Tuesday, May 11, 2010

AFL Monday Night game is a ratings dog

Channel Seven had a shocker last night and you can put it down to 3 letters... A.F.L.

The Australian Football League is only popular in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory - that's one really big state, two smaller ones and two tiny ones, the other two really big states worship at the altar of Rugby League.

This creates a headache for the good folks in television - you see Television is a national business bu these sports are only successful in their home markets, despite the efforts of people to market the other code outside their home territories they largely go unnoticed.

The end result is that when the AFL is playing in Melbourne and Adelaide and Perth - the broadcaster has to find something else for the people in Sydney and Brisbane to watch.

This isn't a major problem on weekends, the AFL's natural primetime home is on Friday and Saturday nights, most nets just run movies on these nights so they can easily shuffle things around without disrupting their schedule in any great way, but lately the AFL has been encroaching on Monday nights eyeing off a prize of bigger licence fees in future rights negotiations for the promise of more prime-time matches.

Only problem with this is Monday nights. Despite the overall decline in TV viewership, Monday is no Friday or Saturday - the nets wheel out some of their biggest shows on this night, Nine with their big name comedies and dramas, Ten with Masterchef (well that every night I guess) and Good News Week and even Seven with their factuals and female-skewing soaps.

Last night Seven had the hot potato carrying a match between St Kilda and Carlton. Melbourne viewers missed out on The Zoo, Adelaide viewers lost Find My Family and nobody saw Desperate Housewives.

Arguably Seven showed a level of uncommon shrewdness by pre-empting Housewives and Brothers & Sisters, avoiding last year's idiotic situation where the south was several weeks behind the north on airdates, but the replacement, a rerun of the movie Knocked Up in Sydney and Brisbane got severely knocked around by the competition.

What's even worse is the performance of the AFL match itself - normally this kind of disruption is justified because the result in the southern states makes up for the low performance in the north - not this time - look at the numbers:

Melbourne Top Shows
1 Masterchef 541k
2 Nine News 494k
3 ACA 446k
4 TT 427k
5 Two and a Half Men 424k
6 Seven News 413k
7 Two and a Half Men (r) 393k
8 The Mentalist 385k
9 The Big Bang Theory 384k
10 AFL 371k

That's right 10th place for the night

The situation is worse in Adelaide where the top program, Masterchef, drew 208k, Good News Week came in at number 10 with 115,000, even the 7pm project polled better at 13th position with 100k leaving the AFL in 15th place with a low 88,000 viewers

In Perth it was compounded by not even being close to live - they pulled 82,000 and 21st place for the night beaten by tough competition like 6pm Simpsons, ABC News and Deal or no Deal!

Well here's my tip for Seven, Ten and any other potential rights holder - if another one of these Monday night games comes up, kick it Foxtel and stick to your regular schedule, the monday night game is a dog - and it's not worth the damage to your night.


Monday, May 10, 2010


This time a year ago - Merlin was riding high as the big new hit drama with 1.3 million viewers providing a big lead-in to the brand new Masterchef.

A year later - Masterchef is riding higher than ever - but Merlin is in the gutter - kicked to the curb by Mike Munro and Nine's factuals.

Nine's idea of sticking their Customs program on Sunday nights at 6.30 is a genius move sapping the heat out of Border Security (although BS still does pretty well for what was a rerun) there was a time when these Nationalist Paranoia showcases polled 2 million an outing - but that was the old television, before multichannelling, abundant PAY TV and internet enabled everything!

Underbelly returned to good numbers but far short of their 2009 form, still it's in no danger of cancellation - but perhaps budget cuts on future seasons if the numbers continue to soften

If House were on Seven it would have shipped to 10.30 last year - if it were on Nine, we'd only see it at Summertime, because it's on Ten - they persist with the 9.30 timeslot because they have no 10.30 slots, have nothing to replace it (so they can't wait until summer) and their multichannel is an expensive experiment in sports programming that no-one watches.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Never mind the Vicar

I don't know what's more appalling - the performance of Criminal Minds and The Amazing Race (both have seen better days) or the fact that reruns of ancient Britcom The Vicar of Dibley managed to fend off Nine's Getaway!

The tragedy is there are so many hilarious new entrants to annals of British comedy that get ignored by the commercial nets until the ABC or SBS make them into hits (you may remember the Vicar's lineage goes back to Saturday nights on the ABC)

Frankly by my estimation the shows that did well last night (a grand total of 3 of them) were well promoted as opposed to the non-existent promotion for other shows on the dial.

Fans of Glee will be happy to note the good ratings which represents Ten's first high-school hit since Dawson's Creek (yes - that long ago!)

No way to Garner viewers

Saturdays, err, I mean Wednesdays are turning into a 3 horse race with Ten's Masterchef and Seven's The Pacific both flanking Nine's Hey Hey revival - although Hey Hey is softer now that viewers know they can always catch it next week, at least Nine has gotten out 2 hours over 1 million viewers, the rest of the night on seven was decidedly ordinary with the reality skeins at 7.30 being locked out by Masterchef and Criminal Minds being beaten by Nine's US version of another SBS hit - Who do you think you are.

Ten deserves a rap over the knuckles for wasting a decent lead in on a pathetic movie - I've never heard of PS I Love You but from my channel surfing the other night I determined that it involved Jennifer Garner which is your first indication of FAIL.

You might be looking at the chart and wondering why I have a picture of Eddie McGuire next to the EPIC FAIL for Deal or no Deal - well Andrew O'Keefe is currently having is arse handed to him by Eddie's Hot Seat and if this keeps up for the rest of the season we could see Seven packing up the suitcases.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Big Winners and Big Losers

Expect Tuesday nights to follow this pattern for a while - Masterchef dominated - it's audience rose by about 60,000, Australia's Got Talent stayed level at 1.4 million and is one of Seven's strongest performers at the moment.

Top Gear took a hit down about 150,000 viewers week on week - Nine shouldn't lose heart so much - viewers know Masterchef and Talent are limited runs while Top Gear will be on year round (given that there are other episodes playing on GO! thoughout the week - 1.2 million is quite impressive!

The big losers were the 9.30 shows with the huge family audiences fleeing in droves after 9pm. The turnout for the 9.30 episodes of The Big Bang Theory was abysmal - I'd admire Nine for trying out sitcoms at 9.30 but is it worth using Big Bang as filler material just as the show has started to catch on - might be better wheeling out one of their other starters like Community (currently on GO!) and seeing what happens.

The big winner on the night was Bondi Rescue on 1.3 million viewers up from 1.1 the week before - a stellar improvement.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Masterchef is breathing new life in Ten's previously moribund 7pm project (966,000) - something that The Biggest Loser was unable to do.

The question is how many of these people are just waiting around for Masterchef to start - we saw similar spikes last year with Neighbours' figures as Masterchef's lead in (though nothing as consistent as 7pm's improvement it must be noted)

Worryingly there is no halo effect for Neighbours and even more worryingly no impact on Good News Week which was polling better in total people earlier in the season, still it won the timeslot in the 18-49 demographic which is Ten's major focus these days.

Still it's a world of difference to Seven stuck with Mondayitis will all of their post Home & Away shows coming down under the million mark - Home & Away is also underwhelming given that it's longest serving cast member just walked away with the Gold Logie the night before.

Nine keeps chugging along nicely with good numbers for all their primetime shows and the continuing good performance of Hot Seat and Nine News versus Seven's Deal or no Deal/Seven News combo.

Today also pulled off a close win against Sunrise 386,000 to 370,000 mostly due to people hoping to see a repeat performance of Karl Stefanovic's legendary post-logies stint last year - I know I was - and I was thouroughly dissappointed in his sobriety :(

Sunday, May 2, 2010

We have nothing to fear from those Golden Statues

The Logies were last night and this lumbering beast of Australian television took a real hit to the nads last night - not so much with it's low Audience - it's had audience lulls in the past - but moreso from the fact that it's competition was successful - it seems the likes of Masterchef, Bones and even Castle have very little to fear from the Logie Awards, they have in past years been an incredible spoiler - disrupting opposing programs by sapping away their audiences for the night of night - last night - devoted auds stuck with their favourites, hell Bones, Castle, The Good Wife, even Merlin (though not directly competing) were all up week on week free of the spectre of Underbelly and perhaps aided by colder weather on the eastern seaboard.