Double-Whammy for Grammys But Coro Still Too Slow

TVNZ will screen the Grammy Awards not only live on January 27 but also in HD.

It will broadcast the awards from 2pm on TV2 and repeat them 9.15 on TV One.

Originally, it was going to screen the awards, in which New Zealander Lorde is nominated for Record of the Year, only at night.

But the uproar over this belatedly prompted the broadcaster to see sense and arrange a live telecast as well.

It was bizarre that having gone after the rights (and paid dearly for them) because of Lorde’s four nominations that TVNZ would squander this coup by airing the Grammys as if it was still the 1990s.

It may have suited the broadcaster’s programming strategy to run the Grammys on the back of the Australia’s Got Talent season finale as an enterprising double-bill – even if the older-skewing TV One always was going to be the wrong channel.

But the days of programmers ignoring the public’s will are long gone. And the Lorde debacle should prompt TVNZ to think again about how quickly it brings US and UK TV shows to our screens.

Yes, it does risk its scheduling being upset by pre-emptions and cancellations out of its control.

But the longer it delays screening most of its content as quickly as Sky’s SoHo channel, the more it risks viewers exploring online sources for this fare with easily-accessible geo-unblocking tools that can unlock everything from CBS on-demand to the BBC’s iPlayer.

Sky has been quick to recognise this with not only SoHo but also the live broadcast of its awards shows — although only the Oscars get HD kudos.

So credit to TVNZ for going the extra distance and least bringing us the Grammys in 1080i.

The same can’t be said of its treatment of Coronation Street, which has been relegated to double-episodes on Fridays where declining ratings may eventually see justification for its rescheduling as the One News lead-in.

Only this week Sky announced that UK TV soon will be airing Coro rival EastEnders just one-and-a-half weeks after the BBC.

The current six-week gap will be closed to about 10 days from March 17 to the end of April, when UK TV will catch up with double-episodes from 7.30-8.30 Monday-Thursday.

Coro St fans, meanwhile, remain about two years behind ITV’s broadcasts, which largely is why it ratings are so flat in this market.

What chance has a serial of building viewership when its storylines are revealed so far ahead of transmission?

The soap has suffered at the hands of various programming regimes, being in and out of favour more often than Peter Barlow falls off the wagon.

With TV One unable to find a viable lead-in to One News – its latest act of desperation is to run 5.30 repeats of Piha Rescue from Monday (Ellen shifts to 4.30) – the network should strip Coro in double-episodes — and in HD — from 5.00-6.00 weeknights.

Yes, there would be howls from a minority about the inconvenience of the rescheduling, although this is less a concern given Coro’s popularity on-demand, the increasing prevalence of PVRs and the availability of TV One +1 — and, yes, the ratings initially would fall.

But they still would be higher than anything else achieves in this slot and catching up in this way would build momentum, make the soap more topical and perhaps even pave the way for its primetime return with storylines that are more arresting because they as are up-to-date as the cast’s latest off-screen trials by juries.

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7 Responses to “Double-Whammy for Grammys But Coro Still Too Slow”

  1. It’s good to see TVNZ are screening The Grammy Awards LIVE … they would have looked SO silly not to 🙂

  2. What happened to Millionare Hot Seat? Did TVNZ lose the rights to it? Coro at 5-6pm would be a viable lead in and would allow NZ to catch up to the UK, but it would probably cause a huge uproar from fans. Another option could be to put the younger skewing Home and Away on TV One at 5.30, as it isn’t acting as a lead-in to anything important on TV2.

  3. I don’t know why all these Coronation Street fans get so up tight when ever it’s changed around. Hell the rest of us have to put up with stuff being cancelled, deferred or just not being shown after the first season. Coro fans stop being so precious.

  4. Are most Coro fans Luddites? Get a DVR and record the show, then you won’t mind when TVNZ screens it.

  5. Fantastic news that the Grammys are going to be in HD and ofcourse LIVE! I agree Philip something drastic needs to be done about Coro and the need to close the gap with the UK is urgent as all of the storylines are easily spoiled by websites. I would prefer if TVNZ would air 90 minutes of Coro and reinstate it back to Tuesdays and Thursdays with the possibility of an extra 30 minute episode on Sundays at 7pm or Wednesdays at 8pm to close the gap rather than resort to 5 til 6pm as this would upset fans. TVNZ signed a new ITV deal and surely they can improve things for Coro fans but with the latest change screenings it appears confidence is wearing thin. Just a question Philip: has TV One lost 5.30 game show Millionaire Hot Seat to Prime? and I thought Hot Seat had fixed TV One’s 5.30 issues. I doubt Home and Away would make a good fit on TV One and one only has to look back at TV One’s disastrous attempt to fix its lead-in problems with Aussie soap Neighbours back in 2007, which ended with the soap being shunted back to early afternoon and eventually back on TV2.

  6. Re TV One and Millionaire Hot Seat: TV One still has rights and will resume the series shortly. It’s as good as anything the network can lead in to the 6pm news with but I would argue Coronation Street is the more valuable property. The network’s failure to exploit its strengths, including keeping up to date with the storylines, is indicative of how the former flagship broadcaster has lost its way over the last 10 years. You can blame everything from Labour Government tinkering to a rapidly changing media landscape but ultimately those at the helm get paid handsomely for staying ahead of the curve, and with TV One the powers-that-be have failed pitifully.

  7. Good points Philip and I hope someone at the state broadcaster is listening. Glad Hotseat is coming back. Judging by the amount of negative feedback on the Coronation Street NZ Facebook page, pressure could be mounting on TVNZ to reinstate Thursday night Coro and address the lagging screening times with the UK. If all else fails I suggest Coro fans unite and occupy TVNZ until something is done.

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