THE Nine Network has long shown an over- reliance on big- event programming to boost its ratings in periodic intervals rather than consistent performance across the whole year. But there is no denying it usually pays off.
And Nine also appears to have recently taken a leaf from Seven and Ten’s books in terms of saturationbombing its schedule with crosspromotions for its flagship series.
The Voice, a reality TV concept that began in the Netherlands and has since spread to many other countries, came to Australian television in mid- March, hosted by Darren Mcmullen and featuring Delta Goodrem, Keith Urban, Joel Madden and Seal as the four coaches.
While the concept is nothing groundbreaking or original, Nine’s marketing of it has been quite effective.
The premiere episode went to air on the same night as the Logies, a decision no doubt intended to attract viewers who were planning to watch Nine/ WIN for the rest of the night anyway.
But this first episode ran about an hour over time, also pushing the start of the Logies telecast back by an hour.
While this annoyed people who were tuning in to watch the start of the Logies, it also had the side- effect of boosting The Voice’s ratings because of the number of people who begrudgingly sat through the final hour as they waited for the Logies to begin.
And it worked: the ratings for The Voice peaked at 4.11 million, with an average of just over 3 million.
In contrast, the Logies audience peaked at a pretty weak 774,000 people, a blow for Nine’s big- event mentality. But after waiting an extra hour for the already delayed telecast to begin, it is unsurprising that so many people lost patience and switched off or changed channels. Then the cross- promotion went into overdrive. Today and A Current Affair have been overflowing with recaps, behind- the- scenes packages and feel- good fluff pieces relating to the contestants, making it impossible to avoid The Voice.
This is a tactic regularly employed by Seven with shows such as Dancing With the Stars and Ten with Masterchef.
Going by The Voice’s ongoing ratings success, it is working. And by continuing to run over time every night it is on, The Voice continues to snag those accidental viewers – possibly luring a few of them in to become repeat viewers.
But The Voice did finish precisely on time one Sunday night recently.
That was to ensure a punctual start for the telemovie Beaconsfield, about miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb, who were trapped in a Tasmanian gold mine. That night, 134,565 Tasmanians watched The Voice and 139,513 stayed for Beaconsfield – a big victory locally.