Ten feels pain in ratings game
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.