Tried and true works for 7TWO
SOMETIMES it is more interesting to look at the things people are not watching than the things they are.
Because no matter how big the ratings juggernaut, there is always a smaller percentage watching something else.
According to the latest ratings data from Freeview, the people who rebel against TV’s most popular programs show their defiance by watching repeats of Heartbeat ( pictured).
The second most popular show on the multichannels is Neighbours on Eleven, which is hardly surprising, but how has this long-running soap been beaten by repeats of Heartbeat at No. 1?
The ratings report on the free-to-air multichannels for July showed 7TWO has ousted GO! as the top multi with seven of the top 10 programs for the month.
Of 7TWO’s top-rating shows, three are repeats of British series Heartbeat from Saturday, Wednesday and Monday nights, two are repeats of British series Doc Martin from two different nights, one is repeats of British crime drama Inspector Morse, and one is new episodes of British reality show Escape to the Country.
Old episodes of Heartbeat on Saturday nights net 7TWO a massive average national audience of more than half a million viewers every week.
To put that in perspective, MasterChef averages about 2.3 million per episode and the Australia’s Got Talent finale was watched by 3.1 million.
So it’s pretty impressive for a secondary channel, with a schedule filled almost entirely with repeats of old TV shows and even older movies, to compete that strongly with anything.
It is also interesting to note what is showing on the main channels at the same time as these high-rating repeats.
When Heartbeat screens on 7TWO on Saturday nights at 8.30pm, it is only really competing with the AFL on Southern Cross, as the other networks only fill that time with repeats because they don’t bother competing with the footy. And Heartbeat ’ s other screenings at 7.30pm Mondays and Wednesdays see it competing with MasterChef, The Block and Border Security.
Meanwhile, still in the 7.30pm slot, Doc Martin faces off against MasterChef on Thursday nights and Escape to the Country has been holding its own against Friday night football, the surprise hit series Downton Abbey and, you guessed it, MasterChef.
If you don’t happen to be a footy fan, your other options on the main channels are pretty slim on Friday and Saturday nights, so people appear to be flicking over to the multichannels in search of something else to watch.
With the rest of the week’s prime-time periods filled with an endless parade of renovation shows, kitchen shows, and those cheap-to-produce fly-on-thewall shows such as Border Security, it is hardly surprising people are jumping to the multi channels to look for some variety in their viewing.
The big networks are also fighting hard to hog the 16 to 39-year-old demographic, which sometimes leaves the baby boomers feeling like their tastes aren’t being catered for.
So maybe they are opting instead to vote with their remotes and watch repeats of the stuff they loved when it first ran a decade or two ago.