Coming into the seventh week of competition now, Big Brother has been able to maintain relatively strong and stable numbers. Some of the viewing figures have fallen below Nine’s expectations in recent weeks (though most remain on par) as the show has seen the usual decline in viewing figures typical of a reality television show like Big Brother. It’s known as the ‘J’ curve, where numbers start strong, dip, and then go back up again.
But as we pass the half way mark of the competition, Big Brother has an uphill battle to climb- almost literally. It’s proven it can sustain healthy numbers, but it also has to prove it can draw in hype for a big finale. For this to happen, it’s time Big Brother started to grow.
Big Brother began with very high viewing figures. The 1.7 million who watched the launch was a higher number achieved than that of the 2007 and 2008 season launches, and on par with that achieved in 2001. In a multi-channel environment, it was a brilliant result even with the novelty factor coming into play.
Numbers sharply declined in the first week, but the drawcard of the secrets task kept viewers interested. Nine set a goal for 1 million viewers to watch the daily shows and 1.15m to watch the evictions. Up until week 4, they were smashing this constantly.
From Ryan’s Father’s Day eviction onwards, the decline kicked in. No eviction show since then has reached 1.15m, even in consolidated viewing figures. Numbers for Thursday and Friday’s daily show have dipped significantly. The nomination shows have somewhat underperformed, even when rising on the daily show segment for Monday.
But even with the moving around of the schedule and the extended episodes, Big Brother has maintained a daily show audience of around 1 million viewers, which is great. But more often than not, that number is starting to fall on the less popular side of the magic million mark. All well and good, but for how long?
Well, I think that it is now that we need to start seeing at lest minimal week-on-week growth. Nine wants a finale of 1.3million viewers. At this rate, it seems achievable. But Big Brother has to stare in the face of The X Factor and show a little resilience if it wants to have a crack. In coming weeks, we’re going to have a displaced schedule due to the NRL Grand Final; pushing Sunday shows out and evictions to mid-week. While this will be temporary, it may or may not affect Big Brother’s chances of fully completing the ‘J’ curve it needs to.
We need to start seeing those eviction figures rising to at least 1.1million and we cannot see further drops in late-in-the-week viewing figures. Just because Friday is a low rating night, doesn’t mean Big Brother can settle for the sub-800,000 viewing figures it is. Big Brother reached 900,000 on the second Friday, it can do it again.
Overall, if I was to rate Big Brother’s ratings performance to date, I’d give it a B minus. It’s only JUST hitting expectations and is still proving a good staple for Nine. On these figures, I’d expect another run next year. But I think there is room for improvement and I do believe we’re going to see it- but to what magnitude can Big Brother build to the finale night Nine wants is yet to be seen.
Big Brother continues Sunday at 6.30PM and weeknights at 7PM.