Nine CEO David Gyngell yesterday told media that audiences were largely unexcited by TV offerings so far this year and it was up to networks to deliver compelling content.
His comments in the third week of TV ratings follow lacklustre numbers for Gallipoli and a sluggish start by The Block.
“It hasn’t been a exciting start to the year. We’ve had House of Hancock which has been great and Gallipoli which hasn’t been great for us, but great for Stan,” he said.
“Outside that, I don’t see a lot which is exciting, and a lot of you as viewers would say the same thing.
“There’s a little bit of ground hog day going on when you look across the schedules at 7:30pm.
“Television at the moment, there’s nothing really popping that hasn’t popped before.
“There is an onus on us to evolve new content into next year with a different story and that’ll sit across a variety of genres,” he said.
“We’ve got a mature schedule and we’ve got to do something about it.”
But he did acknowledge the success of Seven’s My Kitchen Rules.
“There’s a big show at the moment and Seven have done a fantastic job with My Kitchen Rules but you’re all looking at it like it’s not down double digits which it is, it’s down double digits on last year,” he said.
Yet whilst he praised the quality of Gallipoli he admitted to being disappointed by the low ratings.
“Gallipoli is my biggest disappointment for the year,” he said.
“Everyone’s research panels across the country said Gallipoli was going to be the biggest thing on television, and it hasn’t been.”
He also said he was staggered by the speed of take-up by Stan subscribers, noting many could potentially be OzTAM panel members because they had been primed for technological change.
“The people with panels in their homes are really early adopters of new technology so they’re attracted to services like Stan,” he said.
“So we think there’s been a better than reported audience for Gallipoli, but those who are impacting on the OzTAM ratings are seeking the show out on that platform, meaning the numbers are being thrown out.”
He described Better Call Saul as an obvious acquisition given Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad were the two biggest downloaded shows in the world, and scoffed at TV executives elsewhere who had not aggressively pursued it.
Nine is also developing a new, undisclosed Drama series.