Saturday, January 24, 2009

Waiting out the summer - Thursday 23 - Saturday 25 January 2009

That's a bit what it's like at the moment, waiting for something exciting to happen on TV, being assaulted left right and centre by Tennis and Cricket (and Beach Cricket for good measure).

Pay TV continues to provide real gems among the endless reruns of Judge Judy and Law & Order, like tonight Bio has a Final 24 special on the death of Tupac Shakur (Bio 8.30pm), TV1 has the next installment of TVLAND Moguls - Aaron Spelling (TV1 9.30), E! has the funniest show on TV - The Soup (E! 7.00) and SciFi is playing 'E.T. The Extra Terrestrial' (10.30pm)

But FTA is stuck in a rut, the promos are getting nicer as they promise all sorts of great new shows (or shows we saw last year due to fast tracking) but who is even watching to see these promotions.

Well here's the deal - if you need to promote your Prime Time lineup - sport helps.

Obviously due to the broad appeal and multi media coverage - a big sporting event can draw the spectators to the television regardless of lead in or a channel's reputation, and every summer for years has devolved into a tussle for sporting supremacy between Seven and Nine for top dog while Ten brings up the rear of the pack.

Nine's Cricket is always a massive draw but in recent years Seven has managed to parlay their 2 week tennis fiesta into a major promotional drive for their new season.

So putting those two aside for a moment - how is Ten doing?

Well on Thursdays - really well, Ten's Law & Order night has been dominant over all comers this summer and although bettered by the Tennis on Thursday it was still strong enough to leave Nine's lineup in the dust. This bodes well for the return of SVU in two weeks and the premiere of a big new skein Life on Mars.

Add to that a new wrinkle this week in that finally Don't Forget The Lyrics (a summer staple for the net) has lifted it performance above 800,000 for the first time - not dominant, but much better than normal - perhaps picking up a few stray Ugly Betty viewers.

On Fridays though the picture flips - although The Simpsons at 7.30 typically does well (though not so much this week with sport soaking up much of it's audience) Law & Order (the original in new eps no less) has been struggling all summer.

It has been a brave decision to put a long running (and generally well rating) cop series on Friday nights (a night bereft of solid entertainment for years) I have my fingers crossed that the addition of Paranormal/Cop Show hybrid Medium will be enough to bring non sport watchers to the tube on Fridays because the payoff from a regular series versus one shot movies is much greater for the network which can guarantee an aud for advertisers (with movies no such guarantee can exist)

Saturday was a bizarre surprise, Tennis, of course, was the dominant game in town, but a movie which has been rerun so many times that every teenager in the country has seen it and memorised it (Billy Madison) pulled an impressive aud versus the more family friendly lineup on Nine (Funniest Vids/Superman III), afterward another rerun movie - The Jackal continued the decent numbers despite a long history of adult movies airing on this night.

As far as I can figure the family aud was watching the Tennis leaving barely anyone left to see Nine's family lineup, that leaves anyone not interested in sport watching the Bruce Willis movie and perhaps the teens watching the ultimate guilty pleasure film before they go out. Whatever, in a few weeks it won't matter much - ten will have the Saturday sport, Nine will have the family movies and Seven will pick over the oldies and the natural order will once again be restored!

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