Free to Air networks are still coming to terms with changes in the 2010 television year: timeshifting data, multichannels, diminishing audiences and disruption from the Olympics.
Amid concerns that their primary channels are being cannibalised by digital channels, some networks and media buyers are delaying judgment until after Easter.
But the signs indicate that total viewer numbers are down and one look at ratings averages is a swift reminder that we all face new yardsticks.
The chief strategy officer with Mediacom, Mat Baxter, has told the Sydney Morning Herald, “You can look at the hero assets of those networks and draw some conclusions … that the jewel in everybody’s crown is no longer as shiny.
”The question is will the sparkle reappear in the [viewing of multichannels] to the degree that is necessary for them to protect their total audience and therefore their revenues. I would say probably not but … I am more than happy to modify my view as more data comes through.”
James Warburton from Seven Media Group acknowledged ”an element of cannibalisation within our core station” but said total audience across his two channels was up.
The variables on why numbers are down are also impacted by Daylight Saving which ends on April 4th, a week before Ratings resume after the Easter break.
Only a few months ago some execs were floating the idea of raising their advertising fees to reflect the extra eyeballs unveiled by timeshifting data. Now they want industry to hold off judgement.
Meanwhile the other hand is taking some of that $250m license rebate.