Ten feels pain in rat­ings game

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

CHAN­NEL 10, brave sol­diers, have gone ahead with their 2013 pro­gram launch this week. They have them around the place – Sydney, Bris­bane – and Mel­bourne’s is to­mor­row. I’m go­ing to that one, like you care, and I’m only men­tion­ing it be­cause ob­vi­ously you’ll be need­ing to know the im­por­tant things. Was there enough money for pho­to­copy­ing or did we read the same A4 sheet and then pass it along? Or did they go the other way, be­cause af­ter all this is just one big con­fi­dence game like in real es­tate and the stock mar­ket, and have a giddy, happy, clue­less day like on the Ti­tanic?

Now, I haven’t seen that big Fox movie ver­sion of Ti­tanic – yes, I re­alise this is a ca­reer­lim­it­ing thing to say out loud – but I did see Ti­tanic the mini-se­ries on Seven ear­lier this year, for work pur­poses, which was writ­ten by the same guy who writes Down­ton Abbey, and it was among the worst tele­vi­sion ex­pe­ri­ences of my life.

So I’ll let you know which way the Ten thing winds up go­ing. I’ve been won­der­ing, be­cause there are heaps of shows on Ten I love, just as a per­son who watches tele­vi­sion, and as some­one who does it as paid em­ploy­ment, can Aus­tralia sus­tain three free-to-air com­mer­cial net­works?

I mean, there are still, even now, a lot of us watch­ing tele­vi­sion. View­ing is up on last year, in fact, but try telling ad­ver­tis­ers that, right Ten? And it’s not just Ten. Ad­ver­tis­ing’s stretched for all of them. Nine even had trou­ble with the Olympics. The Olympics, for cry­ing out loud. Those things bleed a net­work dry if you’re not care­ful.

Ten also have a prob­lem now where peo­ple – not us, other peo­ple – for­get about their shows. They can’t ex­actly take out an ad on Seven to tell ev­ery­one to watch some­thing. You’ve got peo­ple sit­ting there with The X-Fac­tor on, though blowed if I know why, and so they just leave it on and watch what­ever’s on af­ter it.

I’m kind of laugh­ing about some of the stuff be­ing said about Ten now, it’s like, poor sods, even their good shows aren’t rat­ing. Ha! As if good shows have ever been re­li­able raters. That’s why the rat­ings sys­tem is so weird. And that’s an­other thing that’s hurt­ing Ten. Or it hurts all of them but Ten are re­ally feel­ing it. OzTAM, the TV rat­ings sys­tem, changed the size of its au­di­ence sam­ple last month. It’s still small though. And Mel­bourne, which has more peo­ple who spend time watch­ing TV than any­where else, still has 50 fewer homes in its sam­ple than Sydney – 900 to Sydney’s 950.

See? Not many, when you think that on any given day around 14 mil­lion peo­ple watch TV at some point. Com­mer­cial TV. OzTAM also started in­clud­ing PCs used to watch TV, but only in 10 per cent of its sam­ple – 350 homes in to­tal. Not a lot, and again, maybe with Ten’s younger au­di­ence it loses there too, I don’t know, but you’d have to say it’s pos­si­ble.

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