The Nine Network is admitting that while it has been a “rocky start” to the 2011 ratings season, viewers are returning to the network.
With a 5 per cent fall in commercial viewers in the first four weeks of this year’s ratings season, Nine was on the back foot, but they say it’s starting to come right.
Nine has held new shows back, in contrast to Seven and Ten, a ploy that they predict will prove correct.
‘We didn’t start with the new product and as a result they [viewers] have gone looking,” Nine Entertainment Co’s sales and marketing director, Peter Wiltshire, said. “Were we pleased with that start? No. But it’s only four weeks. They have the privilege of choice but now they are coming back.”
Nine did release a couple of new shows in the spectacularly dismal Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth and US sitcom Mike and Molly, which both failed to pull big numbers.
Nine has relied on the tried and true, such as Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory – both proven ratings winners.
”Our challenge has been dealing with the proliferation of viewing and trying to see where people are going to land, and it’s taken a few weeks,” Wiltshire said.
However, a Seven spokesperson claims that Nine are clutching at straws: ‘Fewer people are watching Nine this year than last. They blame the viewers – well the viewers have voted. They aren’t watching. They are suffering serious erosion.”