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The Nine Network, or Channel Nine, is an Australian television network with headquarters based in Willoughbymarker, a suburb on the North Shore of Sydneymarker. For 50 years between 1956 and 2006, it was the most watched television network in Australia. However, this changed in 2007 when the Nine Network's ratings were overtaken by those of its rival the Seven Network, which has dominated in the ratings ever since. As a result, Nine's slogan "still the one" has been discontinued.

History

Origins

TCNmarker-9, the first regularly transmitting television station in Australia, launched on 16 September 1956. John Godson introduced the station and Bruce Gyngell presented the first programme, This Is Television and in doing so becoming the first person to appear on Australian television. Later that year, GTVmarker-9 in Melbournemarker began testing transmissions to telecast the 1956 Summer Olympics later forming the National Television Network alongside QTQmarker-9 in Brisbanemarker and NWSmarker-9 in Adelaidemarker, the basis of the current Nine Network.

In 1967 the NSWRFL grand final became the first football grand final of any code to be televised live in Australia. The Nine Network had paid $5,000 for the broadcasting rights.

In the late 1980s, STWmarker-9 Perthmarker became a Nine Network owned-and-operated station when Bond Media purchased the network. However, in 1989, Bond Media sold the Perthmarker-based station to Sunraysia Television for AU$95 million, due to the Federal cross-media ownership laws, which restricted the level of national reach for media owners.

Nine: The Golden Era

Nine began using the slogan "Let Us Be The One" (based by The Carpenters song) in the 70s, and achieved widespread success, becoming the number 1 free to air network in Australia with shows such as Hey Hey It's Saturday and became the most watched news service, National Nine News. Soon after in 1978, Nine switched their slogan to "Still the One!", which lasted until the ratings downfall in January 2006. During the 80s, Nine's ratings peaked and drove the network forward well into the 90s. In 1999 - 2001, the network began losing ground to Seven in news and entertainment, but received a boost after the 9/11 coverage in 2001. In 2002/03, Nine brought in the colour-themed days of the week, which became one of the most recognisable ways of finding out which program was when.

The Downfall: Nine loses to Seven

Nine stayed strong throughout 2004 but was hit hard when Seven introduced a new lineup in 2005, even though Nine won the year. Meanwhile, National Nine News was overtaken by Seven News, while the Today Show was beaten by Seven's Sunrise. In 2006, Nine continued on its downward trend, losing in news and just winning the year thanks to its coverage of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. To try to give a new feel to the network, Nine dropped its old logo for a new box logo, which was criticised for its lack of the nine balls, which had been with the network since Australia Day 1988.

In 2007, despite several hits, Seven won the whole year by a significant margin. Nine received heavy criticism, due to its lack of new programming and lack of choice.

Nine: The Fightback

In 2008, as part of a major relaunch, the network reinstated the nine balls, and dropped the box logo. Nine also tried to attract younger demographics and had a breakout hit. Underbelly became a large success, and in 2008, rated over 2.5 million. After losing viewers to Seven News, Nine relaunched its news service, retitled Nine News. It managed to win more weeks over Seven in the first half of 2008. Seven went on to win the ratings year in total people, and Nine had the success of being the number one network for the 18-49 and 25-54 demographics,

In 2009, Nine started relatively strongly thanks to the top rating Australian drama Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities and the Twenty20 Cricket series, but couldn't hold its audience after Channel Ten's Masterchef became a massive hit, and also due to its erratic and inconsistent scheduling and removal of programs. Nine launched a number of reality shows including Ladette to Lady, Wipeout Australia, HomeMade, Australia's Perfect Couple and the Apprentice Australia, in the hope of achieving the same success other networks had received with their reality and competition formats over the past few years. Unfortunately, all of these formats underperformed in the ratings and have not helped the network establish any stable local content. Nine expanded its News service in the hope of getting viewers away from the dominant Seven Network news brand, with the introduction of Nine's Late News, extending its Morning News to an hour and bringing the Today Show to weekends. Despite this, its 6pm bulletin continued to lack ratngs, and in late 2009, had its national 6pm ratings drop below 1 million for more than 3 days, just under 200,000 people below Seven News

In August, Nine launched its own digital multi-channel called GO! which is primarily aimed at the younger demographic. The shares from GO! have contributed to Nine's weekly shares and have allowed it to enjoy several weeks of weekly ratings wins. In October, the Network took on a new slogan, 'Welcome Home' and revamped its inconsistent graphic package once again, very reminiscent of Channel Nine in its golden days. October also saw the official launch of GO!, with new schedules announced, and the return of popular variety show Hey Hey It's Saturday in two reunion specials, both viewed by over 2 million viewers. With the success of GO!, the Hey Hey reunion specials and the NRL, Nine has experienced ratings success it has not seen for many months.

Programming

The Nine Network broadcasts a range of programming from Australian and overseas sources. Nine's current Australian programming lineup consists of television shows including; Australia's Funniest Home Videos (previously Australia's Funniest Home Video Show), Getaway, Sea Patrol, Missing Persons Unit, Mornings with Kerri-Anne, The Footy Show, What's Good For You, Underbelly, Domestic Blitz, RPA, Amazing Medical Stories, 60 Minutes and 20 to 1.

Most American programming that airs on Nine and its regional affiliates is sourced from Nine's studio-output deals with Warner Bros Television, Sony Pictures Television, Lions Gate, Alliance Atlantismarker, and Regency (four production companies that were previously screened on Network Ten). The network's flagship program is the popular sitcom Two and a Half Men, which airs up to ten episodes per week during primetime. Other Americanmarker programming on Nine includes The Mentalist, Cold Case, the CSI franchise, The View, Survivor, Without a Trace, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Days Of Our Lives, Entertainment Tonight and WWE After Burn.

Feature films broadcast on the Nine Network are sourced from its studio-output deals, including Columbia/Sony and Warner Bros. Pictures. It also broadcasts Australian and international titles distributed via Village Roadshow.

The Nine Network also broadcasts films from Dreamworks Picturesmarker produced prior to 2007-2008; the rights to more recent titles have since passed on to the Seven Network.

In an attempt to attract advertisers, as there is wide industry consensus that most advertisers are more interested in programmes for younger audiences, new programming is expected to now be targeted towards the younger generation.

The Nine Network's prime time line-up is frequently criticised because of last minute scheduling changes and cancellations and late starting times, with most nights programming running between 5 and 10 minutes behind schedule. The strategy of relying on a hand of programmes (most notable US sitcom Two and a Half Men) has also been questioned.Reruns of Two and a Half Men are shown out of sequence with episodes from several different seasons often airing in the same night.

News & Current Affairs

The Nine Network's news service is called Nine News (previously National Nine News). For decades it was the top rating news service nationally for Australians. However, the Seven Network has overtaken them in recent years.

On October 20, 2008 due to a very bad year of very poor ratings losing viewers to Seven News, National Nine News became Nine News.

Nine News produces several news bulletins and programmes including Today, Weekend Today, as well as the Early, Morning, 6pm and Late bulletins of Nine News.

As well as this, the news service also produces A Current Affair and 60 Minutes. During the early hours of weekdays and Sunday mornings, Nine rebroadcasts Americanmarker television network ABC's news and current affairs programme Good Morning America. For a number of years Nine News used the slogan "Who's Who of News".

Sport

Channel Nine broadcasts all sporting events under the Wide World of Sports brand. The flagship sports of the brand are Cricket, National Rugby League (NRL), and formerly Australian rules football, until Nine lost the rights in 2006, and Super League while it existed. NRL games are broadcast in prime time in New South Walesmarker and Queenslandmarker on Friday nights, however are usually screened after midnight (or not at all) in Victoriamarker, South Australiamarker, Western Australiamarker and Tasmaniamarker.

Nine's other popular recurring sporting events include the Rugby League State of Origin, British Open, US Golf Open, US Tennis Openmarker, Wimbledonmarker, KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, Commonwealth Bank Series Cricket, and Test cricket and formerly the Telstra Swimming Championships until Nine lost the rights in 2009. As well as this, the Nine Network, in joint partnership with subscription television provider Foxtel, has broadcast rights for the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Nine has been criticised by Melbourne NRL fans for choosing to show matches in that city delayed by several hours as well as Nine's decision not to broadcast the pre-match celebrations of the 2009 NRL Grand Final, even though Melbourne Storm won the final.

Recently, Nine acquired rights to the Rugby World Cup for 2011 and 2015.

Availability

The Nine Network is simulcast in analogue, standard definition and 1080i high definition. Nine is broadcast in metropolitan areas via Nine Network owned-and-operated stations, including TCNmarker Sydneymarker, GTVmarker Melbournemarker, QTQmarker Brisbanemarker and NTDmarker Darwinmarker, and by affiliate Channel Nine stations NWSmarker Adelaidemarker and STWmarker Perthmarker. Nine Network programming is also carried into regional Australia by affiliate networks WIN Television, NBN Television, and Imparja Television. Nine is also broadcast via satellite and cable on Foxtel and on Austar Digital on the cable pay TV service in Darwin.

Logos

The Nine Network first used a shared logo produced and used across the metropolitan stations in 1970, featuring the numeral nine beside nine dots. The first set of identities was a "Dots TV" set. This logo has remained in use on the network, in differing forms across the decades, with various exceptions. In 1979, the nine dots were removed from the logo, but only for on air idents. This lasted nine years until 1988, when Bond Media purchased the network and reinstated the nine dots, with STWmarker Perthmarker becoming a Nine Network owned-and-operated station. In 1998, the dots were changed to spheres. Three-dimensions were added to the numeral nine in 2002, coinciding with a revamp of the network's on-air identity.

In 2006, the network and its affiliates relaunched their logos to coincide with Nine's fiftieth year of broadcasting. The new logo designed by Bruce Dunlop Associates saw the removal of the nine dots, with a non-solid blue coloured square added to behind the numeral nine. In 2007 this was modified to become a solid blue colour and also a 3-dimensional cube. The rebranding of Nine also saw Nine News, A Current Affair, Today, Nightline and the Wide World of Sports receive new designs. However, in 2007, the Nine Network partially reintroduced the nine dots, visible on every second surface of the cubic logo. In addition to this in 2008, the nine dots were fully reinstated into the logo, originally 3-dimensional discs then changed to 2-dimensional circles and later spheres.

See also



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