×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Keshet Edges Out Rival Broadcaster Reshet

It took Keshet 24 years on Israeli airwaves to earn its own 24/7 channel, and it took Keshet CEO Avi Nir an additional 100 days after its move to finally breathe a sigh of relief.

On Nov. 1, in one of the biggest-ever shakeups of Israeli television history, Keshet and its fellow concessionaire Reshet began operating their own separate 24/7 channels after years of sharing airtime on Israel’s Channel 2.

To international bystanders, Keshet, competing against its rival in every time slot for the first time in its history, should have had nothing to sweat. The company has phenomenal global clout, a wide-ranging catalog of formats and a much-discussed reputation for playing the odds and winning. On the global stage, Keshet may be a triumphant David, but in Israel it is a much-revered Goliath. The stakes, this time around, were different.

Keshet and Reshet both have blockbusters on Israeli TV. Keshet has garnered cult followings at home for “Hatufim” (“Prisoners of War,” the predecessor to “Homeland”), spy thriller “Kfulim” (“False Flag”), which was purchased for global audiences by Fox Intl. and streamed on Hulu for viewers in the U.S.; for its interactive, fourth-wall-busting singing competition “HaKochav HaBa” (“Rising Star” on ABC in the U.S. and in more than a dozen other countries) and “Eretz Nehederet,” its scathing, “Saturday Night Live”-esque sketch comedy show.

But where Keshet has cornered the market on content with an edge, it’s Reshet that owns the blockbusters. Israel’s versions of “The Amazing Race,” “X Factor,” “Survivor,” “The Voice” and “Big Brother” are all Reshet’s domains. Nir, who is notorious for refusing to even acknowledge his laurels, says for three months he was concerned Keshet would suffer when pitted against traditional crowd-pleasers, but he also couldn’t turn down the challenge.

“We looked at the move both with anxiety but also as a great opportunity, because it demanded of us that we compete with our own content,” Nir says. “And for us it wasn’t just about competing and prevailing in the ratings, but also, would we come up at the end of the day with something new? Would we break new ground? Winning the ratings is nice, but this question is the Keshet ethos.”

He wanted to make sure his content stayed as sharp as ever, and that he didn’t take any shortcuts. So he put “Rising Star” on the air opposite “X Factor,” and then he waited.

“It was very challenging knowing that our own ‘Rising Star’ would face one of the biggest formats in the world, which is ‘X-Factor,’” he says. “But you can see the results in the rating charts. They are overwhelming and they speak for themselves. We believed in the show, and it turns out it’s having one of its best seasons ever.”

Surveys and ratings were released 100 days after the move.

Keshet’s new home on Channel 12 led the market share in every way possible: commercially, on primetime, in the news, on late night, on Fridays, on the top 10 shows, and in every single slot from noon to 2 am. Keshet led the primetime average by 20-23, with a 14% lead over Reshet’s Channel 11 and 119% over Channel 10, the only other major competitor. Broadcast viewership share was up, reaching 56.2%, an all-time high.

To Nir’s surprise — if no one else’s — Keshet had done what it does best: win. ­

More TV

  • Bristol, CT - March 13, 2017

    Mina Kimes Helps ESPN Kick Off 'Daily' Podcast

    Mina Kimes is preparing to take ESPN into a new frontier. The sports-media giant has launched a “SportsCenter” for Snapchat and tested baseball telecasts for kids. Now it’s hoping to set up shop in another media venue. Starting tomorrow, the Disney-backed company launches “ESPN Daily,” a weekday morning podcast that aims to tap its vast [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

  • NETFLIX ZERO SHOWRUNNER

    Showrunner Stefano Voltaggio on Netflix's 'Zero' About Black Youths in Italy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix recently announced a new Italian original titled “Zero” that will mark the first Italian series centered around the present-day lives of black Italian youths. “Zero” is based on several books by young writer and TV music show host Antonio Dikele Distefano, who was born in Italy from Angolan parents. The project was originated by [...]

  • Content-is-King

    Top TV Execs Tackle New Distribution Landscape in Rome

    ROME – In an increasingly complex TV market, with a host of new big-ticket streaming services preparing to enter an already crowded arena, both buyers and sellers are rethinking some of the fundamentals of the TV business as they grapple with the best way to reach global audiences. A host of top producers, network executives, [...]

  • MIA-MARKET-2019_Europe-Producers-Club_4

    European Producers and Broadcasters Debate How to Weather Streaming Storm

    ROME – The impending rollout of Disney Plus, HBO Max, and other new streaming services promises a new era of uncertainty—and opportunity—for broadcasters and producers in an industry already disrupted by the likes of Netflix and Amazon. At a panel hosted by the European Producers Club Friday afternoon during the MIA market in Rome, executives [...]

  • Kevin-Beggs

    Lionsgate TV Chairman Kevin Beggs on Streamers and TV’s ‘Platinum Era’

    ROME – Over the course of two decades in the industry, Lionsgate Television chairman Kevin Beggs has witnessed the ups and downs of a business that has frequently found itself confronting both dizzying new possibilities as well as existential threats. But these days the veteran exec, who oversees the development of all scripted and non-scripted content [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content