OzTAM coding set to become industry issue

Network habits of coding single programmes into separate titles with ratings body OzTAMcould become the next battlefield.

Network habits of coding single programmes into separate titles with ratings body OzTAMcould become the next  battlefield.

Historically programmes would attract a single figure for a single programme, regardless of length or content.

But in recent years networks would code finales and “event television” as separate titles with OzTAM.

Last year when Adam Liaw won Masterchef, the show “The Winner Announced” netted a preliminary figure of 3,962,000 viewers,

“Masterchef Australia – Finale Night” averaged 3,542,000.

While viewers watched a single programme according to their EPG, the strategy netted TEN a figure closer to its “Peak” audience, and significantly, plenty of headlines about 3.96m viewers instead of 3.54m.

This week Celebrity Apprentice‘s Grand Final was coded as three shows: “The Winner Announced: (1,617,000), Boardroom (1,312,000) and Challenge (1,057,000), all in a single showing.

Seven has used the strategy for shows such as The X Factor and the AFL Grand Final.

But Nine went a step further recently when it regularly coded Monday and Wednesday night episodes of Celebrity Apprentice as two shows each.

Rather than applying the strategy for a finale, it employed it across the series.

Sources tell TV Tonight that networks may consider employing the practice across other shows if their competitors continue to code standard episodes in this way.

In theory there might be no limit to how many segments comprise a stand-alone show.

While media buyers are able to view minute by minute ratings, one said that if the practice was to become widespread networks would need to start setting separate rates for each coded segment of their shows.

11 Responses

  1. Yep pretty soon the top 10 shows will include Seven News, Seven News-Sport, Seven News – weather, Nine news, Nine News – Sport, Nine News – weather, Today Tonight – story 1, Today tonight – story 2.
    It’s stupid and it needs to be stopped, because in reality there is nothing stopping the networks from coding news into these segments.

    OZTam is about as useful as ACMA anyway so doubt it’ll change.

  2. I agree with Bogues. One figure that’s an average for the whole show with a separate table of peak numbers. That would give the networks their headlines but keep the other numbers comparable across all programs.

    Given that we’re only allowed to have the top 20 now, the value of that would be substantially reduced if the first 10 positions were all occupied by differently coded parts of only 4 programs.

  3. I thought they already were selling separate rates for each coded segment. If they aren’t already then it would make sense to start. Why should a company pay for an commercial to be aired at the start of the program when an opposite company could pay the same amount to be aired towards the end with an extra half a million ‘people’ watching?

    I think 2 coded segments are fine but Nine’s tactic of coding the CA finale into 3 was just over the top.

  4. The trouble is while this flawed and unfair system of “estimating” the amount of people watching the show remains as ‘the gospel truth’ the worse these types of practices will evolve..

    What next? The middle third of a program is axed because its ratings are lower than the start and end? Fair dinkum

  5. In NZ, the ratings organisation release average figures (like oztam) and peak figures for a show. Maybe oztam could do the same. Would solve the problem in my books.

    I suspect the reason that CA was split was a lot of viewers were changing channels at 7:30 to watch other shows.

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