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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Weekend Current Affairs Ratings Battle

There is nothing more important than ratings in current affairs. Forget holding the powerful to account, if you are ideologically burning kittens live on stage and it's rating, welcome to TV.

TVNZ has been sending out current affairs ratings for the weekend shows that have only used the Saturday ratings, which have been in a nosedive and continue to crash and burn in this weeks ratings with mere 3 550 viewers bothering to watch the original screening of The Nation on a Saturday.


The message is that The Nation doesn't have enough grassroots support for the show itself to even generate an audience on a Saturday.

After my latest review of the Nation I noted the poor ratings, Richard Harman politely explained I was talking shit, I pointed out the TVNZ press release, and he clicked.

This is Richard Harman putting the record straight in an email that has just gone out...

Earlier this week many of you who receive our emails will have received one from TVNZ’s news publicist Andi Brothertsone purporting to show audience sizes for various news and current affairs programmes. The figures she has quoted for “The Nation” are highly misleading and distorted. The vast bulk of “The Nation” audience watch the Sunday Edition of the show. She does not quote figures for this audience. So to correct the incorrect impressions she has left about the size of our audience I am detailing audience figures for last Sunday.

The AGB Nielsen average audience viewer figures were:

Nation 5+

Q+A 5+

Whilst more people overall watched Q&A the actual breakdown of the audience reveals a rather different picture. These are the figures for the two key demographics:

Nation 18 - 49

Q+A 18-49

The Nation 25 - 54

Q+A 24-54

It is clear that the two programmes are actually neck and neck in the key TV audience sectors. The difference is that many of Q&A's audience are aged over 60 whereas "The Nation" attracts an audience more closely approximating the actual age profile of the country as a whole.. Maybe that is why TVNZ is so reluctant to publish the correct figures?

Now while Richard is very right in pointing out that The Nation repeat is far better rated than the Saturday original, the point still remains that the original has little buy in from the current affairs loving media consumer. The success of the repeat can be put down to it coat tailing on the much larger Q+A audience (the older ones sleep in longer?) who tune in before Q+A starts, what are the ratings for Pukana which starts at 9am on TV3?

The Nation repeat also plays directly after a hard core religious program, so the Christian faction hanging on the words of Dr Charles Stanley would be interesting to check before proclaiming current affairs dominance. It could be the micro-climate of Sunday morning wedged between God squad and Holmes squad rather than a stellar perceptive current affairs show.

If the Nation wanted to up the game for the election, play after Q+A, at 10am and take the audience they build.



At 7/9/11 10:49 am, Blogger Dominic said...

It is an indictment that we live in a nation where a soap opera like Shortland Street gets a prime-time slot and pulls in 834200 viewers, while more serious current affairs television is relegated to weekend morning oblivion, failing to break a six figure audience number. Sleepy hobbits indeed!

Is that the same Andi Brotherstone who defended the casual racism of Paul Henry? That figures.

At 7/9/11 11:06 am, Blogger Gosman said...

Ummmm.... how can you coat tail when you come before another programme?

At 7/9/11 12:51 pm, Blogger Frank said...

"She does not quote figures for this audience. So to correct the incorrect impressions she has left about the size of our audience I am detailing audience figures for last Sunday."

Richard Harman can quote whatever he likes.

Truth is, "The Nation" just doesn't "cut it". It's like TV3 has collective amnesia how to ptroduce a current affairs programme.

For one thing; make the panellists a wider representation of NZ society. I know White Middle Class Baby Boomers have a tough time with this concept - but NZ has moved on from the 1950s.

Secondly; put it at a decent time-slot.

Thirdly; get some professioonal, experienced media people in to produce the show; Ian Johnstone, Brian Edwards, David Beatson, etc.

Otherwise, quite simply, no one will care.

At 7/9/11 12:55 pm, Blogger Tiger Mountain said...

Is the band on your stetson too tight again Gozzie?
• Coat tailing does not refer to chronology but association.
• watching The Nation on Sun while not quite akin to the drinkers ‘pre loading’ before going out is a convenience or gateway for certain viewers.
• Sat a.m. is a difficult time slot for anything requiring an audience with even half a brain. Really with Sean Plunket, journalistic eunuch and tory masseur par excellence, it is barely worth watching anyway.

At 7/9/11 1:49 pm, Blogger Gosman said...

There is no evidence that people are doing that, just a gross assumption on the part of Mr Bradbury.


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