Seven boss Tim Worner has talked down the impact of illegal piracy on broadcast television, in the wake of much discussion about TEN’s low ratings for Homeland.
This is despite Seven having previously been a part of AFACT’s failed bid to make internet service providers accountable for illegal activities of their subscribers.
It’s fair to say that Seven is less impacted by downloading than TEN and Foxtel, because its audience skews older.
Seven is holding off the second season of Revenge and the third season of Downton Abbey until 2013.
It also has Last Resort and Mrs Biggs amongst its upcoming international titles.
“I’m confident that those shows won’t be greatly affected by the fact they have been on somewhere else first,” Worner told Daily Telegraph.
“I know there are other people in the industry who feel differently (about the ratings effects of illegal downloading) and they are making their programming decisions based on that feeling, but I think it’s jumping at shadows.
“By saying that I am not saying we have our head in the sand and we don’t think that there are challenges we are facing, but I don’t think it’s going to kill television.”
Seven has strategically chosen to fast-track a selection of shows that are established such as Grey’s Anatomy and The Amazing Race but holding new titles to next year. Nine has adopted a similar approach. But TEN is seeking to lift its performance with fast-tracked shows.
But viewing habits are constantly changing, and some shows are susceptible to both downloading as well as timeshifting on PVRs.
What is rarely reported in media is the boost from Consolidated data. Last week The Good Wife pulled 490,000 viewers but increased by 123,000 viewers on Consolidated numbers to reach to 613,000 viewers, -another 25%. Yesterday TEN CEO James Warburton noted with frustration that the US industry focusses a lot more on Timeshifted data than Australia.
Meanwhile, Worner also told SKY News Business yesterday that he hoped TEN would improve, if only to help take eyeballs away from Nine. No doubt, Nine is feeling mutual about that one.