PLANNER Dec 6 - Sharknado

What we watched: Sharknado.

With advances in technology, careers coming to a close and a landscape that has been - perhaps more than ever before - moving fast, 2013 was a year of change for television.

After years languishing as dumping grounds for the main players, the second-tier channels finally found their voice, we started watching on the second (or third) screens everyone predicted and the concept of waiting for a show to screen when it suited the programmers just disappeared.

The programs we loved and that rated well were either those that unfolded live or the ones someone was smart enough to fast-track to air.

"Peter Harvey from channel nine. Stay in touch. Photo supplied by channel nine

Peter Harvey: unfailing work ethic and humility.

And the titans of the past, be they networks or stars, either found themselves foundering as old ways no longer worked or surprising even themselves with solutions that shot them into the limelight.

We look back on the year that was, with 10 notable events that caught our eye.

Home & Away turns 25
January 17

Georgie Parker in Home and 
Away

What we watched: Georgie Parker in Home and Away.

For a series to last 25 years, they must be doing something right. Especially when other dramas barely make a single season before the rug is pulled out. And with this simple beachside soap, the recipe is still good. With its quintessential Australian backdrop and stories that are both local and universal at the same time, Home & Away refreshed itself without trying to reinvent the wheel. Scott Ellis

Peter Harvey dies
March 2

With a career of almost four decades at the Nine Network, and a signature sign-off - ''Peter Harvey … Canberra'', this iconic newsman was so much more than ordinary reporter. He covered major stories, including the Whitlam dismissal, but was also a touchstone for colleagues and indeed the network which employed him. ''We are broken,'' his colleague Tracy Grimshaw said, and his boss, Nine Network CEO David Gyngell, acknowledged his most powerful qualities: an unfailing work ethic and humility. Michael Idato

Twitter winner
July 11

A low-budget film with an improbable storyline and B-list actors, Sharknado should rightly have attracted a few curious insomniacs and disappeared without trace. But that was before Twitter. When it went to air in the US Twitter erupted, and a phenomenon was born. It screened twice more, increasing audience to assure a sequel, possibly more. Expect more of this. SE

Foxtel expands IPTV
August 11

Foxtel Play arrives for viewers reluctant to sign up for a full pay-TV service. It offers internet-based packages for computers, smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs and game consoles. Flexible monthly deals rather than long-term contracts bring Foxtel into line with the online competition. Streaming services Quickflix, EzyFlix and FetchTV continue to expand, amid rumours that US giants Netflix and Hulu are eyeing Australia. In response, free-to-air broadcasters overhaul catch-up TV services, hinting at big plans for 2014. Adam Turner

King Kyle jumps ship
October 31

After years of scandals, stunts, outrage - and blockbuster ratings - one of radio's most successful and notorious partnerships had one more shock in store - Kyle and Jackie O defecting from long-time home 2Day FM to take their show to Mix 106.5 (rebranded KIIS 1065). They departed on top, but with a slap when Southern Cross Austereo management declared them outdated. Time - and ratings - will tell if the Sandilands schtick has had its day. Neil McMahon

Breakfast breakups
November 29

There were tears aplenty over the Vegemite toast for Melbourne audiences, whose morning habits were rocked by the departure of two top-rating teams. Nova 100's Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek, at their 12-year ratings peak, called stumps in September, followed three weeks later by Fox's Matt Tilley and Jo Stanley, who once enjoyed a six-year winning run. Their sad goodbyes in late November leave the field to Triple M stalwart Eddie McGuire to pick up the spoils as rival stations bed in new teams. NM

ABC third-most-watched
December 1

From perceptions of political bias and even treason, to the remuneration of its presenters, the ABC has been the target of sustained attacks this year. But beyond the culture wars, something far more meaningful was happening. When the final ratings data of 2013 was crunched on December 1, the public broadcaster officially became third-most-watched in Australia. That the ABC draws as many viewers as its commercial rivals to its news, current affairs, drama and entertainment doesn't shield it from criticism, but it exposes at least one of the agendas afoot in the dreary campaign to undermine it. Paul Kalina

Nine floats, Ten sinks
December 9

In many ways it's apposite that the Nine Network becomes a publicly listed company at the same time that Ten records its annus horribilis. It's not that long ago that Nine found itself in a predicament similar to Ten's. Though the business press has been lukewarm about Nine's stock exchange debut, its ratings in 2013 were stellar, increasing in all demographics and eclipsed only by Seven in the 65-plus audience. With Adelaide and Perth now under its wing, 2014 may see it regain the crown. PK

End of analog TV
December 10

Broadcasters pull the plug on analog television to end the digital switchover, almost 60 years after black-and-white television first came to Australia for the Melbourne Olympics. All new TVs feature built-in digital tuners, while upgrading an old television to digital only requires a $50 set-top box. More than 20 digital free-to-air channels are on offer, including 24-hour news, although there are no immediate plans to screen more high-definition movies or sport. The vacated airwaves are set to support faster mobile broadband. AT

National Broadband Network redesign
December 12

The nationwide Fibre to the Home plan is scrapped. A third of Australian homes will depend on fibre to the node, relying on copper phone lines for the last few hundred metres - cheaper but not always as fast or reliable. Millions in cities will be shifted to the pay TV cables for broadband, with the government promising a back-end overhaul to match fibre speeds. AT