ABC beats TEN as Seven wins

It was the week that American critics began to knife Kath & Kim (officially), ABC told staff it would cut up to 35 production jobs, Nine denied having a contract with the wife of a convicted crim, an actor lambasted his former soap, Today Tonight announced its next host would be a sports presenter and said its film crew helped -not hounded- an interviewee, Seven ‘streamlined’ its Lotto results, buyers eyed a key production company, the Imparja / Nine Darwin deal fell apart, a TV critic died, and suddenly so did a former host / variety performer died suddenly causing the Today show to run the wrong footage of one of his performances.

And it was another win for Seven with a 29.9% share over Nine’s 26.1% and TEN’s 19.1% The ABC had 19.4% while SBS had 5.5%. Seven won in all cities.

For TEN the week was a disaster, finishing fourth behind the ABC –and the ABC had normal programming too. Nor did it win any demographic coming second to Nine’s win in 16-39, third to Nine’s win in 18-49 and third to Seven’s win in 25-54.

TEN has now dropped three shows from its schedule in seven days: Taken Out, 90210 and Bondi Rescue: Bali.

Excluding weeks with Olympic events it was also TEN’s lowest share in official survey weeks all year, even lower than when it had Big Brother. TEN remains in front for the year on 16 – 39 –but its target audience is actually the lucrative 18-49 for which it is currently third.

Top show for the week was Seven’s Packed to the Rafters with 1.83m viewers. A drop so minor could indicate that while viewers are not necessarily compelled to see every minute of every episode, they remain loyal and keep coming back. Together with Find my Family, RSPCA Animal Rescue and All Saints, the Aussie content helped ensure Tuesday as a powerful network night. Monday was close behind with City Homicide, The Force and Border Security all winners. Also performing strong were Seven News, Today Tonight, Medical Emergency, Crash Investigation Unit, Criminal Minds, Home and Away and Better Homes and Gardens. Dancing with the Stars had a modest rise, though wisely Seven won’t even let it compete with the NRL Grand Final tonight. The return of Out of the Question copped a big drop from its Bones lead-in. Private Practice has concluded and clearly doesn’t enjoy the following of Grey’s Anatomy. Despite lighter followings for its Thursday line-up, Seven still managed to win the night.

Two and a Half Men was again Nine’s biggest drawcard –topping Wednesday with 1.65m viewers. The 7pm edition is so consistent it is level-pegging Home and Away and prompting Nine to plug other holes with it elsewhere in its schedule. Aside from 60 Minutes it’s hard to find any other big total audiences by the network. Meanwhile, Fringe has held across its first three weeks and The Triangle did well for its lengthy screening. Yet so uneventful was the week that Nine’s own Ratings Report didn’t even highlight any results in Total People (it always does), instead focussing only on wins in demographics. But the real message for Nine last week was the appalling return for the NRL Footy Show Grand Final –just 319,000 viewers. After a year in which many were suggesting its time was up, where to for 2009?

Where to start with TEN’s week? The best news was from NCIS with 1.32m viewers and Australian Idol’s 1.20m on Sunday –it could also lift now Doctor Who is gone. A repeat of Thank God You’re Here managed 1.04m (can they twist Working Dog’s arm for a 2009 season?). After that it was almost all downhill. Monday’s Idol was beaten by Top Gear Australia. Rush is yet to establish any grip on its timeslot despite a good lead-in. House’s brand new season is proving a maddening puzzle to the network (it’s switched leads from this week). Friends at 7pm hasn’t addressed the timeslot problems experienced by Taken Out. Blame 2.5 Men for that? Even The Simpsons has been losing ground –its new episode didn’t even make Tuesday’s Top 20. The downturn wasn’t quite so dramatic over in Rove territory. While neither his Sunday show nor Fifth Grader topped 900,000 at least they haven’t halved their audiences like some of TEN’s other shows. TEN needs some cultural changes to appease a disillusioned audience (many of whom resort to downloading when their show disappears) which it is unlikely to do before 2009. Could it even be time for a new branding? Whichever way it moves this will be a delicate shift. Its audience is probably responding to the fact there have been too many changes already…

It was a great week for the ABC, taking third place ahead of TEN and without any stunt programming. Doctor Who was the top show for the week with a terrific 1.20m viewers, even beating Idol. Midsomer Murders beat Nine and TEN too. Also strong were Spicks and Specks, ABC News, Taggart, The 7:30 Report, Australian Story, Enough Rope with Andrew Denton, The Hollowmen, Catalyst, Two in the Top End, The Einstein Report and The Bill.

Top Gear Australia launched to 933,000 viewers which the network said was its biggest audience for a locally produced programme. It was nominally down on an old UK episode the week before. A passionate audience has had much to say on radio, print and online –how many will return this week? Newstopia’s third season premiered to 142,000.

Week 40

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35 Comments:

  1. You see heaps of ad’s if you watch Channel Ten then you might see the ad’s, but considering their now recording some of their worst audience share’s ever then it’s little wonder Californication just recorded it’s lowest numbers ever
    It is being showed later that last year, but only by 30mins…it doesnt explain the massive slump

    Bee, whilst that sounds like a good plan, TEN need something fresh and not another re-used series
    But Scrubs sounds great to me (and has potential with more new ep’s on the way)

  2. I don’t think axing Idol is a good thing to do…I mean, they’re getting 1.2-1.3 million on Sunday’s shows. I just think they need to completely re-format the show. It’s gotten old, boring and tired. I think audience still like the idea of choosing an idol etc, it’s just the judges, elimination format, themes etc. that lets it down. It’s just, not the way to go if they’re thinking of axing it. But DEFINITELY change the show around. And not Big Brother style, because that was not different at all. Take risks, Ten, come on.

    Also, what are you talking about Neil?! I’ve seen heaps of ads by Ten for both Californication and Supernatural.

  3. Maybe Ten should look into buying a show like Will & Grace or Scrubs for the 7pm timeslot – something that was screwed over by another channel and that people are re-living through dvds – the amount of people I know that are Scrubs fans, but they all have to buy the dvds because it got screwed by channel 7. Also, if they start showing Simpsons episodes at 6pm past season 8 (which I must admit they have started doing, with some later episodes coming in last week once it replaced Taken Out).

    They have to start committing to shows. I’m royally p*ssed off about 90210!! I won’t bother starting to watch shows if that’s the way they are going to keep treating them.

  4. A couple of years ago I rarely used to change the channel off 10 and now I find myself with nothing to watch on any channel! About the only thing they have introduced recently that I thought was good was their ‘seriously short ad breaks!’

    Totally agree about their promos too – how often do you tune into the show and find that the promo actually has ZERO to do with the storyline?

  5. Great point Benno, they need to promote the actual story line and the show and not the characters. Channel 7 does excellent promos, they make every show seem like a blockbuster movie

  6. They should look at the american promos on youtube. I remember watching a promo for the house episode where they treated a patient in antarctica, and their promo was crap, while the fox one was very well done and created a lot of drama. The worst types of their promos end with something along the lines of:

    ‘ What will (some character) do that will make (main character) snap’
    ‘It’s an episode that will change (character) forever’
    ‘(character) is getting a reputation of being a bad (boy/girl)’
    ‘…..you won’t believe…..’
    ‘has (character – especially a cop) crossed onto the wrong side of the law?’

    There are so many more dodgy promos. They should also focus more on the story, and less on the character.

  7. Totally agree on the promo’s!! Same promo department doing the same thing over and over and over….get some new voice overs, get rid of the crap “just too much good stuff out there to ignore” station promo and run the programs on time…surely that’s a pretty simple formula?

  8. It’s simple. The audience is sick of trashy television. I think audience creativity/participation is the way to go. But participation that goes deeper than just texting a number to get Travelina booted out of the house.

    Sites like MySpace etc attract ‘Generation Y’ because the audience gets to create the content. Perhaps a show that involves audience creativity but not necessarily a panel of nasty judges is the way to go. Look at the response ‘The Gruen Transfer’ got on it’s “make your own ad” site – 10,000 videos were uploaded.

    I thought Ten was going in the the right direction with the “Download” but the show is trashy and appeals to the big brother audience. Make a show called “Y Create” or something, put it on at 6pm and let the audience make it. Get Myspace or Youtube to sponsor it.

    Channel Ten’s target demographic are very creative. I say use it. Let the audience make the show and they will love you for it. P.S. Don’t get Kyle Sandilands to host it.

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