If you were to go by the first half of 2012, you wouldn’t be remiss in assuming that the second half of the year still holds plenty of surprises, upsets and excitement across the metro TV landscape. Will Seven be knocked off the no. 1 spot (which they claimed in 1st half of 2012.. again) by Nine? The first half of this year saw the triumphant return of Nine thanks to The Voice and The Block, the series that helped to change not only the network’s fortunes ($150k for a 30 second national spot in The Voice finale?) but also, and perhaps most crucially, it transformed the Nine network’s “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” positioning in the ratings game. Its position as second best to Seven always seemed to sit uncomfortably with the network. The runaway and, in the case of The Voice, unexpected success of key programmes provoked an almost audible sigh of relief from both sales reps and the Nine executive team who are staring down a multi-billion dollar debt. From a trading perspective, The Voice was both a blessing and a curse – CPMs sent from heaven, but TARP and reach deliveries skyrocketing. Similarly, with the success of The Block finale this year the network was also spared the embarrassment suffered in 2011 when the final episode of the series was more fizzer than grand finale as properties failed to sell.
That, however, is all in the past and resting on one’s laurels is always foolish- particularly so in the world of media. One day you’re the seemingly indestructible Seven and the next you’re rapidly losing share. So what’s next in TV? Well, we’ve just had the obvious one – The Olympics. It’s a broadcast event like no other, and as the games draw to a close we have seen a significant shift in how we interacted with them. Ratings were consistent but could have been better! The time difference between Sydney and London didn’t help, while the underperforming Aussies and the rise of new media – tablets, mobile and social all hindered a possible “whitewash” by Nine. Could it even come down to the simple fact that we all just got a bit…over it? Gruen Sweat host & creative partner Wil Anderson mentioned prior to the games’ start that he had “become less and less interested in the Olympics in the same way that you get less interested in Santa and the tooth fairy as the years roll on”. It’s not that uncommon a sentiment, yet one that Nine quite wilfully, and maybe rightly, ignored.
Speaking of viewer fatigue, as the sun set on London on August 13th, the last day of the games, audiences were one step closer to the premiere of Big Brother. Love it or hate it, it’s likely that the show will entice close to, if not more than, one million interested viewers on its debut. Will they hold? Beyond BB there is more depth in Nine’s 2nd half with Underbelly, House Husbands, Howzat and Farmer wants a Wife. Fingers crossed!
Will Seven hold its dominant no. 1 status until the end of 2012? Well, if its bank of “home-grown talent” holds its ground with the likes of tried and tested shows like X-Factor, Winners & Losers, Beauty & the Geek and Kath & Kim – there’s no doubting it will!!
It seems safe to say that Ten, with its core audience of P16-39 will not reach the lofty heights of its peers Seven and Nine but, by its own admission, it doesn’t aspire to. With a glut of new offerings, including I Will Survive, Don’t Tell The Bride, Come Dine With Me and of course it’s (much maligned) current fare of Being Lara Bingle and The Shire, Ten looks to be in a better position in terms of programming than it has in years. Be gone NCIS, the bogans are here! What better way to entice viewers back to the ailing channel than a lot of free press (all publicity is good publicity, right?) and some new shows that really do look to have decent legs against the younger buying demos (platform-sequinned-stiletto clad ones no less in the case of I Will Survive). Ten really could be the one to watch, figuratively and literally.
With plenty of new programming, the back half of the year is shaping up to be an exciting time. If the first half of 2012 taught us anything, it is not to put all your trading eggs in one basket, media buyers, as you never know what lies ahead – enjoy the ride!