Video on demand VOD service on TV.
Video on demand VOD service on TV. PHOTO THINKSTOCK

With new channels, is there too much choice on TV?

IS THERE such a thing as too much choice on TV?

I've spent several weeks talking to TV guide readers about updates to our listings and the introduction of new channels like 7Flix, 9Life and SBS Food.

We've got more channels on free-to-air than ever before, but more than a dozen readers complained about how there's still not that much on.

Seven's new channel, 7Flix, is a good example. Promoted as a new movie channel, 7Flix actually only shows one or a few movies per day, with one always scheduled at 8.30pm, with the rest of the day's programming filmed with re-runs of shows like Blindspot, Cover Affairs, Cougar Town and old favourites like Bewitched, Who's The Boss? and Seinfeld.

Since its launch at the end of February, the new channel hasn't managed to attract much of a following.

Take Monday night, for example. The highest rating program on the channel was the movie A Knight's Tale, which was the 237th-ranked program for the day, rating just 46 people across the five metro cities.

Do we really need this channel? If it actually lived up to its name and showed back-to-back movies, then at least it would have a point of difference from the other digital channels.

But to be fair, other channels like NITV and ABC News 24 don't pull much bigger audience shares (less than two per cent).

The bulk of free-to-air viewers still watch the five main channels with the big three - Ten, Seven and Nine - accounting for more than half of all viewers.

Another channel that the readers I spoke to had extreme views on was SBS's Food channel.

Some thought it was a complete waste of space even listing the channel, while others raved about it. At least the all-food channel has a clear identity and you know what sort of shows you'll find when you tune in.

If any other channels come into the schedule, they'll need a strong identity to stand out from the crowd, otherwise they'll just further divide what's already a small potential audience.

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