Oz private webs in tighter race
SYDNEY — Oz network chiefs have been under siege on the domestic front after the Sydney Olympic Games in September 2000, the introduction Jan. 1 of a new ratings system and the slowdown of the ad market — convergence U.S. style is far from their minds.
The three commercial nets — Seven, Nine and Ten — compete with two pubcasters, ABC and SBS, and a slowly growing pay TV sector operated by three carriers, Optus, Austar and Foxtel.
Nine was for a decade Oz’s undisputed ratings king but a new ratings service provided by ATR Australia for OzTAM, a company jointly owned by the commercial webs, has revealed a flatter aud-share landscape.
Now Seven and Nine compete weekly for dominance; Seven says that despite the advertising downturn, it has increased its market share.
CanWest’s Ten, which programs for the 16-39 demographic, emerged as a serious competitor in all demos in June and July with its telecast of Southern Star Endemol’s “Big Brother.” The reality skein provided Ten a buffer for the ad slowdown and will return in 2002.
Southern Star’s relationship with Ten has also borne fruit in the drama department: The web has commissioned a second series of “The Secret Life of Us,” co-funded by the U.K.’s Channel 4.
Seven has ramped up development of reality and drama, but it just lost decades-old programming lynchpin, Australian Rules Football, to nets Ten and Nine and Foxtel.
Seven programmer Chris O’Mara is upbeat: “Nine has increased costs to look forward to and Seven is free to do a lot of other things.”
Meanwhile, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., all the private networks decided not to attend the Mipcom market this year.
| TV homes:7.3 million
Cable homes:1.1 million
Local programming:55% (primetime quota)
Top show:“ER” on Nine Network