Reality and light entertainment TV shows are attracting a larger audience this year compared to US sitcoms, according to a report by Deutsche Bank analysts.

While shows such as Packed to the Rafters (Seven), Australia’s Got Talent (Seven) and MasterChef (Ten) continue to lead the TV ratings in 2011, most returning shows have lost viewers as the success of the new multichannels increases audience fragmentation.

“Furthermore it appears viewing habits have changed between 2010 and 2011 with returning structured reality and light entertainment programs (eg. Australia’s Got Talent, The Block, Biggest Loser) growing viewership at the expense of US sitcoms (eg Grey's Anatomy, NCIS, Mentalist) and locally produced dramas (Sea Patrol),” Deustche Bank analysts wrote in the report.

The audience for Grey's Anatomy fell 18 per cent over the past year, while NCIS declined by 24 per cent and The Mentalist by 27 per cent.

Not all major reality shows have been ratings winners – while Network Ten’s Biggest Loser climbed 21 per cent over the year, its latest MasterChef series declined by 22 per cent (although it still attracted an impressive average 1.45 million viewers).

Ten is now facing a loss of momentum in the ratings battle against Seven and Nine after its new reality series, The Renovators, posted a soft start, according to Deutsche Bank analysts.

“The network’s key new show The Renovators, a replacement for MasterChef, has been disappointing with average viewership of 0.88 million, despite the lead-in for MasterChef,” the report said. “Ten’s other key new shows, Hawaii 5-0 and Blue Bloods have also reported lacklustre average viewership figures of 0.71 million and 0.6 million.”

Meanwhile, Seven Network’s strong ratings performance has continued this year, with its all people year-to-date share up 3.1 per cent to 38.9 per cent.

It has won all 24 ratings weeks this year, due to shows such as Australia’s Got Talent (up 14 per cent to 1.78 million viewers), Dancing With the Stars (up 11 per cent to 1.49 million viewers) and My Kitchen Rules (up 1 per cent to 1.44 million viewers). Its strongest new show was Downtown Abbey, which attracted 1.69 million viewers.

Nine Network is also regaining some ground in the ratings battle thanks to the success of The Block, which has posted an average audience of 1.44 million so far.

Despite a lacklustre year in the ratings, Nine Entertainment (which also owns several other media assets) posted a 16.4 per cent annual rise in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to $414.9 million for year ended June 30, according to a report in The Australian. The result was driven by stronger earnings from Nine's television, Ticketek, Acer Arena and ninemsn divisions.

Ratings share – year-to-date change


Overall ratings share


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