The networks took audiences on nostalgic journeys riddled with controversy in the first week of the 2014 survey year. The premiere of INXS: Never Tear Us Apart and Schapelle were to divide the country.
These were the big guns; the programs that had been promoted throughout the summer period, prepped for the first battle in the war of TV ratings. In the lead-up, Seven’s INXS doco was scheduled to dominate Sunday night with a strong lead-in and minimal competition from Nine. However, on the Friday prior, the news of Schapelle Corby’s impending release from her Bali prison spurred Nine to move their Schapelle doco from Monday night to Sunday; in direct competition with INXS.
This bold move is not to be underestimated, Nine knew that the victor of the Sunday night viewing would be positioned to draw audiences into their programming for the rest of the week and drive viewing for the quarter. With MKR already outperforming The Block: Fan v Faves, Schapelle needed to pull some audience away from Seven however the last minute tactic failed. Ultimately, Australian audiences were much more captivated with one of our greatest ever exports than one of our most infamous.
This win ensured viewers remained tuned into Seven throughout the week, with MKR enticing a mouth-watering 1.95M TTPL on Monday night; 880k more than The Block.
With numbers such as these, it’s difficult not to focus on the rivalry between Seven and Nine, however we cannot forget about the third contender; Network Ten. Much like many of the Australian Olympians competing in Russia, Network Ten is the underdog. However, a New Year means a new approach, which they have announced is a stronger focus on P25-54. The SOCHI Winter Olympics certainly pertains to this ideal, however their decision to lead-in both Sunday and Monday with the SYTYCD goes against the focus with this program skewing younger. The niche program was the lead into SOCHI which has probably suffered. We still have seen an in The Winter Olympics with ONE delivering massive gains in their share and are dominating viewership on the digital channels. Overall this is a positive start for Ten as they have seen a lift YOY in audiences and they have used this platform’s momentum to promote their new upcoming programming. Showcasing the new programming to the wider audience will help them overcome what has been a difficult couple of years.
2014 has gone off with a bang and it’s set to continue to be an interesting, stimulating and explosive year of television. Network Seven’s strong position is one to be reckoned with, with Nine as their strongest adversary. Their weakness is their courage, which needs to be exercised with caution; they must pick their battles and not exhaust their artillery (or their audiences’ patience) by attempting to destroy Seven at every opportunity. Network Ten should continue their charge on the digital channels and the new program line up which is more mature than previous offerings will provide some depth and consistency for the Network. Watch this space; the ever evolving TV market is sure to be one for the history books.
Source: OzTam, consolidated data, metro plus subscription panel, share to selected, 1800-2230, 09/02/14, 10/02/2014 and 10/02/2013