Ready for the ratings J-Curve

2014-08-21_1008In the ratings game it’s great to get solid figures for the premiere of your new show.

But it’s even more telling to see the numbers for your second week. That shows you just how many viewers came back for more, and how many may have already moved on. It’s not uncommon at all to lose viewers in week two on air and there’s a trend called the J-Curve that symbolises a show starting well, immediately dropping then slowly rebuilding through word of mouth.

Last Wednesday there were three new seasons on the landscape: Utopia, Reality Check and Wonderland. Two of them lost viewers this week.

Utopia lost 181,000 viewers and Reality Check lost 167,000, while Wonderland increased ever so slightly by 13,000. However -and this is crucial- Utopia‘s lead in When Julia Met the Doctor was 230,000 less than what QI had in the same timeslot a week ago.

Nevertheless, Seven network won the night with 31.4% then Nine 28.2%, TEN 20.4%, ABC 15.3% and SBS 4.8%.

Seven News (1.05m / 991,000) was best for Seven then The Force (1.01m), Home and Away (906,000), Border Security (905,000), Criminal Minds (879,000 / 665,000) and Million Dollar Minute (530,000).

Nine News (1.12m / 1.1m) topped the night. Next for Nine was The Block (1.06m -a second episode in 2 cities was 444,000), ACA (1.04m), and Hot Seat (633,00). Big Bang in 3 cities was 338,000 / 250,000. Movie: The Tourist was 245,000.

On TEN The Project was 649,000 / 526,000. The Bachelor was 640,000, TEN Eyewitness News was 593,000, Wonderland was 532,000 and Extant was 227,000.

ABC News (742,000) led ABC then 7:30 (607,000), Utopia (597,000), When Julia Met the Doctor and QI (both 451,000), Reality Check (392,000) and a repeat of Head First (268,000).

Wild Arabia (272,000), 24 Hours in Emergency (237,000), SBS World News (134,000) and Borgen (101,000) made up SBS ONE.

7TWO’s well-promoted Lewis led multichannels at 287,000.

OzTAM Overnights: Wednesday 20 August 2014


  1. Reality Check is a great idea, poorly executed. Three million australians watch reality TV each night and to reduce that audience to under 400k is weak to say the least. I doubt anyone on the panel could name a current contestant or storyline, as a viewer the panel seem to look down on those who enjoy reality and thus they feel the need to expose the workings of the format which really are not that interesting. i.e. contestants on The Block don’t get much sleep. Its mentioned in practically every episode.

  2. My problem with Reality Check is the first 10mins just feels like a recap show of trashy Aussie reality. I don’t need to see more than x1 clip of The Block, or to sit through The Voice Kids finale clip. More experts, Dicko & Amity was a bad move. Won’t be back for 2nd season unless big shake up.

  3. Last week I’d all but decided to give up on Under the Dome and Extant, but gave them both one last shot this week. I’m glad I did! Both where vast improvements on previous weeks.

  4. Yes, something i forgot to say: more Dicko on Reality Check! In fact, more of him on TV generally…someone not afraid to tell it like it is.

  5. For a group of people who love Television enough to visit a blog about it……… There sure is a lot of hate poured out into these comment threads.

    I really like Reality Check, I love reality TV, but I also have a sense of humour (unlike most people in here) – Plus it’s only the second episode of Tom Ballards TV career. I’m sure no one else nailed their job the second day???

  6. Actually while flicking through some very mediocre choices after 7.30 last night I stumbled on Wild Arabia last night on SBS. Looked awesome, may need to do an online catch-up to see what I missed.

    Utopia is OK but just lacks some of the sharpness of Hollowmen or Frontline.

    Reality Bites… I’ve watched the first 2 episodes. Probably won’t go back for episode 3, although I did enjoy Julie Goodwin on episode 1

  7. Loved Wild Arabia. Such a great Series. I am also enjoying Wild Burma and will enjoy Wild France. When Commercial channel offers little, SBS keeps me going with some informative and in my opinion exciting documentaries 🙂

  8. I am enjoying Utopia – not outstanding but still well worth watching.
    Entertaining, clever and astute – the “rusted on Public Service mentality” running through the show never fails to raise a wry smile.

    Don’t mind Reality Bites -it’s mildly entertaining but nothing special.
    Agree with others here about Tom not being funny in the slightest.
    Would be better with another host.

    Liks so many panel shows , highly dependent on what guests they have on each week – Dicko is always good value as he tells it like it is.

    Agree with @Secret Squirrel about Marion Farrelly – she is coming across as quite fake and not genuine at all.
    Some of her comments are hard to swallow – the saedonic look on Dicko’s face at times said it all.

  9. Secret Squirrel

    The worst thing about Reality Check is that I find very little of what Marion Farrelly says to be credible. I hope that she’s not on again next week.

  10. Can I say the beginning of that “J” has a lot to do with the much-ridiculed, “second-class journo”, misunderstood, oft sworn at (journos, producers, talent…) hard working legends that are television publicists. They bring the viewers in, then the show has to live up to expectation.

  11. The typical pattern is a show is hyped for the premiere and lots of people check it out live. Week 2 some people either don’t watch it or record it drops, and then drops a tiny bit more for week 3 giving its stable audience for the rest of the season. A 10% drop is very good, a 30% drop is very bad. Most shows sit in the middle.

    The J shape is getting rarer because viewers have lots of choices available and won’t give a show time to iron out any kinks.

    Word of mouth works for quality shows that are not hyped, or run against popular shows or are buried away somewhere many people don’t see them. For a hyped popular show word of mouth just reduces the drop.

  12. Michael Young

    Last night… watched Home And Away, recorded Extant and then watched Real Humans that we recorded Tuesday night … everything else on last night was of no interest at all! Hate Wednesday night FTA!!! Except for all the Meerkat adds. 🙂
    Oh, almost forgot, fast forwarded through recording of Winners And Losers from this week … it is just dull now!

  13. @barrington bumbaclaart

    I agree, I have only seen the first ep of Reality Check but I was looking forward to some love/hate action and it doesn’t seem to be there. They need one for and one against, who clash a la Todd and Russell on Gruen, and then someone in the middle who can just explain the conventions each week.

  14. I can see Extant moving to 10.30 on those numbers. I am surprised ABC is showing repeats of an earlier season of Head First when the first run series was such a flop.

  15. David I feel for your desperation for a ratings heading at the moment…..(But I still I like your angle)…there is nothing much happening at the moment. the Block should be killing it with the average competition…but it appears views are getting bored.

    And Ten’s offering post Comm games is just pathetic.

    Yep – Utopia…not the usual Working Dog standard…(bring back Thank God You’re Here)….Wonderland…it is soap…should be at 6pm on a digital channel….and Reality Check……why would people who are into reality TV watch it when it takes the piss…and why would people who are not into reality TV watch it…..when they hate reality TV.
    Plus Tom is not funny….sorry Tom!!!

  16. barrington bumbaclaart

    I think both Utopia and Reality Check’s curve will be more like a straight descent than a J. Utopia will need to bust out something new next week rather than regurgitating the same plot three weeks in a row. As for Reality Check, the show doesn’t appeal, doesn’t work and isn’t catering for those on either end of the love reality / loath reality spectrum. It sits unambitiously in the middle and lacks any teeth to be anything more than a lighthearted (read, boring) clip show.

  17. I found When Julia Met the Doctor quite uninteresting, I don’t know what I was expecting really, but it wasn’t keeping my attention.

    Utopia was once again very clever and ABC’s best new comedy in a while. I have not been a fan of many of their recent shows in the past 18 months.
    I still don’t know if i should bother with Reality Check, I know I won’t be missing out on anything should I drop it. I’m not finding Tom Ballard at all funny.

  18. I am sick to death of Ten’s excessive promos for Wonderland. If they have to try so hard to get viewers to watch it, maybe they shouldn’t have renewed it.

  19. Australians are pretty underwhelmed by what’s on offer right now. The only scheduled content I bothered with was Utopia which I thought held up really well.

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