Thursday, July 2, 2009

Find my 90 million

Seven had a perfect convergence of events last night, the long awaited return of Packed to the Rafters and in the first ad break the biggest lottery draw in the history of this country.

The OZ Lotto draw ended up drawing 2,283,000 viewers in the five markets - a huge audience but frankly given the amount of news coverage I would've expected bigger to be honest! Nonetheless, it all added up to an emphatic win for the network.

We also see the curious phenomenon of a lead-on lifting on the back of a big lead out - it was a regular feature early this year for Find My Family a schmaltzy reality show reuniting adopted kids with their natural parents or something worthwhile (OK I've never watched it but then I'm not in the target audience of 80-100 year olds)

Family was much stronger with Rafters following it than without it - similarly we saw another reverse timeslot hit this year on Nine with Customs, a mash-up of several Brit lurkers that curiously got a huge benefit by being before Underbelly rather than after it.

Accepted wisdom is that a strong show should deliver audiences to the show afterwards - so what's causing this phenomenon with the show before benefiting more.

I think I have the explanation - overruns!

You See both Seven and Nine run their current affairs shows long on any given night they can run up to 5 or 10 minutes out meaning that viewers tuning in for Packed to the Rafters at 8.30pm actually see the tail end of the preceding show, the practice has gotten so bad with the two tabloid shows that you can tune in on any given half hour mark to Seven or Nine when you switch you'll likely be on a commercial break with one whole act of the show yet to run!

This appalling practice helps out shows running before a tentpole show because even though the viewer thinks Rafters will start at 8.30, both Seven and OzTam have it marked for 8.35 giving the preceding show the benefit of the Rafters aud for 5 minutes.

It's one of the sneakiest practices devised in television since Turner Time (look that up if you have a spare evening!) and one that would make old Ted proud!

One thing that cannot be fudged by timeslot shennanigans is the absolutely stunning turnout for 10 Year Younger at 10.30pm, 710,000 has to be some sort of record for this slot and proves that the show's audience, while having dwindled to a point, was extremley faithful.

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