ABC most reliable network, Nine worst -readers

TV Tonight readers have spoken. In the Audience Inventory, ABC comes up trumps as the most reliable network in programming. And Nine lands a convincing last.

abclThe ABC is the most reliable network -according to readers of TV Tonight- and Nine the least.

In the Audience Inventory, the public broadcaster was a clear winner in the key question of starting TV programmes on time by a huge 55% win.

It was followed by Foxtel (22%), SBS (11%), TEN (7%), Seven (3%) and Nine (2%).

The question was completed by 99% of the survey respondents, which totalled over 800.

ABC was also first in the question for most reliable overall programming by 53%, followed by Foxtel (18%), Seven (13%), TEN (10%), SBS (4%) and Nine (2%).

But readers slammed Nine for failing to start programmes on time (40%), then Seven (36%), TEN (23%). ABC, Foxtel and SBS all shared 0.3%.

When it came to the question of which network had the most unreliable overall programming the decision was even more harsh.

A whopping 80% voted for Nine.

It was followed by Seven (12%), TEN (6%) , SBS (1%) and 0.5% for Foxtel and the ABC.

There was some recognition for Seven’s ability to reschedule programmes it had pulled off air. It was first in that question, chosen by 34% of readers, followed by TEN (24%), ABC (17%), Foxtel (12%), Nine (10%) and SBS (3%).

Readers were especially vocal on programming issues. Some comments included:

  • I am sick of being treated like dirt by ratings hungry TV networks. Oh and when will the 3 commercial FTAs wake up to them selves and stop trying to copy/out do each other?
  • The Australian FTA networks are pathetic at starting a series, moving it around after just a few episodes, then dropping it because it didn’t get ratings. A show can’t get decent ratings if people don’t know when it’s going to be on from week to week. They don’t even advertise some enough to know they started before they move them to a new time. Some good series have gotten dropped due to these ridiculous programming decisions.
  • I don’t mind what time shows start, just as long as the times match to the EPG, and preferably other guides too.
  • Australian channels need to start programs at the advertised time. You can understand when live sport goes overtime and when a major news event affects programming. But TT and ACA going overtime every night is rubbish.
  • Scheduling and performance of this should be included in the code of practice. Also I have noted that the amount of commericals/promos have increased during the early part of the evening thus causing the scheduling overrun.
  • I absolutely refuse to watch channel 9 anymore thanks to their complete contempt for their audience. And then they can’t figure out why people aren’t interested in their shows.
  • Biggest issue I have with FTA commercial TV is their contempt for the viewers. Overwriting end credits, inaccurate program guides, mixing repeats and first run shows, and many more annoyances. It all boils down to a lack of respect towards the audience.
  • Hardly watch FTA TV except ABC and SBS, just got sick of the changing schedules and wrong start times, the commercial channels treat their viewers with contempt – esp. Nine
  • Ten run their shows overtime very badly, but their EPG does reflect this, eg. 7:31-8:38, so at least their shows can be properly recorded, unlike Seven and Nine.
  • We watch very little FTA TV now, only ABC1 & 2. Not viewing much SBS any more since they started putting ads within programs. Have full Platinum package from Foxtel & couldn’t do without it.
  • Get rid of: *Pop-up ads. *Shows starting late – 99.99% of the time, the station should know how long a show will go for. Would it kill them to inform the rest of us? And yet we keep going back for more… *ACMA
  • I would like more honesty from the networks and less cross promotion crap disguised into shows. Furthermore the ACMA has to do something bar slapping wrists (12 months later)
  • The FTA channels tend to have little regard for their viewers. A good example is the way C9 has handled the demise of ER. The last season was taken off half way through two years ago and since then it has appeared sporadically at best. Another example is the habit of running the last two episodes of a series one after the other on the same night. This often happens with programs such as Amazing Race or similar.
  • Major issues I have with TV Stations is that they always seem to ignore the viewers. We complain about the stations going over time for years but they still do it anyway. I like Good News week but I refuse to watch it now as they always go overtime and not by a little but by a lot.
  • I would like to see the networks actually say when they are axing a show, or when its moving to midnight, at the end of a previous episode so the viewers know whats going on.
  • The most important issue for Free-to-Air TV is that TV programs need to start and finish within 5 minutes of the time in the weekly printed guide, and over-the-air EIT guide data needs to be accurate to the minute.
  • FTA Networks have no clue – they start programs late, they show series that are anywhere from 6 – 12 months old eg TAR on Seven or don’t show it at all eg Survivor on Nine, to many ad breaks, this is why I get the shows elsewhere.
  • It was hard to choose which channel is worst when it comes to programming. It really irritates me that I get a tv guide for the week ahead and it is completely useless- it is rarely accurate for the next days programs, let alone the next weeks. I also like to read the credits, but the screen is always shrunk down so it’s impossible.
  • The programming department at channel nine needs to be put against the wall and shot.
  • Sport involving Australia at an international level (mainly referring to soccer here) should be shown on FTA and live!! All sport should be shown live (I understand there may be some exceptional circumstances).
  • It would be worthwhile for the networks to convene focus groups to determine the ‘image’ of the network, similar to the activity undertaken by Channel 9 in teh late eighties. That produced interesting results with Ch 9 seen as flamboyant, racy and flash, 7 as dependable, suburbian and boring, and 10 as irrelevant – how different it is now.
  • Re FTA channels: Honouring a series once it starts…even if it rates poor find another spot than 1:25am Monday morning.. show a bit of loyalty… (some shows that are just strange like Dance Y.A.O fair enough but like dexter, harpers island etc etc).
  • Make sure the networks get a copy of these results!!

The survey was conducted over a 10 day period in August but is not presented as scientific evidence.

More results will follow soon.

65 Responses

  1. Not surprised by any of the complaints about FTA programming. When 100% of your revenues come from advertising and you’re a company with shareholders your first customer is going to be your paying advertisers…. then the viewer.

  2. Tonight Seven (Sydney) News ended at 6:30. TT started at 6:30. finished 7:04 (4 mins over as usual). H&A 7:04-7:34, Airways 7:34-8:06, Surf Patrol 8:06-8:40 – so PTTR was 10 mins. late. Not to worry, over on TEN NCIS started 13 mins late. Good timing guys as I could switch over to ABC2 for The Beast starting at 8:46.

    Seven/Prime ran 18m40s of commercials & promos between 7:04 & 8:04. Any wonder programs start late when there’s almost 19 mins of non-program content per hour? Whatever happened to the rule of 12 mins + 2 mins promos. “Promos” should be included in advertising time anyway. Most viewers see them as “advertisements” for programs, no different to anything else being sold.

  3. Let’s hope that the FTA stations take notice of this! Going back 8 – 10 yrs ago shows like Aways Greener attracted over 2 million viewers weekly. We don’t see those figures much anymore. Maybe FTA stations need to take on board viewers comments so ratings start to go up…

  4. I don’t think anyone is complaining about things running two minutes late – I think any reasonable person can accept that. What I and everyone else thinks is unacceptable are those delays of 5, 10, 15 minutes or more that are all too common. Indeed, on some channels and with some programmes this is more the rule than the exception. The ABC manages to run its TV and radio stations consistently on time and there is no reason why the commercial networks could not achieve similar levels of punctuality with the vast majority of their programming.

  5. Come on jay jay. The News rarely runs over. As I said, there are interstate stations and regionals expecting to join the network at 6:30:00 or whatever time, from their news. Explain to me how, in this day and age of computers, automation and the ability to “trim” segments and adjust replay time, programs of a fixed international length plus 12mins of commercials and a few mins of promos, can start at 8:35 and end at 9:42 – 68 mins later?
    In the era before computerised logs and automation programs ran very close to time.
    No one’s whining about 2 minutes. Often programs are 12 mins. late.
    “You expect those in presentation to rearrange the schedule” – well what the hell else are they there for? Or don’t you do that anymore, like the old days?
    The news running 2 mins over doesn’t explain 12 mins over by 9:30.

  6. “Ten run their shows overtime very badly, but their EPG does reflect this, eg. 7:31-8:38, so at least their shows can be properly recorded, unlike Seven and Nine.”

    “I like Good News week but I refuse to watch it now as they always go overtime and not by a little but by a lot.”

    Er, that’s not running overtime if it ends at the time it says… Having an “odd ending time” does not equal “running overtime.” As far as I’m aware, there is nothing that states that shows must stick to an hour format and cannot be, say, an hour and 10 minutes.

    As for the survey itself, it’s very interesting but it could’ve been set up better. Anyone could have said that ABC, SBS and Foxtel would do well in the areas it did (if anyone wants a detailed analysis, I’ll provide it) and frankly it was a bit of a waste to include them.

    The numbers are nice to compare to the commercial networks but I would’ve preferred those questions being just at the three commercial networks and being able to see the breakdown between just them three (or a separate survey, in the future). See which commercial networks seem to be doing the best/worst in what areas (in the eyes of the readers of this site, naturally) in comparison to just the other commercial networks and whatnot.

  7. @ James – so what you are telling me is that programmers can predict what will happen in the 1800 news before it happens?! Wowsers! Yes everything is planned in advance but it is all based on estimates – as I previously mentioned.
    If the bulletin runs even 2 minutes over it pushes the entire night out. Advertisers have already paid for their spots so they must go to air. Promos are necessary for channel marketing and also people complain if a show isn’t promoted enough!!
    You expect those in presentation to rearrange the schedule, update the EPG, get the TV Guides reprinted and ensure the broadcast is actually happening all so you can watch exactly on time programmes on a channel that all of you say you don’t watch anyway?! Gee I am blown away.
    They say magic happens in TV but this is just expecting too much. I would hate to be standing next to you if a tram was ever running 2 minutes late. Watch out.

  8. I would rather scratch my eyes out David. LOL

    If shows were only running 3 mins behind i would not be complaining. Its the 5 – 10 mins that are annoying especially if a show you are watching is meant to finish at 10.30 and there is a show you want to watch on another CH which is starting at 10.30. Happens to me nearly every monday night with ch 7 show at 9.30 when i want to watch show on SBS at 10.30.

    Thats why i have a problem Jay Jay.

    Sorry David that is truely my final word on this matter.

  9. It’s extremely evident who are the main offenders of their shows not starting on time. On my IQ2 I always add 20 minutes to the finishing times of the shows I watch on FTA (except ABC and SBS), and just the auto buffer of 2 minutes for all Foxtel recordings. Foxtel has never given me grief in many years of viewing of shows not starting on time. Most of the time Foxtel shows literally start as soon as the minute ticks over to its scheduled start time, and that, is frankly, amazing.

  10. Programs not starting on time – excluding live sports events programmers know how long a show will run, they know how many ads are booked for that time or how many they can fit, it’s simple maths to make it work.

    But now networks are having longer ad breaks, many now 4 minutes long, 5 breaks in an hour and you can see why some shows runs 5 minutes long. On top of this they cut the credits, for more ads/promos and then put up endless pop-ups across the bottom of the screen!

    The networks need to buy a calculator and make sure an 8:30 show starts at 8:30 and not 8:35, 8:40 or 8:45!

  11. I think jayjay must either be working for a commercial station or incredibly naive. Everything on radio and TV is planned well ahead of time and can easily be made to run on time. The networks know how long a programme is and how many advertising slots they can sell and the length of these slots, so there is no excuse for running overtime unless a programme is live and unscripted. TT and ACA do not count as they are made of pre-recorded stories with only the intros done live – all the networks manage to keep their similarly run news programmes within time limits and the ABC manages this with all programming.

    Also, it is perfectly reasonable for viewers to complain about this apparently free service, particularly for two reasons.
    1. The commercial networks rely upon viewers to gain advertising revenue. If they treat their viewers poorly they will go elsewhere, so criticism can only be good for the networks.
    2. The commercial networks do not have a god-given right to broadcast in whichever way they choose because the service is “free”. They are licensed by the government in return for a fee and their compliance with broadcasting standards and regulations. The cost of maintaining their right to broadcast is tiny in comparison to the profits they make and their existence and occupation of part of the TV broadcast spectrum prevents others from entering the market. You could say that broadcasting spectrum is a finite nation resource and I think we have a right to demand that it is used well.

  12. jayjay says – “they are there to provide us entertainment”

    Umm no I think they are there to raise revenue from advertising funds. I would eat my hat if the networks actually put viewers first!

  13. no Im just reasonable and know that Foxtel and FTA aren’t out to get us, they are there to provide us entertainment. They don’t sit around in meetings and try and work out ways to annoy Vanessa by making Days of Our Lives finish 3 minutes early.
    I also know the world isn’t perfect and my life isn’t going to end if Packed to the Rafters starts 2.39 late.
    Im just grateful we have television. I think what we are offered (for free) is amazing.

  14. Michael you’re looking at the most reliable starting time results, not the question on most unreliable overall in programming. They are two different questions.

    Nine had an 80% response for that ahead of Seven on 12%.

  15. Jay Jay says ‘Can you honestly tell me Vanessa that you watch every show on every Foxtel channel every night?’ I never said i did, i said the shows i watch, which are quiet a few, never or very rarely run over time, but on FTA which i hardly watch they always run late. You do the math.

  16. @ Vanessa, Foxtel have the option of filling their breaks with as much promotion content as they desire. They do not have the same regulations as FTA. It all depends on the scheduler and the channel. Some schedulers will let a show run late, others early, others on time. Can you honestly tell me Vanessa that you watch every show on every Foxtel channel every night? Hmmmm, Don’t think so.

    @ Kenny, FTA only finalise the schedule the day before it goes to air. Complete break times cannot be known in advance, they can only be estimated.

    Are you seriously complaining about a programme starting 2 or 3 minutes late? What in life runs to that accuracy? If something is looking at running 5-10 minutes lates, I know most programmers will update their EPGs. Unfortunately they are not magicians and cannot turn back time and reprint TV guides. Make that complaint to the print media that feel the need to print guides 2 weeks in advance.

    This is all so trivial.

  17. @jj and everyone else re running overtime. The networks provide start times well in advance to the regional stations. The regionals, like WIN need this info so they can precisely fit their pre-recorded (Orange, Wagga, etc) local news into the time given by TCN. They also know the start times for the 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 programs etc (7:36, 8:42, 9:36 etc). Today & Sunrise always end exactly on time. The Morning show, 9am, Kerrie Anne always end exactly on time, as does the Morning News, the 4:30 News (as defined by what time the “5pm” program should start -always before 5 with 7 & 9), TEN’s News, the Sunday morning shows, etc., all of which are live. Commercial stations are supposed to only have an average of 12 mins/hr commercials. i.e., can be 13, 11, 12 etc. in consecutive hours. But hey, who’s counting. LOL.
    They can also adjust the playback time of a program in their automation systems to fit a required length. 47 mins of program can be “adjusted” to, say, 44 or 54 mins., and no one notices. No editing. So easy.
    “All FTA stations time their schedules as close to on time as possible”. Gimme a break. Their schedule start times are whatever they want them to be. They can easily adjust +or- 5-10 mins.
    An actual hour of USA program is 44-45 mins. Add the “allowed” max. 12 mins for commercials + a few mins of promos = 60 mins. Why to programs start at 7:35 and end at 8:42?

  18. The ignorance of some people amazes me. Everything on these shows is timed- the stories, the intros, the outros, the promos. Late finishes are by design- it’s a cynical attempt by the commercial nets to grab the viewer and prevent them from straying. The only reason ACA or TT should run overtime is if there is breaking news or an interview is too hot to be cut short. They managed to put their 7pm programmes to air dead on time in the ’70s and ’80s, they can surely manage to do it in the 21st century. Like many others I stopped putting up with this bull***t years ago and seldom watch anything live to air. It’s the networks’ loss.

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