Seven Network claims successful test launch of digital channel

By Ian Neubauer

SYDNEY: The Seven Network told Current.com.au today its new digital high-definition channel received a positive public response. The channel was launched under a ‘breakaway’ or limited primetime schedule on Monday with a complete schedule to be unveiled in weeks.

“The response from viewers that have been able to select the channel has been terrific,” said Seven Media Group director of corporate development, Simon Francis. “The breakaway program seems to be striking a chord.

“From our perspective this is a first step,” he said. “We will be looking at the response and fine tuning it for the launch of the 24-hour channel in December.”

The market for HDTV is primed for growth. A significant number of consumers are planning to buy a HDTV according to a national Newspoll study commissioned by Samsung. The Newspoll study was conducted by telephone in April 2007 among a representative sample 1203 respondents aged 18 years and over.

“Newspoll’s annual 2007 HD and Full HD Study commissioned by Samsung highlights that a substantial 23 percent of consumers say they plan to purchase an HDTV in the near future,” said Samsung’s general manager – AV, Mark Beard.

“Combining this increased intention to buy with free-to-air TV stations launching dedicated HD breakaway channels, there hasn’t been a better time for consumers to embrace HD TV,” Beard added.

“With a variety of HD content becoming instantly accessible from TV stations, consumers can really begin to further realise HD TV’s benefits of dramatically improved picture and sound quality.

“Samsung launched an HD TV educational website in May that has already generated more than 240,000 page views, further supporting the notion that consumers want to learn more about HD technology.” (See: http://www.samsung.com/au/hdtv)

The Seven network claimed initial feedback from advertisers has also been positive, with excitement generated by the new opportunities promised by the medium.

“We are looking at the way we pitch to advertisers not just as a distinct high-definition multi-channel but also to target different forms of advertising,” Francis said. “Not just 30 second spots but more like extended advertising. It’s a broader package of ideas and plans — much of it built around TiVo and the interactivity it will provide. We will be able to connect one-on-one with viewers.”

TiVo is the creator of and leader in digital video recorders, a yet-to-be released digital appliance that automatically finds and records selected programmes. The Seven Network described in a press release its partnership with TiVo as a “key element in our future in digital television” that “unites the strength of broadcast television and internationally recognised technology to develop a market-leading electronic programme guide for television, automatic recording and scheduling … and the introduction of new forms of content.”

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