Nine’s Executive Producer of Cricket Brad Mcnamara appeared on Media Week this week.
Brad has said that Nine are “over the moon” with the way cricket has been performing this year so far in the ratings. They are, however, a little concerned about the fact that the tests against India have been so short so far – the third test didn’t even make it to three days – as that affects the network’s advertising revenue from the cricket. “You can’t always get what you want” Mcnamara quoted, referencing Mick Jagger.
Test match audiences in 2012 are up 33% on last year’s Ashes series, and up 10% on the 2007/8 seaosn when India were last out here. A figure they are particularly pleased with, seeing that 10% less people watch main free to air channels now that there are digital channels.
Only the Perth test delivers prime time audience to the east coast, while day time audience figures are now often reaching better than prime time levels.
Brad says there have been no concerns about the potential of audiences dropping in favour for the KFC Big Bash Twenty/20 which has delivered record audiences for Fox Sports and helped cricket as a sport. He says the shorter format of the game attarcts a different demographic than the One Day and Test matches, including more women and families and Nine would like to attract a wider demographic.
When the rights come up again for the Big Bash, Brad has indicated that Nine are interested in having some of the matches on their network. Nine have first and last bidding rights for the domesitc cricket, and feel that, if the Big Bash is to reach a wider audience, it should be on free to air TV.
There are two International Twenty/20 games coming up – Australia Vs India on February 1 – which the network feels will be the highest rating cricket event of the year. Another is played Friday February 3 on Nine.
When asked about cricket airing on GEM during the news, Brad says it has been great to give audiences that option, as the 6pm news is the most important show of the day, and that there is nothing worse than having to leave cricket coverage for the news. Ratings so far for the GEM coverage during the news have not been so huge.
According to Nine, cricket coverage IS broadcast in HD, but no simulcast is offered due to GEM having its own programming. The craziness of this situation is you get to see say half an hour of cricket only in HD during the news, and not the whole day. Over to Fox Sports, and ALL of thier Twenty/20 Big Bash matches air in HD.
Nine have the One Day Series coming up in Fenruary, which will feature three international teams for the first time in years. This year, Australia, India and Sri Lanka will battle it out over twelve one day matches that play over four weeks in February.
Australia Vs India games will be on Sunday nights, and air live on Nine, Australia Vs Sri Lanka will be on Friday nights. The matches between Sri Lanka and India play mostly on Tuesday nights. Due to the lower audeinces these games attract, Nine plan to air them on GEM, leaving the main channel Nine to air regular programming.
The One Day Series finals will play on March 4, 6 and 8 if a thrid final is needed. With the NRL season kicking off on Thursday March 1, the summer of circket his year overlaps with the start of the NRL season.
In fact, on Friday March 2, Nine will be airing both NRL and Cricket at the same time in NRL states. The NRL will be on Nine, cricket on GEM in NSW and QLD (cricket remains on Nine in non-NRL states).
Media Week air on Sky Business Channel 602, 2.30pm Thursdays. There are also a number of replays over the next few days.