New Year's Eve show tops 40% ratings share
NHK’s “The Red White Song Contest,” the pubcaster’s traditional end-of-year variety show, captured a market share of more than 40% Thursday, boosted by the appearance of singing sensation Susan Boyle.A Japanese broadcasting staple since the dawn of television in the 1950s, the show pits male and female singing teams against each other in a contest whose winners are determined by a panel of judges and an audience vote. Broadcast on New Year’s Eve, it has consistently been the highest-rated show on Japanese TV, other than for certain news and sports events. A last-minute addition, Boyle received a reported $56,300 to sung her signature number, “I Dreamed a Dream.” But her brief appearance, widely whooped up in the local media, gave the show a ratings spike that lifted it to 40.8%, according to the Video Research rating service. A rating below 40%, which last occurred in 2007, is considered a disaster for the pubcaster. Also giving the show a boost was veteran rocker Eiichi Yazawa, the Japanese Bruce Springsteen, who rarely appears on TV — save in ads for a best-selling beer and other products. Launched in 1951, “The Red and White Song Contest” hit its record-high rating in 1963 with 81.4%. Most of Japan’s all-time ratings date from this era when entertainment alternatives were fewer. Today, a regularly skedded show that scores above 20% is considered a ratings smash, though some news and sports events, such as World Cup soccer matches with the Japanese national team, score ratings in the 30s and above.