in stark contrast to the ratings results.

ABC News 24 has come out on top as screening the most first-run content in primetime, with ever-popular channel GO! giving viewers the least.

ABC News 24 screened 71% new titles between 5pm – midnight this week followed by SBS 2 on 68% new titles.

ELEVEN had the most first-run titles for commercial networks at 49%.

At the other end of the scale GO! offered just 11% new titles despite it frequently topping multichannel ratings.

ABC NEWS 24: 71% score
81 new titles/ 114 total titles
Because this is a news channel, much of the cotnent is first run, with flashes of simulcast ABC1 content. Monday nights are especially fresh with 13 of 15 titles as first run ABC News 24 content.
Amongst the first-run channel titles are ABC News, ABC News Update, Capital Hill, The Drum, The Health Quarter, Grandstand, The Business, The World, Q&A, The Indigenous Quarter, The Arts Quarter, The Technology Quarter, ABC Open, The World This Week, News Exchange, Big Ideas, Big News Sampler.

2013-07-03_2315SBS 2: 68%
53 / 78
Newly-revamped SBS 2 has plenty of new, if somewhat obscure, content across diverse genres. Mondays are again the night for fresh content with 11 new titles of 14.
Amongst the channel titles are Cycling Central, World B-Boy Championships, Football Freestyler, Tour de France 2013 Extended Highlights, MXC, Shameless, Bang Goes the Theory, The Office, The Feed, Kill Arman, Never Ever Do This at Home, Human Giant, Ugly Americans, Russell Howard’s Good News, Departures, Fish Warrior, The Sex Show, Stacey Dooley, Threesome, The Life and Times of Tim, Skins, Morgan Spurlock’s New Britannia.

2013-07-03_2311ELEVEN: 49%
35 / 71
ELEVEN had no fresh content on Sunday but made up for it on Monday and Tuesday. Thursdays were light and Saturdays were rerun opportunities for Masterchef. But ELEVEN gets a tick for screening local drama in Neighbours.
Amongst the channel titles are Couch Time, Neighbours, Raising Hope, Dexter, Nurse Jackie, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, Rules Of Engagement, The New Normal, Beauty & The Beast, Geordie Shore, The Cleveland Show, The Office, So You Think You Can Dance, Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model, MasterChef Australia – Encore.

2013-07-03_2310ONE: 32%
21 / 66
ONE has a mix of sports and entertainment, including branded entertainment in late afternoon. Some content is also dated but first run on the channel.
Amongst the channel titles are What’s Up Down Under, I Fish, ET’s Fishing Classics, Diamond Divers, F1 Grand Prix, Frontiers Of Construction, Super Rugby Extra Time, 71 Degrees North, Blue Bloods, Persons Unknown, Fast Forward, Brand X With Russell Brand, Blokesworld, Would You Rather? With Graham Norton, Undercover Boss, Monster Jam.

2013-07-03_23097MATE: 27%
13 / 48
7mate is dominated by US content some of which has run on Pay TV. There were no new titles at all on Sunday and Saturday. AFL screens in some states.
Amongst the channel titles are Ultimate Factories, American Restoration, Family Guy, American Dad, Scare Tactics, Zoom TV, Hardcore Pawn, American Pickers, Take It All, Auction Kings, Operation Repo, Warehouse 13.

201twABC2: 25%
35  / 141
ABC2 has a versatile mix of Aussie and UK content including channel-commissioned titles like Good Game, The Roast, Shitsville Express, Dirty Laundry Live and scripted comedy twentysomething. Its total number of titles is high due to children’s interstitials in late arvos. There are also premiere children’s shows during daytime.
Amongst the channel titles are Bananas in Pyjamas, Mofy, Sunday Best, This American Life, The Roast, Doctor Who’s Greatest Moments, The Audience, Breaking Bad, Good Game, The Alternative Comedy Experience, Shitsville Express, Jewish Mum Of The Year, twentysomething, Mock The Week, Dirty Laundry Live, Grandma’s House, I’m Having Their Baby, Celebrity Rehab With Dr Drew, Funny As, Childrens Hospital.

2013-07-03_23077TWO: 23%
12 / 53
This week 7TWO is screening Wimbledon in primetime which means a reduced total in titles this week. It has a number of UK titles.
Amongst the channel titles are Homes Under The Hammer, Escape To The Country, Wimbledon 2013, Britain’s Empty Homes, Better Homes And Gardens, Seven’s V8 Supercars.

2013-07-03_2259GEM: 21%
11 / 53
GEM has movies and mostly US content. Next week it will add The Ashes cricket series. Some states screen NRL.
Amongst the channel titles are: Antiques Roadshow, Journey to the Bottom of the Ocean, Major Crimes, My Crazy Obsession, Animal Emergency, Planet Earth, Longmire.

2013-07-03_2257ABC3: 16%
11 / 68
ABC3 is disadvantaged in direct comparisons because it screens much of its first run content in daytimes and switches off earlier at 9pm. Next week it adds local drama Dance Academy.
Amongst the channel titles are Serious Explorers, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Weekend News On 3, News On 3, Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

GO!: 11%
6 / 53
Aside from one Australian movie GO!’s first-run content was all US comedies. On Monday, Tuesday and Friday it had no premieres. GO! needs to offer viewers better content.
Amongst the channel titles are The Middle, Suburgatory, and Mike & Molly.

The NITV guide did not distinguish repeat content and was therefore not included in this report.

A word on the methodology: The criteria of using “titles” for analysis was non-judgmental, meaning interstitials such as The Roast, The Couch, The Feed, ABC News Update, News on 3 were counted as single titles, as were shows that had previously aired on other channels such as MasterChef – Encore, Q & A, Russell Howard’s Good News, Planet Earth etc. Content may vary from state to state.


  1. I must say I’m glad for the extra channels (except for ME and Channel 94, the Home Shopping channels !)…

    Also, scary that our TV industry is being more and more automated – no cameramen for ABC News….

    I know it’s been around a while, but sad to see.

  2. @Smacca i didnt even think of the acronym. Completely agree with you there, having their main channel is SD & an alternate ch in HD seems ridiculous. Seems like ‘general entertainment’ is code for ‘stuff that they dumped from 9’ in some cases eg Major Crimes & Person of Interest. But then they put the Ashes on there when it would be way better to have it in HD on 9. Such a strange content mix, it would make more sense to have a central theme like 7mate for factual stuff, Go for the youth market etc.

  3. @tvaddict
    But they’re not meant to be an HD channel. They’re meant to be a General Entertainment and Movies (GEM) channel, but it just so happens they’re in HD too and will opt out for HD sports content when needed. I don’t approve of it at all as I think Nine should revert it back to Nine HD and change GEM to SD, but that obviously won’t be happening any time soon. My point is, it’s a channel designed and marketed for old content.

    @Pertinax @Grant
    They’re showing it on 7TWO because they’d rather retain 7 and 7mate programming throughout the tournament. Other sports like AFL and V8 Supercars are only on 7mate during the weekend and only take up a couple of hours each time they air.

  4. what i don’t understand is why Gem put on really ancient movies from the 1940-60’s at off peak times when they’re primarily supposed to be a HD content channel?? It wouldn’t be so bad if there were some popular titles, there are a few decent titles here & there but most are unknown crap. Surely the broadcast rights for some decent stuff from the 80’s & 90’s wouldn’t be too expensive??

  5. carolemorrissey

    Yeah, I read today about Revolution coming to 9 after showing on Foxtel. If they can show that, why can’t they show other shows after they have aired on Foxtel like the final Damages season, Pretty Little Liars and Magic City, I think that’s what it’s called.

  6. The commercial multi-channels are basically just run to generate more ad revenue, rather than give viewers more choice.

    Go and GEM could’ve had a bunch of decent content, but Nine onsell most HBO stuff to Foxtel, like The Newsroom, Game of Thrones, Shameless the US remake, Boardwalk Empire (which would’ve all been good fits for GEM) and shows that would’ve been good fits for Go – True Blood, Hart of Dixie, Gossip Girl, Nikita, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural (onsold to Ten), Revolution, The Carrie Diaries.

  7. There are some good shows on the Multis, you have to do a bit of digging sometimes to find them though.


    The Feed, Dirty Laundry, Marngrook, SBS Pop Asia, Good Game (all 3 variants), Sunday Best, Louis T, The Alt. Comedy Experience, Family Guy & American Dad (although having said that, they’re mysteriously absent from next Tue’s guide, but given 7’s treatment of them in the past, this year has been pretty good..), The Ashes from next Wed (Live HD sport on FTA, imagine that 😉 thanks 9/Gem).


    Various stand-up (currently Sat night ABC2 / most Wed nights on Go!), Chappelle’s Show & The Chaser late at random nights on 7Mate, Whose Line (reason enough to get an HD tuner if you don’t have one already) & Fast Forward on One Thu night.

  8. carolemorrissey

    I only found out by accident that GO were showing new episodes of Mike & Molly on Thursday nights. Don’t know how many weeks they were on before I noticed it. Glad I didn’t miss the wedding last week.

  9. @Grant
    While nearly every TV household has digital now, not all of them, and not every 2nd or 3rd TV has HD.

    72 gets higher audiences than Mate so more people will checkout what is on there. Most people don’t care about HD (my TV doesn’t do HD so it doesn’t make a difference) and those that do are unlikely to not watch a match they are interested in because it is in SD. They don’t want to disrupted their quality lineup for drunken males on Mate???

    To be honest I am surprised that Nine is putting the Ashes on Gem. It is probably because Go! is winning the secondary channel ratings for younger viewers, not because of the HD.

    • Stevie: Photo is Marc Fennell from The Feed. As the explanation at the bottom of story indicates I didn’t make judgements about what constitutes first-run, as it is open to wide interpretation. So the rule of thumb was the word “Rpt” in each guide. Masterchef Encore is first run on ELEVEN even though it has already played on TEN. Similarly, ELEVEN has latest eps of The Office, while SBS 2 is screening earlier seasons as a first-run on their channel.

  10. Where’s the incentive for programmers to schedule fresh content on GO! or 7TWO when the recycled stuff rates so well? Blame the audience, not the networks for the endless re-runs on multi-channels.

  11. Commercial networks are trying to make money. Good stuff rates worse than repeats of popular shows on secondary channels and the repeats are cheaper.

    Nine has an expensive deal with Warner that appears to cover all WB content and unlimited repeats so the marginal cost of WB shows is zero for them.

    Nine is also trying to keep a good balance sheet for listing on the stock market and will have to borrow to fund acquisitions like WIN Perth.

  12. Excellent article and a bot of work there, so thank you David. I really don’t understand, with all the content they have access too, that the channels and their multi channels don’t have more set line ups, really establish nights of the week as comedy, drama, reality and stick to it so we can find our shows!

  13. LeonBradley

    This report confirms what i already knew, the FTA are not taking Multichanneling Seriously.

    ..we wan’t new stuff, not crap we’ve seen over and over and over again on the digital channels!

    no wonder more people are signing upto PayTV!

  14. I like having shows repeated on the multi-channels. I watch the Masterchef encore on Saturday nights.

    I do enjoy ELEVEN’s current Friday night line up of SYTYCD and BINTM. Saying that their daytime line up needs a major shake up and new shows!

  15. I don’t understand why the networks elected to open up all these extra channels – do they make money out of them? I rarely watch any of them except for the odd movie – I saw most of their stuff the first time around and have no wish to revisit ancient British comedies et al. Or ridiculous shows featuring American good ol’ boys.

    Their presentation is dreadful, obviously run by computers, crashing in and out of commercial breaks and programs, with little finesse. I view most of the commercial ones a waste of time.

  16. I personally cannot stand GO! All of their movies are recycled every few months. And when they do decide to add fresh content, it usually disappears in favour of more Big Bang Theory or a recycled movie. Why not make GO! the home for new episodes of Two and a Half Men, Top Gear, 2 Broke Girls, Mike and Molly – these never seem accommodated for on the main channel.

  17. While you’re talking about multichannels David, and forgive me if this has been brought up before, but has anyone got a reason from channel 7 why they show Wimbledon in SD on 7two?

    What makes 10x more annoying is that while 7two is showing Wimbledon in SD, 7mate is showing rubbish like Swamp People, Auction Kings, Hardcore Pawn etc etc.

    Is it a money thing? Surely they could show the normal 7mate programming on 7two for two weeks and let us watch Wimbledon in the native HD that everyone else in the world can enjoy?

    I would Love to hear what Seven’s official response is to this because I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s asking this question. There was a great letter in the Green Guide last week about it too…

  18. Pretty much what I thought. I think the newly re-branded SBS2 has a lot of great content, and deserves a much bigger share compared to GO!/7TWO.

    @tomothyd – Russell Howard plays on Comedy Channel on Foxtel. I’m pretty sure that SBS2 is it’s only Free to Air home though…

  19. HardcorePrawn

    It’ll be interesting to find out, but probably tricky to analyse, just how much of the repeat content has been shown multiple times too.
    I’d imagine that GO would come out bottom of that list.
    My son loves Thunderbirds, but has lost interest as GO appear to only broadcast the same 5 or 6 episodes over and over again.
    And the Scooby Doo animated movies seem to be scheduled more often than Ten broadcast The Devil Wears Prada!

  20. This is exactly what I was thinking about earlier this week. There is so little new content on the multichannels, especially on GO! and often 7TWO, made up of reruns of shows we saw on ABC1 during the 90’s and early 2000’s. I can only think of three multichannel shows I’ll be watching this week.

    You mentioned Russell Howard’s Good News has aired on other channels.. What other channel has it been on except SBS2?

  21. I’ve noticed that GEM/GO movies have a 6 month turnaround – and just about all their shows are from their deal with Warner.

    Guess that’s the real reason 9 dumped DaysOOL. – that’s a Sony product.

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