2008: Let the spin begin

Just five days in to the 2008 ratings season and already there are hits, misses, trends and habits emerging from the big three networks.

Encores are everywhere, and we have one network that has changed the way it spins daily ratings to the media.

So You Think You Can Dance, TEN: The first new hit of the year. Bolstered by a pre-ratings launch, this new series is bursting with dynamic talent and leaving celebrity dancers in its dust. A concerted effort to lift the tone of its auditions is proving a winning formula with viewers. Will only get bigger.

One Day Cricket, Nine: Nine will be smiling that it has plenty more matches to air in February, particularly as a lead in to the 6-7pm timeslot.

CSI, Nine: Still holding strong, it beat the return of Desperate Housewives and CSI Miami hung on too.

Home and Away, Seven: A clear favourite thanks to the ‘Milco’ storyline. Streets, and beaches, ahead of both Two and a Half Men and The Biggest Loser.

Women’s Murder Club, TEN: A great debut for a newcomer. Will it sustain?

The Zoo, Seven: Seems we just love animals, period. There was a significant drop-off after Seven followed with Bush Doctors.

The Chopping Block, Nine: Had a dreadful debut, are we not ready for My Restaurant Rules Too? Can it perform better thanks to ‘encore’ screenings and the absence of SYTYC Dance?

Monster House, Nine: Another poor performance for a big hope. If Nine shifts this to early evenings on the weekend it might do better. Or better yet, trim it by 30 minutes.

It Takes Two, Seven: By Seven’s super-Tuesday logic, this didn’t fire as expected. But then, where are the stars anyway? And Grant, can we talk about the hair?

The Biggest Loser, TEN: Struggling against Seven’s soapie, at an early stage in proceedings. Will it live up to its title?

Two and a Half Men, Nine: Come back Ed and Livinia, all is forgiven.

Sunday, Nine: Ray slept in, and so did the rest of the country with a convincing win to Weekend Sunrise.

Border Security, Seven: For any other show these would be good numbers, but the king of observational docos appears to have been frisked by SYTYC Dance.

It’s not hard to see what performances the networks are unhappy with, with last minute ‘Encores’ frantically scheduled in an effort to build accumulative audiences.

Nine had three repeats of The Chopping Block last week. Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles had a repeat following the premiere of Underbelly, which itself has an “Encore” on Sunday night everywhere but Victoria.

Seven is repeating Lost today. Next week there are more daytime repeats of Desperate Housewives and Dirty Sexy Money. They’ve even planned a Sunday arvo “Encore” of It Takes Two! There were also “Encores” of Grey’s Anatomy and Brothers and Sisters on 7HD.

Use of the word “Encore” continues to misrepresent what is effectively a repeat, with several scheduled before the first-run episode has even aired.

In 2008 the Nine Network has altered the way it issues daily ratings to media. In 2007 the network cheerfully issued a national top ten followed by a local city top ten to press.

After losing the 2007 ratings this is no longer network policy. Now it gives figures only for the PBL East Coast stations, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Nine strategically breaks down the daily results into advertiser demographics: 16-39, 18-49, 25-54, 35-64 and Grocery Buyers & Kids. Significantly, it avoids a share for Total People.

It also announces the nightly Top Ten for East Coast, Syd, Mel and Bris for viewers 25-54, again overlooking Total Viewers.

Nine’s distribution of the figures is said to have been “refreshed” to reflect the target audience of PBL Media.

Nine has had an ongoing problem with the some performances in WIN-owned Adelaide and, particularly, Perth affiliates. It especially bites in the prized 6-7pm slot. When those figures are added to National Nine News / ACA ratings on the East Coast, Nine repeatedly loses to Seven nationally. It is a frustration that blurs the PBL performances, and clearly they have had enough.

Nine is not alone in interpreting the figures in a light that shows its best performance. TEN has a long history of publishing figures in the 18-49 demographic between the hours of 6pm-10:30pm.

The irony is that Nine actually won the first night of ratings, Sunday Feb 10, in national total viewers. Their new format of selective figures failed to indicate this.


  1. I find it quite funny that Nine is now not reporting Total People figures. Seven obviously will but when you look at the breakdown of demo’s, you see the shift in audience; namely, people over 50 who have gone to Seven from Nine…no wonder Seven is the new No. 1. I’d be more interested to see ratings reported on 18-49 as Nine and Ten seem to be doing, as these are more likely to be the people who are keeping tabs on this excellent site, and probably represent more accurately “what we’re watching” & “what we’re ready for”

  2. I love the spin networks do on their shows and ratings.

    With regards to what Nine is doing, I can kinda understand where they are coming from. What we often forget is Nine is only a network by name and affiliates. Unlike Seven and Ten, Nine does not own the whole network – in fact, it never has!.

    I guess PBL Media is reporting on what it has direct control over. The poor performance of Nine News and ACA in Perth is out of PBL Media’s control – especially now that Perth is running its own local version of ACA. It comes down to that corporate view of the world where you only account on what you have responsibility on.

    Television and corporate view of the world – welcome to the new world of TV networks being owned by Equity Funds !!!!

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