Rat­ings by Num­bers

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

SO YOU’VE had two days to ab­sorb Count­down. I’m not go­ing to ask what you think of it. He’s no Richard More­croft, is he, Jeff Stelling? I don’t seem to re­call Richard More­croft ever ex­press­ing any in­ter­est in Lily Serna’s trousers. Of course, I didn’t look at it that of­ten — Richard made me feel as if I was in the head­mas­ter’s of­fice. And that was the prob­lem, ap­par­ently — not enough of us watched it (now, if they’d done what they did with Count­down and in­stalled a sports guy in the chair— I’m think­ing Craig Fos­ter — things would’ve been dif­fer­ent).

Are rat­ings a con­sid­er­a­tion at SBS? From a net­work that brings us the Urdu News? Which I’m happy about, as happy as a nonUrdu speaker can be, but there are plainly fac­tors be­sides au­di­ence size at play there. But SBS has spon­sors. Stake­hold­ers. I’m sorry, I hear ‘‘ stake­hold­ers’’, I see vam­pires.

The com­plaints flooded into SBS when they axed Let­ters and Num­bers, which some­how didn’t rec­on­cile with the tiny num­ber of view­ers SBS thought it had. I think of this as be­ing very sim­i­lar to Mad Men. Only on a ter­rif­i­cally less sig­nif­i­cant scale. No­body watches Mad Men. Yet ev­ery­one talks about it. Let­ters and Num­bers is noth­ing like Mad Men. Ex­cept in this: its im­pact was wider than its au­di­ence reach. Mainly this says some­thing about Aus­tralia’s TV rat­ings sys­tem, and how small and ex­clu­sive the sam­ple is. Why didn’t SBS just tweak what was a re­ally well-liked show — be­cause don’t tell me it re­ally was a shock when they got all those com­plaints — and turn it into a win­ner? And here’s a ques­tion: is it bet­ter to have bread and but­ter shows, such as Let­ters and Num­bers, or one or two big hits a year, like the Tour de France and Go Back to Where You Came From? It looks as if they’ve de­cided they can’t do both. And by bet­ter I mean for us watch­ing at home. Be­cause we’re who they’re do­ing it for, af­ter all. Aren’t we?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.