Network 10 (commonly known as Channel 10 or simply 10) is an Australian commercial television network. One of five national free-to-air networks, 10’s owned-and-operated stations can be found in the state capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, while affiliates extend the network to regional areas of the country. The network is owned by Ten Network Holdings, a subsidiary of CBS Studios International.
The network was originally formed as the Independent Television System, after the Australian government began to issue licenses for a third commercial television channel in each state capital city; its first stations signed on in 1964 and 1965. In reference to the stations’ channel numbers being either 0 or 10, it was later branded as the 0/10 Network, but was accordingly renamed Network Ten in 1980 after the stations on channel 0 began moving to 10.
The network struggled at the turn of the 1990s; Network Ten was liquidated in 1991, and its flagship stations were sold to Canadian media company Canwest the following year. Under Canwest, the network began to increasingly target a younger adult audience. In the 2000s, Network Ten achieved ratings successes with reality programs such as Australian Idol and Big Brother, and later MasterChef Australia, and finished second among Australia’s television networks in metropolitan viewership in 2004.
In September 2009, Canwest sold its stake in the network due to Canwest’s increasing debt. Facing declining viewership, the network had its own financial difficulties in the 2010s. In 2017, three of Ten’s major shareholders refused to be guarantors of a required $250 million loan, sending the network into administration. Two of the shareholders attempted to acquire the entire network, but it was Ten’s largest creditor, the US media conglomerate CBS Corporation, that ultimately emerged as its new owner.
From the introduction of TV in 1956 until 1965 there were only two commercial television networks in Australia, the National Television Network (now the Nine Network) and the Australian Television Network (now the Seven Network), as well as the public Australian Broadcasting Commission. In the early 1960s, the Australian Government began canvassing the idea of licensing a third commercial television station in each capital city. This decision was seen by some as a way for the government to defuse growing public dissatisfaction with the dominance of imported overseas programming and the paucity of local content. The first of these “third” licences was granted to United Telecasters Sydney was granted on 4 April 1963.
Structurally, the Australian television industry was closely modelled on the two-tiered system that had been in place in Australian radio since the late 1930s. One tier consisted of a network of publicly funded television stations run by the ABC, which was funded by government budget allocation and (until 1972) by fees from television viewer licences. The second tier consisted of the commercial networks and independent stations owned by private operators, whose income came from selling advertising time.
The network was launched as ATV-0 in Melbourne opened on 1 August 1964 and was owned by the Ansett transport and media group, which at the time owned one of Australia’s two domestic airlines. TEN-10 in Sydney, which opened on 5 April 1965, was originally owned by United Telecasters Sydney Ltd (UTSL), which also in July that year opened TVQ-0 in Brisbane, Queensland. Also opened later that month was SAS-10, serving the city of Adelaide in South Australia.
The new television network was initially dubbed the “Independent Television System” or ITS, but in 1970 adopted the title “The 0/10 Network”, which reflected the names of the first two stations launched in the group, ATV and TEN.
Melbourne’s ATV was the first station of the network to stage colour broadcasts in 1967, the broadcast was that of the Pakenham races which was seen by network and RCA executives and invited members of the media and press. This would the first of many test colour telecasts for the station, and in tribute to this event, the 0-10 Network adopted the First in Color slogan in 1974, within months before 1 March 1975 transition to colour broadcasting.
1970–1988: Expansion and original run
For its first five years, the 0/10 Network led a hand-to-mouth existence. By the beginning of the 1970s the network was in a precarious financial position and there were predictions that it would fail.
In 1971, the 0/10 Network first aired Young Talent Time, which was a huge ratings success, and ran for 17 years.
However, the network’s true financial reprise came about due to the controversial adult soap opera serial Number 96, which premiered in March 1972 on the night that “Australian TV lost its virginity”. The series broke new ground for Australian television and captured the imagination of viewers like few programs before or since. For the next three years it was consistently Australia’s top-rating television program and, not surprisingly, its huge popularity attracted advertisers to Ten en masse, with the result that its revenue increased significantly from A$1 million in 1971 to more than A$10 million in 1972.
However, the pattern of ratings dominance was already set, and for most of the next five decades from the mid-1960s there was little deviation from the prevalent rankings, with the Nine Network typically in first place, the Seven Network second, 0/10 third and ABC fourth.
The gradual evolution of Network Ten into its current form has its origins in the ongoing attempts by media mogul Rupert Murdoch to acquire a prized commercial television licence in Australia’s largest capital city market, Sydney. This began when Murdoch’s News Limited purchased the Wollongong station WIN Television in the early 1960s, around the same time he bought Festival Records. In 1977, frustrated by regulatory blocks that prevented him from expanding into the Sydney market, Murdoch sold WIN and purchased a 46% share in Ten Sydney.
In 1979, Murdoch made an unsuccessful takeover bid for the Melbourne-based The Herald and Weekly Times media group, which originally owned HSV-7. Although the bid failed, he gained a 50% stake in Ansett, which thus gave him control of channel 0 in Melbourne.
In 1979, 0/10 first aired the soap opera Prisoner, which was a huge ratings success.
On 20 January 1980, the 0/10 Network became known as Network Ten to reflect ATV moving from channel 0 to channel 10 – although the Brisbane station continued to broadcast as TVQ-0 until 10 September 1988 when the station changed to TVQ-10. In 1987 Adelaide’s Network Ten affiliate (SAS-10) and Seven Network affiliate (ADS-7) successfully negotiated to exchange affiliation rights and channel frequencies due to ownership problems. On 27 December 1987, the exchange came into effect and ADS-7, owned by the same owners as the main Network Ten stations, became ADS-10 with SAS-10 converting to SAS-7, operated by TVW-7 in Perth.
When Murdoch became an American citizen in 1985 so that he could expand his media empire in the United States, Australia’s media ownership laws obliged him to dispose of the flagship television stations, which were sold to The Northern Star, an offshoot of the Westfield Group conglomerate controlled by property tycoon Frank Lowy. However, Westfield was badly hit by the stock market crash of 1987, and in 1989 sold Network Ten to a consortium led by Charles Curran and former television journalist Steve Cosser.
The network became fully national in 1988 with the launch of NEW-10 in Perth, after the introduction of satellite facilities made it economical for the network to broadcast to Western Australia. Northern Star officially took hold of TVQ-10 later in the year because of swapping frequencies with neighbouring DDQ-0 in Toowoomba and rebranded CTC Canberra under the network banner in time for aggregation.
1989–1994: Receivership and relaunch
In 1989, Ten’s ratings were in decline, so on 23 July 1989, recently recruited network boss Bob Shanks relaunched the network and introduced several new programs, including four new prime time game shows. However, by the end of 1989 the ratings had failed to improve and most of the new programs were cancelled, except for its Eyewitness News newscasts, Neighbours and E Street (debuting in late 1988).
Meanwhile, owners Northern Star Holdings were having financial and regulatory problems. The company was subject to an inquiry by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal in relation to media ownership rules and had run into financial difficulties following the 1987 stock market crash two years earlier. On 1 September 1989, Northern Star Holdings announced a major restructure to pay off debts and help restore profitability. The proposals included selling off the network’s three smaller stations; ADS Adelaide, NEW Perth and CTC Canberra to Charles Curran’s Capital Television Group. The sale was complete on 27 October 1989, effectively splitting Northern Star’s Network Ten in half.
In September 1990, Northern Star filed for receivership and in January 1991 Ten was relaunched yet again with the first version of its famous ten watermark logo. The network entered liquidation in May 1991. In 1992, the network’s flagship stations were sold to the Canadian-based Canwest media group, which held a controlling stake in the network until 2009. Also in 1992, the network commenced a strategy of targeting younger audiences. The Adelaide and Perth stations were re-acquired by the network in 1995.
With the network having financially recovered, Ten Network Holdings floated on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1998. At this time, Ten had affiliate broadcasting agreements with Southern Cross Broadcasting in southern New South Wales, regional Victoria and Tasmania, and with Telecasters Australia in northern New South Wales and regional Queensland.
1995–2007: Recovery and success
In 2001, Ten opened its doors to the Big Brother Australia house and with it reality television, the opening night of Big Brother became the most watched programs of the night. The trend was then followed by launching the Australian version of reality singing competition format Idols called Australian Idol in 2003. Australian Idol was a hit for several years, lasting until 2009.
In 2004, Network Ten enjoyed its best year since the 1970s, winning two ratings weeks (out of 40) and finishing second nationally only behind the Nine Network and well ahead of the Seven Network. This was a departure from previous years, in which it typically places third behind Nine and Seven in most other ratings years since 2000.
In 2005, Canwest was in discussions with newspaper publisher John Fairfax Holdings about a possible sale of the network, after the federal government indicated it may consider relaxing Australia’s media cross-ownership laws. Previously, newspaper owners could not own television stations in the same city. Fairfax owned the Seven Network until 1988, and had been looking for a way back into television for a long time.
On 21 August 2005, the network celebrated its 40th birthday with a two-hour highlights package called Ten: Seriously 40, which was hosted by Bert Newton and Rove McManus.
On 27 October 2005, Network Ten announced that its long-running morning talk-variety program Good Morning Australia would be cancelled at the end of the year after a fourteen-year run. This ended Newtons 14 year association with Network Ten , although he was offered ongoing employment with the network, he announced that he would be returning to the Nine Network. 9am with David & Kim replaced GMA as Ten morning Program from 2006 – 2009.
From 2006 to 2008, Ten was the official broadcaster of Sydney New Year’s Eve. The rights returned to the Nine Network from 2009.
On 7 August 2007, Network Ten and Foxtel signed a new agreement allowing Ten’s digital signal to be transmitted via Foxtel’s cable and satellite services. Prior to this, Ten was only transmitted via cable on Foxtel in an analogue format and Austar in standard definition digital via Mystar. Similarly in October 2007, Network Ten and Optus announced that Ten’s digital signal would be available on its cable network from 1 December 2007.
On 16 December 2007, Ten HD was officially launched as a breakaway channel, becoming the first new commercial television channel in metropolitan areas of Australia since 1988. Ten HD ceased broadcasting on 25 March 2009 when it was replaced by what was a sports-only High Definition channel, One HD.
2009–2015: Canwest sale, multichannels launch
On 24 September 2009, Canwest announced that it was selling its 50.1% stake in Ten Network Holdings for A$680 million, to pay down its significant debt. In late 2009, Canwest filed for creditor bankruptcy protection, due to C$4 billion mounting debt across radio, television broadcasting and publishing assets in several countries.
On 20 October 2010, four years after he sold shares in PBL Media to private equity firm CVC Asia Pacific, James Packer purchased 16 per cent of Ten.
Network Ten launched a new digital channel, Eleven, on 11 January 2011. The channel is aimed at a “distinctly youthful” audience between the ages of 13 and 29. Neighbours and The Simpsons were high-profile programs migrating from Ten to the new channel. The channel was a joint venture with CBS Studios International, which owned a 33% stake.
On 8 May 2011, Ten relaunched its sports based channel One, with general entertainment programming aimed at males taking over the schedule. It is aimed at a similar audience to 7mate.
In 2012, Ten unsuccessfully launched many new programs. This led to Ten’s ratings dropping to fourth place behind ABC for over thirty straight nights. The poor performance resulted in Chief Programming Officer David Mott’s resignation.
In late 2012, Ten reported a loss of $12.9m as it battled poor advertising markets and failed to hold larger audience numbers. They made positions at the station redundant and said that production may become centralised.
Analog broadcasts ceased on 10 December 2013.
On 15 June 2015, Foxtel (co-owned by News Corp) bought 15% shares in Ten Network Holdings, pending the approval from the ACCC. Prior to the acquisition, Discovery backed out from bidding partnership with Foxtel. In July 2015, Paul Anderson was announced as the new Chief Executive Officer.
2016–2017: New affiliation and financial troubles
A high definition simulcast of Ten was revived on 2 March 2016. As a result, One began broadcasting in standard definition only.
On 29 April 2016, the Nine Network pulled its regional affiliation with WIN Television over a lawsuit involving its catch-up service 9Now, and announced a new affiliation agreement with Southern Cross Austereo, Ten’s then-primary regional affiliate. Ten subsequently negotiated a five-year affiliation deal with WIN; the new affiliations took effect on 1 July, with WIN becoming the carrier of Network Ten programming in regional Queensland, Northern NSW, Southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Gold Coast. WIN owner and Ten’s largest shareholder Bruce Gordon positioned himself to increase his ownership stake in Ten, subject to changes to media ownership laws being passed.
Following Ten Network Holdings reporting a $232 million half year loss, billionaire shareholders Lachlan Murdoch, Bruce Gordon and James Packer withdrew support for $250 million guaranteed loan that would help keep Ten out of receivership. This loan was intended to replace an existing guaranteed $200 million loan that expires in December. On 13 June, Ten asked the Australian Securities Exchange that their stock be placed in a 48-hour trading halt while it assessed its options concerning receivership. It went into voluntary administration the following day.
On 28 August 2017, Ten’s administrators announced that US media company CBS Corporation (which had a 33% share in the multichannel Eleven and was Ten’s largest creditor) had entered into a binding agreement to purchase the company for $123 million. CBS refinanced Ten’s existing debt including guarantor fees to billionaire shareholders James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, and existing loans from the Commonwealth Bank. Shareholders in Ten Network Holdings lost their investment.
Gordon and Murdoch had also placed their own joint bid for the company, which was not endorsed by the administrators. At a meeting held on 12 September, Ten’s creditors overwhelmingly voted in support of CBS’ bid, citing concerns over Murdoch’s previous management of Ten and talk of mass job cuts in the news department under Murdoch/Gordon ownership.
The CBS acquisition was completed on 16 November 2017, when the shares of Ten Network Holdings were transferred to CBS Network Ten BV, a company registered in the Netherlands.
2017–present: CBS ownership
Following the CBS acquisition, the network became a division of CBS Studios International. Ten moved to commission more Australian content. The additional programs were financed by the savings from the dissolution of Ten’s output agreement with 21st Century Fox. CBS also moved to re-establish an in-house advertising sales department for 2019, bringing to an end Ten’s four year period with the Foxtel-affiliated Multi Channel Network. This brought Ten into line with the other CBS networks. One reason CBS acquired Ten was to assist the company to launch its CBS All Access streaming service in the Australian market. The service launched in December 2018 and was branded 10 All Access in the local market.
On 31 October 2018, the network unveiled a new logo, replacing the “ten” wordmark used since 1991 with a stylised circle 10, and the network now referred to in text as “Network 10”. The new brand is used across all of Network 10’s platforms and services, and was intended to reflect the broadcaster’s positioning as an “adventurous alternative” with a “sense of fun”. 10 also relaunched its multichannels Eleven and One as 10 Peach and 10 Boss, with Boss focusing on dramatic programming and targeting an older adult audience, and Peach continuing to be targeted towards young adults. 10 Boss was renamed 10 Bold on 10 December 2018 due to trademark conflicts with Fairfax Media.
Ten’s current Australian program line-up consists of series such as: Bondi Rescue, Bondi Vet, Neighbours, Australian Survivor, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, All Aussie Adventures, Game of Games, Gogglebox Australia, Show Me the Movie!, The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds, Pointless, Studio 10, The Project, The Living Room, MasterChef Australia, The Bachelor Australia, The Bachelorette Australia, Bachelor in Paradise Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention? and Hughesy, We Have a Problem.
Current US programming is sourced from CBS Corporation.
When it was independent, Ten had a long-standing relationship with CBS Studios International for Australian rights to its content. Ten also held over-the-air rights to selected 20th Century Fox programming such as The Simpsons, although in October 2017, Fox ceased its output deal as a side effect of the network’s bankruptcy and CBS acquisition.
News and current affairs
Network 10’s news service is called 10 News First (previously Ten News & Ten Eyewitness News). It produces local bulletins each weeknight and national bulletins on weekends.
The news service also produces nightly panel show The Project.
Ten has access to CBS News stories for international news coverage.
The network is a major player in Australian sports broadcasting. All sports broadcasts on 10 and its multichannels are labelled under the 10 Sport brand.
The network holds the free-to-air broadcast rights to the A-League (since 2017), Socceroos (since 2018) and Wallabies (since 2013) games, the Melbourne Cup Carnival (beginning 2019), the Supercars Championship (since 2015), Formula One (since 2003) and MotoGP (since 1997).
Network 10 is available in standard definition and in 1080i high definition. Core programming is fibre fed out of ATV Melbourne to its sister stations and regional affiliates with TEN Sydney providing national news programming. The receiving stations and affiliates then insert their own localised news and advertising which is then broadcast in metropolitan areas via Network 10’s owned-and-operated stations TEN Sydney, ATV Melbourne, TVQ Brisbane, ADS Adelaide, and NEW Perth. The network’s programming is also carried into regional Australia by various affiliate stations, most of which are part of the WIN Television network.
The 10 HD multichannel was launched on 16 December 2007 until 25 March 2009 and later revived on 2 March 2016. It broadcasts identical programming to 10, but in 1080i HD.
The network’s free video on demand and catch up TV service is called 10 Play. tenplay (as it was then known) launched on 30 September 2013, replacing the network’s old website that offered limited catch-up TV services. The service is available on the web and via apps for mobile devices, smart TVs, set-top boxes and video game consoles.
Live streaming of Network 10’s primary channel commenced in January 2016, although it was available only during selected hours. Twenty-four hour live streaming of the main channel commenced in January 2018. A live stream of 10 Bold is available on a part-time basis.
10 All Access
10 All Access is an advertising-free subscription streaming service. It is a rebranded, localised version of CBS All Access. The service offers programming from 10 and CBS’s libraries, original programming and the ability to watch CBS programs prior to their broadcast on 10’s channels. It launched on 4 December 2018.
For the 2006 series of Big Brother, Ten appointed two censors to review the show instead of one. The Federal Minister for Communications, Senator Helen Coonan, was reported to have said that she would be keeping a “close watch on the show’s 2006 series”. This controversy resulted in Big Brother Uncut being renamed Big Brother: Adults Only for the 2006 season of Big Brother. In two separate findings, the Australian Communications and Media Authority determined Network Ten breached clause 2.4 of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice. These two breaches were in relation to the broadcast of Big Brother Uncut on 30 May, 13 June and 4 July 2005. The broadcast material was not classified according to the Television Classification Guidelines.
Despite toning down Big Brother: Adults Only significantly in comparison to 2005, the series continued to attract controversy. After Big Brother: Adults Only was abruptly cancelled several weeks early, a subsequent incident of alleged sexual assault in the house saw the removal of two housemates and a huge public outcry calling for the series to be cancelled entirely. This incident generated significant publicity for the show, even prompting the Prime Minister of Australia to call on Network Ten to “do a bit of self-regulation and get this stupid program off the air.”
Just prior to the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Network Ten broadcast 911: In Plane Site, a documentary that examined conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks. Federal Labor politician Michael Danby demanded that the programming director of the station be sacked.
On 8 October 2008, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found Network Ten guilty of breaching the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice by using subliminal advertising during the broadcast of the 2007 ARIA Music Awards on 28 October 2007. Network Ten had inserted single frames (lasting 1/25th of a second) into the program broadcast. This was exposed on ABC‘s Media Watch program.
Logo and identity history
From 1964 to 1984 Network Ten’s four stations – ATV-0/ATV-10 Melbourne, TEN-10 Sydney, TVQ-0 Brisbane and SAS-10 Adelaide – used different logos to identify themselves. There had also been a number of network-wide logos used from the mid-1960s through to the early 1980s.
By late-1985 ATV-10, SAS-10 and TEN-10 were all using the same logo – a circle with “TEN” in the centre, somewhat in the style of a neon sign. This logo had been introduced by TEN-10 in January 1983, was adopted by ATV-10 in June 1984 and by SAS-10 in November 1985. The logo was also similar to the new logo adopted by Brisbane’s TVQ-0 in April 1983, when that station became branded as TV0 – a neon sign-style circle with “TV” in the centre.
Kicking off several years of branding upheaval, in January 1988 ATV-10, ADS-10 and TEN-10 all adopted the “X TEN” logo, followed by Perth’s NEW-10 when the station launched in May of that year, and finally TVQ-0 in September, when the station changed frequency and became TVQ-10. In July 1989, the network rebranded again to “10 TV Australia”.
In January 1991, the network introduced a new logo featuring a lowercase “ten” in a circle. Four variations of this logo would appear over the next 27 years.
On 31 October 2018, Ten unveiled a new logo in its first major rebranding since 1991. The new branding replaces the “ten” wordmark with a numeric 10 in a circle.
1983 (Sydney), 1984 (Melbourne), 1985 (Adelaide) – 1988
1988 – 1989
1989 – 1991
1991 – 1999
1999 – 2008
2008 – 2013
2013 – 2018
2018 – Present
- List of Australian television series
- 10 Peach
- 10 Bold
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