RC: The Channel Seven Factor – the network couldn’t put a foot wrong, regardless of what pap they offered up. MKR, The X Factor and AGT enjoyed swollen audience numbers while Beauty And The Geek – a stale US format – had all eyes on it. They mucked around with Packed To The Rafters yet still the audience comes. Winners & Losers may have been light, but it too found a decent following. When you axe a show that’s pulling 900s (Wild Boys) you know you’re in a pretty bloody special place.
AM: 2011 was all about the domination of Seven and the fall of Ten.
GS: This will be known as the year MasterChef went off the boil.
DS: Success of stripped format – when it’s done properly. You need great casting. Great timing, and then a dose of luck.
GH: It was the year viewers flocked back to feel-good variety reality shows such as Australia’s Got Talent and The X Factor. The multichannels made their presence felt. While a handful of shows continued to pull big numbers, the general trend is a flattening of ratings so that 800,000 to 1 million viewers has become the new benchmark for commercial viability. The ABC returned to local drama in a big way with Paper Giants, The Slap and its first long-running drama in years, Crownies. Ten’s failed experiment with serious current affairs suggests the commercial networks will wash their hands of the genre in future, leaving it to SBS and the ABC.
HB: Insult-the-star journalism on 60 Minutes. For shame Michael Usher (Sarah Ferguson) and Liam Bartlett (Joan Collins).
SY: Singing, cooking, renovating. Surprised there wasn’t a show combining all three. Reality lives. It may just get a big tweak for 2012.
KQ: Fragmentation. This was the year we really saw multichannelling bite. What impact it will have on production values – especially for drama – will depend to some degree on the convergence review, but at this stage I’d be worried.
AMF: Death by Twitter.
JM: Splitting shows for the OzTAM rankings – let’s hope it’s a trend that doesn’t flourish.
RC: Nine’s ability to strip was a winner – The Block and Celebrity Apprentice proved people want regularity and we’re likely to see a whole lot more of it next year.
AM: Using rock music for promos (thank you Seven and Downton Abbey).
GS: Coding the last five to 10 minutes of reality TV show finale (“the winner revealed”) as a separate program to skip a series up the night’s ratings rankings. OzTam needs to clamp down on this practice which simply blurs peak and average audiences for a program. It’s been done in previous years, but was an across-all-networks scourge this year.
DS: Cross promotion intruding further into “news” and “current affairs” shows. Increased inability to program shows in time to promote them. Slick promos for shows which were then rescheduled at the last minute. TBAs and late changes remain viewers’ biggest bugbear. They won’t commit to shows because they can’t trust them to stay around.
GH: Nine’s success stripping reality shows at 7pm has given it a strategy for 2012. Coding shows in segments to artificially inflate the ratings as Nine did with The Celebrity Apprentice. If everyones does it, ratings will become meaningless. The continued rise of the multichannels. As long as they have a clear identity they can work wonders for the network total without canibalising the main channel.
SY: Fast-tracking US shows and swapping timeslots to the point where the audience forgets the show is on or doesn’t realise episodes are new because there’s almost no promo time. Badly or sneakily edited ads that show almost all the best bits of shows or give a wrong impression of what actually happens. Twitter’s continuing power to sound the early death knell of a show and give viewers a voice.
KQ: Well, here’s one that emerged that I expect we won’t see again – the disastrous call by Ten to make a Renovators sandwich out of the finale of MasterChef. It probably hurt both shows, but it definitely left a bad taste in the mouth for all those who had not yet been convinced to give Renovators a try, and I suspect led many to swear off ever doing so.
JM: Nine programmers rediscover the power of the 7pm slot.