Pay- TV viewers now have even more to choose from, as presenter and producer Sarah Wilson told Guy Davis.
PAMPERS WITH LIFESTYLE YOU
A handful of exciting new channels have been added to the pay-TV catalogue right in time for the holidays. LifeStyle You, headed up by ex-Masterchef’s Sarah Wilson, will let you know the right dress to wear when your best friend is missing in action. T he ever-increasing number of subscribers to pay-TV will no doubt be aware that there’s no shortage of channels to check out.
What’s more, these various channels cater to a wide variety of interests – whether you’re a movie buff , a sports addict or a news junkie, there’s plenty to keep you glued to the screen.
And guess what? Now there’s even more to watch. On November 15, pay-TV provider Austar launched an array of new channels in both high-defi nition and standard-defi nition ( or HD and SD, if you want to use the technical terminology). The all-new HD programming off ers crystal-clear sound and vision on a variety of sports and movie channels, making it the ideal way to usher in the new era of digital television that will roll out in 2010.
And in the SD line-up, there are new channels catering to specific niches. There are movie stations focusing on particular genres, such as action and comedy. There are kids’ stations that are education-centred and ad-free. There are new documentary stations with a wider range of topics than ever before, from Nat Geo Wild to Al Jazeera.
Proof that pay-TV is delivering content that meets the particular wants and needs of its audience is the launch of LifeStyle YOU, a new channel from the makers of The LifeStyle Channel and LifeStyle Food.
Aimed especially at women between 25 and 45, the station is looking to provide shows that not only off er its viewers a little “ me time” but also off er advice on – in the words of Sarah Wilson, the ambassador of LifeStyle YOU – “ how to make your life better”.
The journalist, columnist and former host of MasterChef Australia is the “ face” of the new channel (“ which means all kinds of things,” she laughed) and is working behind the scenes with producers at LifeStyle YOU to develop programs that she’ll put together and possibly host.
Wilson’s departure from the amazingly successful MasterChef came as a surprise to many. But with the original UK version of the show having no such host, it became increasingly evident to the makers of MasterChef Australia that Wilson’s role was, in her words, “ a little superfluous”.
And that left Wilson feeling a bit frustrated. So once the 2009 season wrapped up, she and the powers that be at Ten made a decision to amicably part ways.
“ There was no burning of bridges,” she stated. “ Often when you read that someone decided to leave a show, it’s code for them being dumped. In this case, however, it was what it was.”
Ten was keen to stay in the Sarah Wilson business, inviting her to take part in The 7PM Project and other shows. Wilson, however, was keen to stretch her wings and make her own opportunities. So a meeting with XYZnetworks, the team behind the LifeStyle line-up of programs, came at just the right time.
“ Pay-TV is kind of the future,” she said. “ There’s a lot of dynamic growth going on – risks are being taken and a lot of those gambles are really paying off . With entertainment, you’ll have the occasional mass-appeal blockbuster like MasterChef but increasingly it’s programming that is specific that is becoming a sensation.”
And LifeStyle YOU is taking its cue from research aimed at discovering what its key audience wants from its viewing.
“ Not since Sex and the City has there really been programming geared at the 25-45 demographic,” said Wilson. “ It found that there was a real need for a channel aimed at women in that age group. My take on LifeStyle YOU is that it’s about what our grandmothers used to talk about over the back fence, everything from family finances to emotional well-being.”
When it comes to local content, Wilson is being joined by the likes of Antonia Kidman and Kate Waterhouse as LifeStyle YOU’s personalities. And shows are currently being developed with them in mind.
“ I’ve got a whiteboard full of ideas in front of me at the moment,” laughed Wilson. “ And we’ll be creating new content all the time.”
Wilson: “ Pay-TV is kind of the future. There’s a lot of dynamic growth going on – risks are being taken and a lot of those gambles are
really paying off .”