Easter Comes Early for Coro Fans

No, its not an April Fool’s Joke: Coronation Street fans can look forward to four extra half-hour episodes of the soap over Easter.

Because of holiday weekend programming, TVNZ 1 will pre-empt Code Black for a Mrs Brown’s Boys special on April 13 and follow it with a 90-minute Coro broadcast from 9.10.

And on Good Friday, the serial will start at a time not seen in years — 7.00 — and continue commercial-free until 9.30 when TVNZ 1 will screen Michael McIntyre’s Easter Night at the Coliseum.

As welcomed as it will be by fans, the catch-up won’t make much of a dent in the 20-month gap between UK and NZ broadcasts, which will only stretch further with ITV planning to air six half-hours a week from mid-year.

Reportedly, producers have filed papers with the local council to expand the set’s filming location so they can add a new police station, a school and a court.

An extra two episodes week in the UK will put more pressure on TVNZ 1 programmers about how to schedule Coro.

It’s a conundrum for the broadcaster because the air time it occupies is scarcely justified by the ratings, but the show is synonymous with the network — it fought off fierce overtures from Prime to renew its ITV Studios deal — and is one of TVNZ OnDemand’s most streamed staples.

And in the face of millennials deserting primetime drama, Coro’s ratings have been not only relatively steady in its new 9.30 Thursday-Saturday slot but also often competitive.

Indeed, the changing nature of TV viewership could see Coro’s core demographic, middle-aged viewers (many of them affluent baby boomers that advertisers want to court), become more of a factor in free-to-air programming strategies.

Moreover, Coro’s popularity would leap if TVNZ 1 aired it closer to UK broadcasts so juicy storylines, like the latest to involve the Barlows, screened here within a few weeks — which is virtually what happens with every other British or Aussie soap on NZ TV.

Indeed, it’s enraging for Kiwis, who are among Coro’s biggest stalwarts worldwide, to see Australians, who shunned the soap on FTA TV decades ago, now able access it within a month of the UK on paycaster Foxtel.

The challenge for TVNZ 1 is how to overcome a gap that’s poised to widen further — with the most obvious solution being to jump forward a couple of years and put the episodes it otherwise would have aired on-demand or on a pop-up Freeview channel.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply