Let the Programming Games Begin

With the Commonwealth Games over, TVNZ wants to capitalise on the bumper ratings the competition delivered, with nearly three million viewers tuning in over the 10 days.

TVNZ’s sales arm reports the broadcaster’s average peak rating in 25-54 was 7.1, up 54% on the three-week period before the games.

It also notched up 2.3 million live streams and 49 million online viewing minutes. “Our total subscriber reach was 175,000, with 42,000 OnDemand registrations during the games.”

This weekend flagship network TVNZ 1 launched a line-up that included last night’s return of a fast-tracked Britain’s Got Talent and The Hotel Inspector and a rejigged Sunday schedule that cuts the current affairs hour Sunday in half and adds three new series: season three of Coast NZ (8.00), Bancroft (9.00) and Seven Types of Ambiguity (10.05).

Unusually, all three start on the hour rather than the traditional half-hour, a tactic TVNZ 1 used on Friday when it teamed The Extreme Cake Makers at 7.30 with Call the Midwife at 8.00 so the latter wouldn’t be disadvantaged by starting halfway through Three’s top-rating Graham Norton Show.

The network has struggled with its Sunday night dramas, so is trying to provide a stronger lead-in with a hit series like Coast NZ that it hopes will stop viewers from switching over to the 8.30 movies on TVNZ 2 and Three.

It also needs to be able to fend off TVNZ 2’s launch of Survivor NZ: Thailand at 7.00 tonight and the resurrection of Three’s Dancing With the Stars in the same slot next week.

After season one of Survivor NZ came up short in the ratings, TVNZ 2 has “upped the stakes with higher winnings of $250,000, hairy new challenges and a bunch of new features including hidden immunity idols and eliminations every episode,” Stop Press reports.

To promote it, the campaign has rolled out across TV, radio, large-scale OOH (static and digital), mall screens and digital platforms and reflects the new direction of the show.

TVNZ marketing manager Reuben Wiremu says that the primary focus of the campaign was to show the transformation from everyday Kiwi personalities into Survivor contestants, as well as significant format changes that repositioned Survivor away from the previous campaign.

Played out on social media, the castaways were introduced in batches, and each described why they could win the competition. Additionally, the campaign aimed to go back to the Survivor roots with a classic Survivor colour scheme to evoke the Thai jungle setting.

And tomorrow night TVNZ 2 will debut hospital drama The Resident ahead of the season 14 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy (which has just been renewed for its 15th).

Episode two of The Resident will screen Tuesday night, emulating the same consecutive-nights strategy Fox used in the US.

But TVNZ 1 isn’t following ITV’s lead with Bancroft, which aired over consecutive nights in the UK — and where it was criticised for its inferior audio.

Sarah Parish’s new crime drama Bancroft has come under fire from viewers who claimed the first episode was plagued by mumbling and poor sound quality.

Many said they could not fully enjoy the action in the ITV thriller because they could not hear the dialogue well enough.

Several British television dramas have been hit by complaints over mumbling, with Happy Valley, SS-GB and Jamaica Inn all being criticised.

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2 Responses to “Let the Programming Games Begin”

  1. Philip, does TVNZ have any plans for the TVNZ Games Extra channel? It’s still a placeholder on Freeview or is there a lack of bandwidth to turn it into a niche TV channel?

  2. Hi Leo. It’s reverted to being a +1 channel which TVNZ can commandeer as an ‘event’ channel when needed.

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