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. Does ABCs figures represent the first screening of an episode or the cumulative audience for a show during the week? Most ABC shows get at least one rescreening on ABC1 and another on ABC2 during the week.

    As for Ten, this is one household that is now torrenting 90210.

  2. No way will TEN dump their demo focus – there is absolutely no point in them even attempting to try and and win in Total People, that’s Seven’s ground and one for which Nine can battle them for…what they need to focus on IS winning the demo and by a much larger margin

    All networks say that thing’s will drastically change, but things never do…I wouldnt read too much into their promise of ‘big changes in 2009″…it’s all positive hype to try and make their own situation sound better
    They need a new image, new promo, fresh feel, but a new logo is OTT….in the current economic situation, nobody is going to help fund TEN’s necessary cash demands in order to push a whole new logo with the public

    TEN needs to actually promote it’s series…unless your a fan, no way would you even know that Californication was starting tonight or that Supernatural starts tomorrow

  3. All Great ideas. Does anyone else HATE that chicks voice for the promos, she tries to sound sexy but its sooo corny. Ten definitely needs to shape up next year, they need a whole new look (promos, slogans, voice over people.) and to get rid of the seriously stuff. Their news, i think, is great and fairly comprehensive yet contemporary for the younger people who don’t want such hard news like ABC. Hopefully they can produce great new shows next year, or grab some great imported hits. Start the year off big with their current two big reality shows Dance and Loser, and then continue 09 with consistent, good programs. but , we’ll see.

  4. Or would it… These days someone could just as easily check for spoilers online. It also screws up the voting times for programs like Idol, which are listed in AEDT not AEST.

    As for Ten, Something’s going on around here… The BB axing ad, clearly said “we have big plans for 2009”. Whatever those big plans are, as long as it involves dumping the demographic focus, the “teen” look, and rejecting the idea of it’s news being at 5pm, so Ten can target everyone with the emphisis on “Ten News, More news. Less fluff.”

  5. Lots of interesting feedback for TEN here guys! Seems to be a lot of cynicism from the online community. It’s up to TEN to figure out how indicative this is of its wider audience.

    Knuttsy, I can’t see how delays would significantly affect figures. No different to Perth really…

  6. TEN really are in a hole arent they? they are going to be pretty much starting from scratch next year, some of the programs they have commissioned though have just been pathetic, I mean, the toilet humour in “Kenny” the movie wasnt particularly funny after about an hour of the movie, their was no way in hell it was going to be able to sustain a series, Neighbours will have to stay 6pm or later for ten to reach it aussie drama quota, shifting the news to 5.30pm though probably isnt a bad idea with Neighbours at 6.30pm, but then what at 7pm…gosh…so many black holes for them to fill..I wouldnt wanna be working in the programming dept at TEN at the moment..and Nine, bless, I hope they have a Christmas card heading Charlie Sheens way, hes all thats keeping them afloat at the moment!

  7. “Finally, get rid of that ’seriously’ slogan and the video montage thing with the ‘ten’ music with their people and stars. It is really tacky and cringe worthy, and gives the message of a teen network, not an 18-49 network.”

    They’re trying to be “cool” but it’s just embarrassing. I’m so tired of hearing people say things like “seriously, oh my god, totally, awesome, like, I’m so not doing this, etc” It makes me sick.

    10 really gives me a headache, They’re so loud and everything is hyped up. The other day, during every commercial break, Idol was advertised TWICE. Twice each commercial break. They love satuartion don’t they? And coming behind the ABC, which is not a commercial network, really shows how much people resent 10.

  8. I really love these weekly summaries David, they’re quite awesome.

    Anyway, on the Ten issue, I think they completely need to start over as a network. The logo is getting very old now. I don’t think they’ve ever changed it, have they? They need to try new things. It just seems like they don’t care about their audience at all.

  9. Great idea DanR, Entourage would kick ass. This show is the perfect sitcom for blokes, its absurd that a network hasn’t picked it up already. Its about to enter its 5th season. Although, SBS already has the rights to Skins so I doubt Ten would get it off them.

    I also agree these summaries are great. They really put things in an organised way without having to look around at a week’s worth of news.

  10. Such good ideas from these posters above.

    TEN really need to do a complete overhaul for 2009. Start from sratch really. New promo, get rid of the idents from show to commercial, just pop up the show name in the appropriate font. No “Now/Next” info, thats what on screen display is for! New time slots for all shows after 7.30pm. NO PRIMETIME REPEATS. Especially over Easter and School Holidays. Not everyone has kids or goes away, some actually still work and want to come how to new tv shows.

    Dont put their best shows up against other stations best shows, otherwise, they are competing too much, and people will download, or tape one and watch the other.

    If you air a new show, show it in full, dont can it after two epsidoes in Feb, and then expect your audience to come back in December to see the rest of the season. By then, they have downloaded every episode and have caught up with US viewers. PSYCH [TENHD] for example. US is on a break in Season 3, TEN are not even up to mid Season 1, 10 months after it first aired on the SD channel.

    I think they trialled a 7pm news over summer 06/07 , but it left when Biggest Loser commenced. But a good idea to put Neighbours on a 6pm, and news hour at 6:30-7:30pm even if it is a repeat of the 5pm news. I would be watching, I hate Seven and Nine news. It is all sport, and no overseas content due to the battle between each other over how ‘local’ they are with their news.

    Idol has to go after 2008 season ends. No question about it.

    David, I really like these summaries, great site also. Keep it up. 7,9,10 should be RSS feeding this site and read it as often as I do, and many other posters. I know they read it, but they just dont always ‘get it’.

  11. I wish Ten would stop all the dramatic whispering in their promos. It’s almost self parody, and quite off-putting.

    And I also don’t really believe that *every* episode of *every* show is the “one episode you can’t miss!”

    I will not fall for your shallow tactics, Ten.

  12. Jezza of the city

    Interesting about info about shifting the lead in shows for House. If the lead-ins are rubbish I do not watch them, but as long as the main show starts ON TIME, I will watch the main show (eg House). However if the crappy previous program (the lead-in) over-runs, often deliberately, well thats it, you have lost me as a viewer.

    So a message for 10, stop treating viewers with contempt, cos we will make your business go bust.

  13. 6pm TEN news never worked neither did 7pm news on TEN. 5pm news at least makes the top 20 (most of the time). What about live news 5min updates after 6pm till 9 every 15 mins? I wonder when 9 is going to expand to 1hr news? I suppose nothing will change with ACA & TT doing +1.2mil. Come to think of it I don’t think 7nightly news worked at 6.30 either but that was 15 years ago I think?

  14. I for one would definitely watch news on Ten if it was at 6:30. At the moment I come home from work, watch the 6pm news then switch the TV off between 6:30 and 7, because a blank screen is miles above TT/ACA/Neighbours.

  15. This comment has been delayed by one hour

    Pity Dancing isn’t on tonight. The Brisbane figures have been lackluster as of late. It will only get worse as both Idol and Dancing are no longer live into Brissy due to the issue that Bligh and the “Borg” won’t budge on, daylight saving.

    Would live programming figures be affected by this David???

  16. I think 6pm news for ten wouldn’t work, as there is such a domination of 7 and 9 news in that same spot, but they should try moving it to 6.30 with neighbours at 6pm or 7pm, or next best move it to 7pm. I think this would work as there would be people getting home later, due to summer etc, and the abc news ratings appear half decent for their news at 7pm.

    If they don’t want to abandon the 5pm news, they could have a recap news as well. It would also give people who think TT and ACA is garbage (that would be most people) a chance for some actual news in that spot. It is risky, but they need to reinvent themselves.

    Finally, get rid of that ‘seriously’ slogan and the video montage thing with the ‘ten’ music with their people and stars. It is really tacky and cringe worthy, and gives the message of a teen network, not an 18-49 network.

  17. Ten have to bite the bullet and finally address their long term 6pm – 7.00pm problem which gives all their post 7.30pm programming such a headache. With such poorly watched shows as lead ins no wonder they’re battling to draw a decent audience. Maybe they need to put the news back at 6pm, move Neighbours to 5.30 and try Bold and the Beautiful at 7pm? Or Bold at 5pm, Neighbours at 5.30, the hour long news at 6.00 and find something original and compelling for the 7pm slot? You only have to look at how Sunday’s Idol is helped from the good numbers the repeats of Thank God You’re Here are getting to see how effective a strong lead in programme is to the rest of the schedule ….

    Monday’s Idol needs to be chopped to half an hour as the target audience just don’t have the patience for what can be done in 30 minutes being stretched to 60.

    It also beggars belief they haven’t tried to secure programmes such as Entourage, The Tudors and Skins which surely would be good performers in their target demos.

  18. Ouch ,says it all for a lot of network execs.

    Shame they can’t read posts on this site.
    Answers staring them in the face – instead of relying on “itsy bitsy folk with people meters and their own programmers – talk to the REAL viewing public on here and other places.

    Enough of repeats, roll out the Promised programmes AND give them a chance to flourish.

  19. The Ten dilemma is interesting, especially when winners like House still fail to perform. While they argue niche shows like 90210 will get traction over summer, they can’t shift everything into non-ratings to find an audience.

    I tend to agree with a comment made previously here… that there has been so much shuffling that people don’t know when the new episodes are actually on.

  20. Another great summary David. There’s not much to say that hasn’t been commented on during the week.

    Thanks for doing these, they are a great summary of the week that was, much easier to digest on a Sunday compared to a list of the top shows!

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