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.