Tag Archives: non-ratings

Channel Tens’ Broken Promise

I always thought, that the network that puts in place a time slot guarantee, would gain respect from their viewers and thus, hopefully, ratings. That is, the network that promises a show will be on at the same time very week, on time, and not repeated for a set period of time – say 12 or 13 weeks.

Back in January, prior to the current ratings period beginning, ch 10 promised exactly that – with House. They promised that the show would run 12 weeks without repeats or interruption. This morning, as reported by TV Tonight, I read that next weeks’ episode of House will be a repeat, and that the episode that would have been on next week, will be aired one week later – when ratings return.

Channel 10 have made the promise of showing House for 12 weeks without repeats or interruption. They would have done so knowing full well that this period would carry through the Easter non-ratings period. It seems that they have decided to withhold what apparently will be a good episode purely for the sake of putting it on during the ratings season so it can count towards there ratings share for the year.  

If you make this sort of promise, you need to stick to it. Ratings or not. Its not like House is a top rating show in any case. Last week, it scored about 800,000 viewers – which is about where it sits usually. Now that the promise is broken, they can no longer use it in their advertising to promote a show. Noone is going to trust it now.

There goes a good idea, from the only network that seems to be showing some respect for their viewers most of the time. Unlike 7 and 9, 10 are the only network to update their EPG to reflect the time that shows really start as opposed to what they are advertised for. If your EPG for 10 says 8.33, then thats when the show starts – usually within a few seconds. On ch 7 and 9, if it says 8.30, its more likely 8.35. And later in the night, 11.30 means as early as 11.20. 30 Rock on 7 is a classic example. I can get the whole episode of 30 Rock record by using the “R+20″ button on the show before 30 Rock (usually Boston Legal; R+20 on Foxtel IQ2 allows you to add 20 minutes to the end of a recording) as opposed to actually setting it to record 30 Rock itself.

Channel 10 were onto a good thing here. Now its lost. Trust is gone. And all for the sake of this absurdity of non-ratings period where you still have full ratings reports, but because it does not count to the networks’ win for the year, they don’t care what they do. We the viewers always lose out.

Non Ratings – No Point

If you have seen the ratings reports for this week, you would notice there are alot of people watching TV at the moment having to settle for lower quality viewing, endless repeats and movies being played for there umpteenth time. The fact that a repeat episode of NCIS on Ten can grab 1.5 mil is testimony to how many viewers there are out there basically settling on what ever is on the small screen, even if a repeat. NCIS is very popular, new episodes do very well. Repeats of the show do better than repeats of Underbelly.

I still don’t get why we need to have so called non-ratings periods. There is still a daily report as to what everyone with people meters were watching, numbers are still counted, ads are still sold based on these numbers, only the viewer loses out by having second rate programming. I see no reason why ratings cannot continue all the time. Over summer and Easter.

The only beneficiaries out of this non-ratings madness is subscription TV and DVD rentals. And, of course, downloads as well. This week is not even school holidays (in NSW). 7 news on Monday night got 1.7 mil! Yet after 8.30, no one show could do better than about a million. All these people go somewhere, don’t they? And they are not going out – noone has the money for that now.

All that non-ratings is doing is turning people away from free to air TV and towards subscription TV, legal and illegal downloads and back to either hiring DVDs or watching ones they already own. At our place, free to air viewing has reduced to almost nothing other than the news and a few shows that have not gone off or into repeats such as Life on Mars and 60 minutes. Our usual Foxtel shows are still on, so those programs still fill up some time, but the gap left by absent free to air programs is filled by watching DVDs. I am sure this is a familiar scenario to some people.

 I seriously believe that this is a concept that needs to be reviewed, especially as more and more people turn away from free to air TV. With very fast internet coming within the next 10 years, free to air TV needs to re-invent iteself to continue to exist. Providing poor quality viewing, chopping and changing shows, having periods of time that they air even worse shows, and taking too long to get new shows on will kill them. No amount of extra channels under any name whether it be FreeView or otherwsie will help. Internet will be the future, and good on our government for moving on it.

Non Ratings Periods – Why?

Edited / updated as per comments. I originally stated that there was non-ratings periods in July and late September as well. This is not correct, and changes the networks make during school holiday periods are at their own judement, not as a result of being a non-ratings period.

I have always wondered, why in this day and age, there is still a so-called “non-ratings” period on Free to Air television in Australia. These periods of non-ratings generally coincide with school holidays but because school holidays vary from state to state, in some states, the non-ratings period is not in phase with school holidays.

What I don’t understand about the concept is that there is still reporting of ratings during these periods, networks still react to the ratings in these periods (think back to all the schedule changes over summer), advertisers still advertise AND people definitely still watch TV during these periods, yet the networks see it as a time to provide a lower quality schedule and give top rating shows a break. Sometimes people will watch even more TV than usual form being home longer.

In my opinion, the fact that the ratings show less people watching TV in non-ratings period is a direct consequence of the fact that viewers tune out due to poorer quality programming. The fact that subscription TV rate higher during these periods proves that point. If regular programming continued, the viewers would still be there (other than special days like Christmas and New Years for example).

I agree with programming changes on public holidays and the night before a public holiday, but I don’t agree with shows taking time off mid season just because that period of time is deemed as “non-ratings” and therefore does not contribute to the final result of winning the ratings for the year. And what does it mean anyway for a network to win the year – they can charge more for their advertising, I suppose, but wouldn’t that apply all year round?

Sure – people go away during holiday periods, but they still watch TV. And now, less will travel abroad as the result of the economic climate. So why not continue normal programming throughout holidays. Its not even two months since summer and the ratings season began and we are faced with another preiod of non-ratings for Easter.

With all the scheduling changes, as it is, it is difficult to keep up with what’s on TV in any case. Then you have the mother of all scheduling changes – non-ratings period. The regular shows take time off for no reason other than the definition “non-ratings” period. And if you are away during these periods, more often than not, your only option is free to air TV and a couple of choice Foxtel channels in your hotel room. Why not maintain the schedule?

If anyone loves a show that much, and will not be able to see it on TV when it airs, they’ll record it to watch later – holidays or not. Then again, there really is only a few shows on these days that could really be considered by many as “unmissable television”.

It’s just another example of how TV networks don’t care about viewers. I am sure, that if there was a referendum on the concept of non-ratings, 95% of all viewers would vote against it.