Thursday, November 20, 2008

Start spreading the news

Channel Ten’s 6pm Timeslot is about to change again, this time The Simpsons will make way for The Bold and The Beautiful. Daytime’s most popular show is moving to evenings in order benefit from the broader viewing base after 6 and hopefully steal a few followers away from the news on the other commercial nets.

Here’s hoping that it works because in the 17 or so years since Ten moved their evening news to 5pm, nothing has ever taken off in this slot. Ten’s low readings between 6pm and 7pm have kept their audience share subdued for two decades.

Last night we got a small sampling (that pops up now and again) of what would happen if Ten extended their bulletin past 6pm. The Brisbane storms provided an opportunity for the 5pm bulletin to run 90 minutes last night, it produced an inflated result for the net.

You can see here a table showing The Simpsons’s 6pm Audience for Brisbane and on the same night nationally – this was from approximately a week ago with no big news stories on the night. In the Brisbane market The Simpsons got a 17.54% commercial audience share, on the same night nationally they managed 20.47%

Now look at last night – Ten News produced a 26 share – translated nationally that would improve Ten’s performance in the slot by 6% and mean an extra 180k watching the net at 6.

This is by no means a detailed or even competent analysis and there are an endless amount of naysayers who will tell you that messing with the news = ratings death, but I think it’s worth a look – if The Bold and The Beautiful fails to lift ten’s 6pm game – then start spreading the news.


Glen said...

Enjoy your blog. Keep up the nice work.

The thing you have to remember about 3 news services at 6pm is that you are effectively carving up the advertising dollar for news into 3, instead of 2. Hence each party (7,9,10) would give a smaller revenue. I don't have the figures, but Ten probably get more $$ out of The Simpsons, and possible B&B as it is attracting different advertisers.

H E Pennypacker said...

Thanks Glen

Nothing would please me more if B&B can restore some equilibrium to Ten's evenings - but in the event that it fails they should seriously consider taking this rout. Yes the advertising carve up would be smaller but it would also put a significant dent in Seven and Nine's 6pm share and make them work harder to win nights.

If there's one thing I've observed with TV ratings it's he who wins 6pm wins the year.

Glen said...

That may be true, but TEN isn't interested in winning the year - they're interested in winning bucks.

When TEN went into the darkness in the late 80's, a question they asked themselves was "what should we do next?". There were plenty of "deliver good news reports, educational series, quality drama" but they missed the point - they needed to make money. And that has been their mantra ever since. They would much rather avoid 1/3 news revenue and go for something different which they could dominate in, albeit not really contributing to their overall ratings. The bottom line is the buck, not the overall bottom on seats.

Kuttsywood said...

A move to 6 could do wonders, provided they don't screw up ONE.

Ten has a opportunity thanks to the upcoming launch of ONE to offer something similar to the weekend national bulletins, being news, no sport (which would be diverted to locally produced ONE-exclusive editions of Sports Tonight.) and weather.

Besides, how many people watch sport at 6? If Ten went down either a 5:30-6:30 newshour (with sport) path or a 6pm local sport-free bulletin 7 days a week, it would work.

If Ten tried the no-sport formula, and succeeds, It would be going back to the mid 80's run for Ten News at 6pm often beating the competition.

Note: I never mentioned a length for the 6pm option.

Anonymous said...

When Ten in Sydney had their news at 6 and Nine and Seven had theirs at 6.30, i knew a few people who would watch the sitcom on Nine at 6 then turn over to watch the sitcom on Ten at 6.30.