The ratings year has ended. We’re in for a long, hot summer of silly telly -with a few exceptions.
The commercial networks have managed to put a positive spin on the year, with some creative publicity releases.
But here is the view from how TV Tonight sees it…
Historically we have always viewed the annual win based on weeks won. This year Seven won 28, Nine won 11 and there was one tie between them.
In any year when there are unusual events such as Commonwealth Games or Olympics, two weeks are normally deducted. That would put Seven’s win at 26 weeks. Strictly speaking, the Olympics factored into four weeks of ratings this year, with the Opening Ceremony on August 8 and the Closing Ceremony on August 24. So that would bring Seven’s win down to 24 weeks. It’s still double Nine’s position.
Seven started the year somewhat slugglishly, picked up in the middle and thundered home in the second half of 2008. Post-Olympics, it only lost one week to Nine. Seven is claiming #1 in drama, news, current affairs, primetime and breakfast television.
Compared to 2007, when it only won 2 weeks, Nine had a big improvement. It more than gave Seven a run for its money in the first half of the year. Had it not been for an Underbelly ban, it would have picked up a lot more traction, and possibly a few extra weeks.
Nine has, however, found gold in the final results, winning the coveted 18-49 and 25-54 advertiser-friendly demographics. Nine says it is also the only (commercial) network to pick up its audience share on last year, by 1.4% with Seven down 2.1% and TEN 3.8%/ But after its dismal 2007 is that much surprise?
TEN’s good news was a win in it’s heartland 16-39 demo, its eighth in a row. This is despite it targeting 18-49. Like Nine, it started the year much better than it finished. TEN again won daytimes for the second year in a row. But the bottom completely fell out of TEN’s pants in the second half of 2008, frequently landing under 20% share in ratings weeks, plus one loss behind the ABC. Comparatively, 2008 was TEN’s worst performance in years.
And when it comes to spin, the execs were there with upbeat outlooks:
Nine’s David Gyngell said, “The figures are very gratifying because they deliver on our pledge a year ago to target the three key demographics aggressively.
“Our sustained growth measured against significant losses by our competitor networks has restored viewer and advertiser confidence in the Nine brand, and it signals we are very much back in the game. That achievement is due in no small part to the determination of Michael Healy and his program and development department in focusing on programming for the key demographics.”
TEN’s David Mott said, “TEN had a superb result in the first half of the ratings year, including growing our audience for popular shows The Biggest Loser Australia and Bondi Rescue, and successfully launching the year’s winning new entertainment format So You Think You Can Dance Australia.
“Our second half line-up provided an appealing schedule and, in particular, demonstrated that TEN is unstinting in our commitment to offering fresh local programming to our audience,” he said.
“TEN’s new Australian drama Rush gained traction –putting us firmly back on the Australian drama map– while some of the new shows quite simply performed below expectations in a highly disruptive period. As a result, we did not regain the level of momentum post-Olympics that had been established earlier in the year.”
Seven’s head of programming Tim Worner said, “We have nine of the top 10 programs on television in 2008 and we move into 2009 with the strongest line-up of programs in Seven’s history.”
Oh and the ABC and SBS? They don’t care about ratings, now do they…?
2008 Ratings share
(6pm-midnight, weeks 7–48 excl Easter and Olympic Games)
See also: 2008: The Top 200