Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anyone for gardening? Anyone?? Wednesday 18 February 2009

Hmmm – lets get the good news out of the way first shall we – Seven can be pleased Talent, Criminal Minds, Gangs of Oz and Lost all lifted Week on Week – an impressive result.

Right that’s taken care of! Now what about channel nine…

Well… The Mentalist improved – slightly up from 929,000 to 955,000 and Flashpoint weakened from 670,000 to 632,000 but these seem to be the audiences these two programs are stuck with which is kind of sad given where they started – if only Nine had learned to keep them in the same timeslot from go to woah.

But what of Ten? For the last two weeks House had been airing at 9pm instead of the usual 8.30 and for those two weeks the show had posted figures over the million mark – now that it moved back to 8.30 the show sunk back to it’s late 2008 standard – so why?

Hmmm it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they’ve lost the viewers who are watching Spicks and Specks on ABC1, in fact the irony is they probably didn’t even really lose them – those people probably record the show to watch later – they have the technology (not that OzTAM would know!).

Think about it for a second – you, humble viewer, like two shows on at the same time – one is a drama, the other a piece of fluff – which one are you going to commit to a tape? (or your DVR or whatever) Which one might you want to watch again sometime down the track – a show so disposable it could be done on radio? Or a multi-million dollar dramatic serial – I know which one I would chose – and so do about 300,000 others who have vanished from House’s audience.

David Mott (or whoever holds the cards there now) do yourself a favour and get this show back to 9pm.

Interestingly Life held almost all of the House lead-in and beat Flashpoint at 9.30 which is good for them, but like Flashpoint and the Mentalist this show seems to have found it’s level. Back when house got 1.24 million viewers (two weeks ago) Life still only managed 850k, which is also why its easier to justify this show at 10pm than at 9.30.

Anyway, that’s not even the worst thing to happen to Ten last night – their new series Guerilla Gardeners launched and then skidded across the tarmac crashing horribly into fourth place with a horrendous 645,000 viewers watching.

Now to be fair this show had three strikes against it

1) Its lead in – The Biggest Loser – was already in fourth spot with a lower than usual audience
2) Its on Ten, a network not regarded for its gardening programs, a net that hasn’t had a successful lifestyle format since the cancellation of Healthy Wealthy & Wise in 1998.
3) Promotion for the show was obtuse at best and at worst non-existant, I’m across more TV than most but I didn’t have a good picture of what the show was about until Tuesday just gone when I read a TV Tonight article – given the bulk of the population (esp those people meter folk) probably don’t follow TV industry news, then they would be in the dark about it.

This is a unique problem for Ten – if such a show debuted on Seven or Nine it would probably receive a decent sampling, but Ten is different – their primary audience is under 39 – gardening is not a popular pasttime with this group, in fact if I am representative of this age group then gardening is a chore confined to weeding and mowing the lawn (what there is of it).

When you look at Ten’s big program launches of the past 10 years you that the common demoninator is a concept that stands out to young people – young people are Ten’s core audience – the older viewers usually discover Ten shows later down the track.

Now this show does have an element that should appeal, namely that these gardeners are borderline criminals carrying out there renovations without the permission of councils or owners or anyone, that’s interesting – but then I only knew that about a day ago.

Ten might cross their fingers and hope for good word of mouth, but I’m not sure its gonna happen – we could be looking at the first casualty of the season.

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