TVNZ 1 Post-Games Analysis

Expect TVNZ 1 to use the next 10 days of round-the-clock Common-wealth Games coverage to promote the new and returning series it will launch after the closing ceremony on April 15.

One of the biggest changes to the schedule will be Coronation Street losing its 9.30 Saturday slot.

Instead, it will become a Wednesday-Friday fixture.

But fans shouldn’t bank on the rescheduling closing the 18-month gap between the UK and NZ transmissions — even though TVNZ 1 could, under the new regime, easily accommodate a 90-minute Coro broadcast on Fridays with the changes it’s making earlier in the evening.

These include new episodes of Extreme Cake Makers at 7.30 and of Call the Midwife at the earlier time of 8.00 rather than the traditional 8.30 junction.

TVNZ 1 may see this as a chance to capture viewers before they lock in to Three’s top-rating Graham Norton Show rather than letting the chat show get a half-hour jump on Midwife, especially with a lead-in as popular as Cake Makers.

Because of these changes, Coro will screen from 9.15 on Fridays, which means TVNZ 1 could squeeze in an extra half-hour without unduly delaying 1 News Tonight — especially when the post-Tonight line-up comprises double-episode repeats of Blindspot, a series that’s long stopped being a signature show and now is synonymous with streaming on Lightbox.

ScreenScribe contributor Leo recently raised the prospect of TVNZ 1 fast-tracking the flagship soap after the broadcaster quizzed viewers about how to bridge the gap.

According to TVNZ corporate communications manager Rachel Howard:

Essentially, we know that we have many dedicated Coronation Street fans and that some of these fans are frustrated with the time lag between the UK episodes and when they play out in New Zealand.

Knowing this, our content team, in conjunction with our research team, have been speaking to our ‘Green Room’ panel about what options we could take to reduce the lag. Our Green Room panel is made up of approximately 10,000 viewers in a range of demographics. They’re an invaluable resource in enabling us to make decisions that reflect what our audiences want.

We’ve been asking them whether they would want us to jump forward, as well as how this jump forward would look (how we would bridge the gap, be it putting all in-between episodes OnDemand, create storyline companions etc.).

This is one of a few Coronation Street questions we’ve asked our panel. We’ve also consulted with them on various options for where Coronation Street can be programmed in our linear schedule.

We haven’t made a decision yet on whether we might implement a change like this – at this stage, it’s still just a question we’re asking and one that requires quite a bit of consideration.

Other post-CG changes include the return of the ageing Criminal Minds to 8.30 Mondays, in a slot where TVNZ 1 has still to find a successor just as popular, and the season three premiere of Lucifer at 9.30.

The Brave, which 1 had hoped would fill Criminal Minds’ shoes, shifts to 10.55 Mondays.

On Tuesdays, new seasons of Dog Squad and The Force will lead in to 8.30 newcomer Rich House, Poor House, a house-swapping documentary series that helped Britain’s Channel 5 to beat BBC2 and Channel 4 in the ratings.

New episodes of Location Location Location and Doctor Doctor will screen from 7.30-9.35 on Wednesdays while Thursdays stay the same with Karena & Kasey’s Kitchen Diplomacy, Topp Country and Our Dream Hotel.

Saturdays mark the return of Britain’s Got Talent and The Hotel Inspector, ahead of what sounds like a new variety slot — Saturday Showcase — while Sundays will showcase new episodes of Coast New Zealand and a new British thriller, Bancroft, which stars Sarah Parish as a troubled copper.

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9 Responses to “TVNZ 1 Post-Games Analysis”

  1. Thanks Philip for this insightful post and for the mention, it may be a small win but I’m glad Coro is moving to Wednesdays and abandoning the Saturday death slot. I hope it manages to succeed in its new slot otherwise TVNZ may want to consider launching an older skewing Freeview channel to accommodate the soap and many of its other former hits for a type of classic TV One to appeal to this demographic. Just one small query Philip, is TVNZ dropping the Friday night edition of Seven Sharp in favor of Extreme Cake Makers at 7? This seems quite odd given The Friday Project goes for an hour on Three and will virtually be uncontested.

  2. I’m stunned to see TVNZ 1 give back Wednesday and Thursday slots to Coro. Seems like a backward step from TVNZ given how quickly they have always been to tell us how Coro is losing viewers year on year.

  3. Thanks, Leo. The 7.00 reference was a typo which I’ve since corrected. Apologies for the confusion.

  4. Watching the opening ceremony was excruciating – advertising every (almost) 10 minutes. Goodness knows if I missed anything interesting during the cutaway. If I want an ad-free experience, am I forced to watch a streamed version of the event(s) or is that peppered with advertising too? And is this a pre-cursor to what the RWC will look like? If so, then a Lightbox subscription will actually be worth paying for to have an uninterrupted viewing experience.

  5. I didn’t watch the opening ceremony but am not surprised it was crammed with ads. TVNZ’s spending up large on its coverage and the bills have to be paid somehow. Yet no matter how many resources a free-to-air broadcaster throws at an event like the games, it can never cover them in the depth and with the breadth of pay-TV operators, which have many more channels at their disposal and a different funding model. In my opinion, it makes more sense for a satcaster like Sky to carry the lion’s share of coverage and to cut a deal with a FTA partner for broadcast coverage while providing a discounted Fan Pass for online coverage. That way games junkies can get their fix, FTA viewers don’t have to commit to a Sky contract and the rest of us don’t have to put up with two HD networks offering virtually nothing but games content for nearly two weeks.

  6. Yep, agree with Mike. Last night was an example of why we should be grateful there’s no anti-siphoning list. With TVNZ having its first multi-sport event since Beijing 2008, people have forgotten how ad-drenched sport is on FTA. As you said Phil, they have to make the money back somehow. People like to bag Sky but they forget how good they’ve got it sometimes.

  7. I wish Sky Sport had the Commonwealth Games as it’s awful watching it on TVNZ, it’s like going back to the dark ages with millions of ads and having no choice on what to watch and no, I’m not going to watch their special channel on Sky since it’s not in HD. I really miss not having pop up channels 🙁

  8. According to the TV Guide April 21-27: in the letters it states that Coronation Street may jump over to TVNZ 2 and double up with our Shortland Street. If this is true or not, we will have to wait to see this for our own eyes.

  9. Don’t hold your breath, Patrick. Coro is not a TVNZ 2 show and the letter writer’s merely expressing a fanciful notion not grounded in the reality of network demopraphics.

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