Why 9:01 is a TV exec’s worst fear

All of us, at one stage or another, have been dead keen to see the TV ratings first thing in the morning to see how our favourite show performed.

But what if your job depended on it doing well? That’s the grind every day for Television executives, who are given the often ugly news that they flunked at their job. Come rain, hail or shine, execs must face the rest of the day knowing with a set of numbers burnt into the front of their brain.

True, they are paid handsomely for such challenges, but there are days when you probably wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. And everybody else is an expert in hindsight.

Speaking at a Block media event on Wednesday, Nine’s Head of Content Production and Development Adrian Swift gave some insight into what it’s like in the executive office.

“All of us at Channel Nine get up in the morning and thank our lucky stars that The Block exist,” he told guests.

“We as programmers all live in terrible fear of 9:01 every morning when the ratings come in. All year we quake as we press the little button that says ‘open.'”

“Sometimes we are proven to be geniuses, and more often than not… not. But when The Block starts, it is literally like a Monty Python parting of the clouds and the sun coming through. This is our golden goose. It’s the show we come to every year that is beautifully made, beautifully produced and tells wonderful stories of genuine achievement. We’re immensely proud to have The Block on our schedule.”

Swift went on to thank producers Julian Cress, David Barbour, Justin Sturzaker and the show’s 150 staff before citing some impressive stats for the 14th season:

  • Highest rating launch in 4 years
  • 1.5m viewers average per episode (incl regional)
  • 1.9m high episode in bathroom week (incl regional)
  • 100 million minutes of content streamed
  • 2.6m stream starts on 9Now
  • 7 million visits to The Block website
  • 500,000 page views in 24 hours for Hayden & Sara’s master ensuite reveal
  • 21% increase Facebook
  • 58% increase Instagram

“It is consistently the #1 show in the country, but what is really important to us at Channel Nine is the 25-54 demographics are unbelievable. The reality is kids love The Block,” Swift continued.

“And integration is the hardest thing to do in the world. To tell a story about products in a way that makes sense to the audience is the hardest thing in the world. This show does it better than anyone.”


  1. I could be interpreting it wrong. But perhaps when Swift talks about the strong demos, he may be referring to all of Nines delivery platforms combined. (catchup, social media etc.)
    Not just the FTA audience. So for example… I only engage with the ABC through iview, never through its FTA broadcast. Is that still watching TV?. I suspect social media probably drives most of these shows which gives them, that winning formula.

  2. important to us at Channel Nine is the 25-54 demographics are unbelievable. The reality is kids love The Block,” Swift continued.

    Yet to many meet many kids in their early 50s lol

      • I’ve alluded to this elsewhere, but…

        Overall FTA audience age demos:
        0-19 : ~22%
        20-39 : ~26%
        40+ : ~52%

        Population age demos:
        0-19 : 24.8%
        20-39 : 27.8%
        40+ : 47.7%

        Not a lot of difference there. I don’t buy the narrative that “the kids are all watchin’ the You Tuber and Vim-E-O and playing the video games”. TV audiences sizes are down all over; they’ve just lost less in the 40+ demo. And that’s mostly due to the 55+ demo hanging on.

        FWIW, that data comes from Oztam & the ABS.

        • I work with teenagers and when I asked recently who watched TV, there was barely a ripple. They watch TV shows online, but as far as sitting down and watching something on an actual TV set, that’s becoming more and more unusual amongst teenagers. I ask the same question every year and the number of teenagers who watch TV is dropping very quickly….

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