Is new Netflix rival worth your money?
Channel 10 unveiled its premium streaming service this week and, while it is boasts a library of more than "7000 episodes", what's actually on offer is a weird TV time warp that is bafflingly outdated.
As part of the local network's major overhaul after it was taken over by US TV and radio network CBS, 10 All Access was launched to a muted response from Australian consumers.
It's difficult to know how to describe the program line-up without being cruel. It's a hodgepodge offering with a decidedly supernatural theme. Its edges are iced with daytime-TV frosting. There is also some cowboy and surfing shows. From the fifties and sixties. Hoo boy.
In a crowded market that includes competitors such as Netflix, Stan and Foxtel Now, it's difficult to understand how this lacklustre suite would attract subscribers. Especially considering it costs the same as Netflix - $9.99 a month.
What happened at the Channel 10 roundtable?
"Streaming services will bring this company into the 21st century!"
Sure … but you can't just throw anything online and tell people to give you money. How stupid do you think consumers are?
By our count, of the 76 shows on offer in the newly released service, 40 of them are from before the year 2010. That's 54 per cent, numbskulls!
Over half of those (24 shows, in fact) are from before 1998.
Now, I have no problem with vintage programming. I have been known to watch the same thing over and over again. There is nothing wrong with watching Sex and the City, exclusively, for years on end.
But as I scrolled the list of shows, I couldn't help but wonder, are Australians really going to pay $9.99 a month to watch MacGyver, The Twilight Zone, The Love Boat and the old version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch?
There is not one marquee, high-quality show to be found on the service. Unless you count last year's season of I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!
Launching something like this seems like dinosaur business wisdom. "They'll watch what I tell them to watch!" Yeah … that's not how streaming works though, is it?
Ten All Access is full of the kind of fodder programmers use for daytime padding. It's stuff you watch when you're too sick or hungover to change the channel. In the streaming landscape, these shows are extinct wildebeests. Nobody is seeking out The Love Boat (1977) or the classic version of Hawaii Five-O (trust me, surf is not up). If anybody is watching 7th Heaven, they should maybe check if they are in a cult?
There's also Gunsmoke, a cowboy show set in Kansas, which initially ran from 1952 to 1961. So you know it's hot.
Alongside that is other programs like Charmed (nineties), Touched by an Angel (nineties), The Andy Griffith Show (sixties), Madam Secretary (2014), The Living Room (re-runs from 2012), and a number of police dramas, including NCIS.
"We'll continue to evolve 10 All Accesswith more great content to binge on and more product features to enhance the viewing experience," Network 10 chief executive officer Paul Anderson said.
"We are just getting started."
Good grief, I hope that's true.
That said, not all the shows are bad. For example, there is a show called The Twilight Zone that is really excellent. Have you seen the episode where in a parallel universe paying for this is good value for money?
CBS is a US company and the major content provider for the Australian network. Recently Ten underwent a rebrand that saw it rename a number of its stations and overhaul its iconic logos.
It is the first major rebrand for the company in 27 years. Subsidiary channel One was rebranded as 10Boss and Eleven became 10Peach as "part of a bigger picture", according to Ten chief content officer Beverley McGarvey.
"It's very much around demographics and Peach being a feeling and Boss being an attitude," Mr Anderson said. While it's unclear what he means when he references a feeling and an attitude, I can report that the Peach logo is purple and the 10 BOSS logo is hot pink.
"Nothing to do with gender, which has been predicted," Mr Anderson said.
CBS bought Channel 10 after it was placed into voluntary administration in June of last year.