Gyngell: “Groundhog Day start to TV year.”

Nine CEO says networks are screening predictable content and viewers are struggling to get excited.


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.

21 Responses

  1. Ironic that in the same week there are stories about cracking down on illegal downloads and then this one…..

    If they played decent content the first story would take care of itself… No one to blame but themselves

  2. All our household want to get from channel 9 is Forever, Gotham, Person of Interest, The Mentalist and Arrow the current season (we don’t all watch the same series), nothing else, no reality, no NRL, no cricket, no news, no current Affairs, nothing, just those six dramas. Not too much to ask

  3. The take-up for Stan probably has something do with the fact that it is free this month.
    Once Netflix is launched and they are both charging you can start talking about how impressive the subscriber numbers are.

  4. When you get hammered as hard as Nine for trying something else – like Gallipoli, it doesn’t encourage them to challenge the safety of Groundhog Day. And that’s a pity. The schedules do feel samey, but this audience attrition is only going to get worse if they don’t take more risks.

  5. “The people with panels in their homes are really early adopters of new technology”

    Really? I don’t think that’s how it works. The OzTAM panel is supposedly selected by demographic sampling, not whether or not they are “early adopters” of anything, technology or otherwise. If that’s the case then the ratings system mustn’t be the high benchmark of market research that we were led to believe it was.

    I think 9 just needs to admit they stuffed up the scheduling of Gallipoli. Putting on “after The Block” doesn’t help. Probably would have been better on Sundays, but needs to be at a fixed time. Despite what networks say, timeslots still matter.

  6. “The people with panels in their homes are really early adopters of new technology” – Then they’re not reflective of the wider population and the system has a problem. The Networks major problem is people not watching tv at all or watching very little. They need to stop chasing each other and work on the bigger problem of getting audiences back. That’s harder as the alternatives are substantially better.

    1. Exactly. I rarely watch 9 (if they still had test patterns I’d probably watch that more than 9 – and I used to work there back in the very early days).

      Maybe, instead of extending their boring reality shows to run for hours, they could consider going back to the good old 7.30/8.30/9.30 timeslots. If they had some decent programs people would probably actually flock back to these timeslots.

      I’m so over television at the moment.

  7. Don’t forget the repeats of Big Bang and Two and a Half Men…………being so old they would have had multiple scratches now if they had of been on film.

    Now they are on a hard drive or video tape.

  8. Nine has the narrowest offering out there…… Block, Block and Block spin off (and oh an MKR copycat show is coming too) – and he has the gall to complain about groundhog day. He’s trapped in the cycle man!

  9. His comments wont change anything. Gone are the days of comedy and drama from 7:30pm weeknights. It will still be 60-90min stripped reality for the next few years until they run out of stream on the alread stale formats. I doubt I will ever subscribe to Stan, Presto or any other ‘old content’ streaming services. It’s only good for people who want to rewatch a favourite, or finally get to watch a full season of shows that FTA screwed over in time slot changes and cancellations.

  10. Just a thought: Gallipoli is a great drama that is well crafted serious drama with high production values and beautifully put together. Shows like that which need your undivided attention, not bombarded by 3:30 – 4 minute ad breaks, and need to start exactly on the advertised time. If you’re going to have ad breaks during these “groundbreaking” shows, keep the ad breaks smaller and put the price up for the spots.

    I’ve been watching via Stan and enjoying the flow of no ads interrupting the show. It keeps the drama and suspense in, rather than being interrupted by a miracle weight loss story promo for ACA.

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