In recent weeks, Ten’s ratings have hit an all time low. Everybody Dance Now failed to connect with audiences and was promptly dumped from the schedule. I Will Survive, with ratings now in the 300,000′s is following the same path. The Shire is now even lower – not helped though by multiple timeslot changes, while Being Lara Bingle could almost be considered a success compared to how things are going now. Don’t Tell the Bride also is not exactly setting the ratings world on fire – settling over 500,000 so far.
Ten made the bold move to launch a string of new Australian shows after the Olympics. During the Olympics, Masterchef All Stars reached audiences of over 700,000 – down from the figures of the main series, but still not bad considering where we are at now. The only success so far on Ten is Puberty Blues pulling over 900,000.
Ten’s schedule in recent months has been too laden with repeats. Constant repeats of NCIS, NCIS: LA and Modern Family are driving audiences away. Noone knows anymore when there a new episodes on, if at all. Not only that, Ten’s new US content is played sometimes months after they air in the US.
So what should Ten do?
Certainly not jump to another sudden schedule change. That will drive more viewers away – just like what happened after the network changed its schedule with less than a weeks’ notice after axing Everybody Dance Now. That change left viewers confused as to when shows like I Will Survive and Don’t Tell the Bride would start – where printed guides were left completely wrong for that week.
In my opinion, Ten should now look towards the last two months of the ratings year and fast track all of their US content – airing shows like NCIS, The Good Wife, Glee and Law & Order: SVU days after the US do.
But not even this will work if Ten don’t plan for it and properly promote it. There’s absolutely no point bothering with airing any of these shows soon after the US without adequate promotion – and I don’t mean bombarding us with “New xxx – soon on Ten” – I mean promote dates and times – weeks in advance – so fans can look forward to new episodes of their shows.
Drop the embargoes Ten have on their advance TV guides they release to the media and sites like Throng – so we can promote shows more than a week in advance. To be honest, I am yet to post Ten programming for next week (September 2-8, 2012) as I fear it will change from what they have planned to air. I hope for their sake, it doesn’t.
The new US ratings season starts in the last week of September – which means they have a few weeks to ride out. But the corporate side of Ten – and rightly so – will struggle to accept ratings shares so low. As much as I think I Will Survive should continue on Ten, ratings in the 300,000′s on a primary channel in prime time simply are not viable.
I would like to see Ten play out I Will Survive, but perhaps they should move the show to weekends on Ten or over to ELEVEN.
What to do with I Will Survive aside, Ten should look at all of their US content and look at what they can build a schedule on from the end of September. Not only shows that normally air on ten, but also those from ELEVEN and ONE as well. By bringing forward all their US content to days after they air in the US, and promoting properly over the next month what is coming and on what days, Ten could claw back some of the ratings they have lost.
But if they do this, they will need to be committed – no more last minute programming changes. No repeats for schedule fillers. Stick to a plan – rebuild the audiences’ faith in Ten. I have seen myself many examples of people who watch shows on that air on Ten, but obtain them from other means as they cannot handle not knowing when the next new episode will air or if there will be a repeat airing in place of a new episode.