Number 96 (TV Series) - Background

Background

Number 96 was launched on 13 March 1972. Channel 10 has suffered dismal ratings and was almost bankrupt. There was a feeling with executives that "We have nothing to loose - Let's make it or break it" Number 96 was launched out of desperation. Sales Manager Ian Kennon was hopeful that the series would pull the station back from the brink .A simple promotional campaign - each night for several weeks before its debut, the message Number 96 Is Coming would appear on screen during Network 10's advertisements. No explanation was given, and it stimulated curiosity. This was backed up with full page newsaper advertising with a countdown saying "In 7 days Australian Television Loses It's Virginity." then "In 6 Days" etc. etc. When the series premiered viewers were presented with a level of titillation and taboo subjects that had never been seen on Australian television before, and the event came to be known as The night Australian television lost its virginity.

On the day the first episode of 96 was to air, staff at the Channel 10 studios were alarmed to see hoards of protestors assembling and parading on the front lawn of the studios with signs reading "Ban this Filth" "Protect our Children" "Where has Decency Gone?" etc etc. The doors of the studios were locked as a security measure. When the publicity Director Tom Greer arrived at his usual 11am. There were cries from staff of "what have YOU done" "How do we get rid of these people." Tom in his usual unflappable way said "Get rid of them...You must be joking...Send them tea and buscuits...Send down the news cameras and do live cross overs to the lawn every hour." This massive free publicity ensured all TV sets that night were tuned to Channel 10.

Ian Kennon's hopes were fulfilled. The show was an instant hit Australia wide. Advertisers scrambled to be placed into the 96 slot. So justifiably, the advertising rates were a premium.

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