News Reigns In Holland

Sunday night is TV night in Holland. Six of the week’s top 10 shows are screened in primetime, which is the focus of increasing competition between pub nets Nederland 1,2 and 3 and Luxembourg-based private broadcaster RTL-4. So far, the pub nets have the lead.

Focus of their Sunday night schedules, and highest-rated show of the week, is “NOS News,” carried on all three public webs. In the week ended Nov. 3, it garnered a combined 4.16 million viewers.

The newscast was preceded on Ned-3 by “Studio Sport,” which took third place in the ratings with 2.59 million viewers.

On Ned-1, the news was followed by domestic comedy series “Strange Practice” (in eighth place with 2.14 million) and the satirical consumer magazine show “It Gets Worse” (second place with 3.56 million).

Ned-2 followed the news with the upmarket humor show “A Weak Week,” which took 10th place with 2.08 million viewers.

RTL-4, which is not legally recognized in Holland but reaches Dutch viewers via cable, managed fourth place with the Tuesday edition of its daily primetime soap “Good Times, Bad Times” (2.36 million) and fifth place with its Friday night comedy series “Friends for Life” (2.33 million).

Since RTL-4 hit Dutch screens two years ago, the CLT-operated private station has captured 30% of audiences and advertisers.

* In France, Luc Besson’s “The Big Blue” has moved from a massive theatrical hit to a smash on TV. TF-1 reportedly paid the highest non-prebuy price for a movie in French history – $1.6 million to $1.8 million.

The web launched an all-out sponsored on-air promotion, also a first in French TV, and a nationwide press campaign. It paid off. Pic screened Sunday, Oct. 27, and garnered a 30/66 rating/share with 15 million viewers.

Meanwhile, police show “Navarro,” produced by Paris-based production company Hamster, has proved a weekly hit on TF-1. On Thursday, Oct. 31, the show, whose title character is noted for his nonviolence, picked up a 19 rating/40 share for 9.5 million viewers, comfortably ahead of pubcaster Antenne-2’s weekly current affairs magazine “Envoye Special” (11/22,5.5 million).

TF-1 was prevented from making a clean sweep of the top-rated programs that week by the increasingly popular comedy trio Les Inconnus’ appearance on Antenne-2. The net has commissioned a series of sketch shows, and on Monday, Oct. 28, programmed “La Tele Des Inconnus” opposite Gallic pic “Les Freres Petards” on TF-1. Antenne-2 won the day with a score of 19/38 (9.5 million), the best of the week for the pubcaster.

Weblet M6 showed that “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” still has a following 25 years after its original release. Clint Eastwood, et al., were in action Oct. 28, and reaped a 5/14 (2.5 million) score – the hit of the week for M6 even though the pic screened on FR-3 in February.

M6 also scored the previous week with a little-known British telefilm, “Rogue Stallion” (Tuesday, Oct. 22), which achieved an astonishing 7/15 (3.5 million) against Antenne-2’s “Good Morning, Vietnam” (11/25,5.5 million) and La Cinq’s “Top Gun” (10/21,5 million). TF-1 stole the show with a soccer game (14/31,7 million).

* In Australia, the Rugby World Cup set records for wee-hours viewing. The event was held in the U.K. and games were screened Down Under at 1 a.m. The final, in which Australia beat England, was screened by ABC in the early hours of Saturday, Nov. 1, and captured 2.1 million viewers for an average rating of 22 and an average share of 70%.

* The same game also broke records in Blighty, with 13 million viewers on the ITV web. Deriving great satisfaction from the figures is BSkyB, which has the exclusive U.K. broadcasting rights for next year’s cricket world cup.

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