Can Nine & TEN compete against My Kitchen Rules?

2013-02-07_2238We’re not even in official survey and already many words have been exchanged over the might of Seven’s My Kitchen Rules and whether rival networks have a hope in hell.

So here’s a few more.

It was only twelve months ago that MKR was attracting bumper ratings while Nine had Excess Baggage and TEN had The Biggest Loser. In that fight it was the show with the point of difference (food not dieting) that won the battle. So using that theory it should be The Block that is out front in 2013. But since when was television predictable?

Seven has now enjoyed three nights over 2 million viewers. Nobody expected MKR to increase its lead when The Block entered the fray, let alone by such a big margin. Thank the “Spice Girls’, Seven’s editors and marketers for that lift. Viewers stuck with the gameplay through this week until their ultimate elimination. It became a three-night narrative.

Masterchef: The Professionals has sunk from 1.12m to 553,000. Worse was to come for Glee, down to 377,000. The good news is there are still 1.12m who show us they are connected to the show, just maybe not as it airs Live. As Reality Ravings blog detailed, even Julie Goodwin is watching MKR live (but insists she is still watching all of MasterChef too).

The Block‘s two episodes (it did not air on Wesnesday) have hovered around 950,000. Whilst it was only head to head for 30 minutes, it’s a disappointing number for such a huge investment.

None of these figures give the full picture in a fragmented landscape.

The Block did better business in the Demos, winning at 7pm. MasterChef has been lifting by around 70,000 – 90,000 from Timeshifted viewing for last week. But that’s a long way short of addressing the MKR juggernaut.

Nine will have its sights set on The Block‘s first room reveal. Who doesn’t love a TV makeover? Monday can’t come soon enough for Nine.

We are all smarter Programmers in hindsight. But unless numbers change dramatically, a few questions will need to be asked:
– was it wise of TEN to pit one cooking show against another?
– how can viewers reasonably commit to more than one stripped Reality show at once?
– are Encore episodes actually detrimental to Overnight figures? If there are more opportunities to sample a show, do viewers gravitate to the one that doesn’t replay?
– Casting, casting, casting. Are viewers leaning towards personality over talent, new faces over old?

And lastly, we are still in summer ratings. It hasn’t always been an even fight.

But none of that matters when the end game is to bond an audience to a product.

Right now perception is everything.


  1. cynical old codger

    @ David Knox February 10 2013 10-40 am.

    Up’m David because while your watching theirs, you may miss mine.
    But it is a bit ironic though, where a long comment, results in one of my shortest.

  2. Oh and I think the block all stars will be the biggest flop of the year….if its already lingering that low after just starting and with that price tag….it will be hard to beat especially if the ratings fall below 800,000

  3. I watched and enjoyed the block last year. It is good to get to know the new faces and watch the story lines. However, the challenges are so child like and boring its the only part of the show I don’t like. I don’t mind the premise of the actual challenges but surely they could be more relevant to “The Block”. When slated against MKR which is slick, entertaining, emotive… just doesn’t compete. It is a good show when not titled against A grade shows like MKR. It is a little like Australia Got Talent … on its own its watchable and probably enjoyable…but when there is an A grader next to it its a no brainer. Having said that im shocked how low its rating I would have expected at the very least 1.2-1.3 million….

    Such an expensive show to produce no doubt there is some very sore and troubled heads at Ch9.

  4. The Block – used to watch religiously when it was on once a week… but all those challenges and silliness they’ve added to stretch it out over the week doesnt’t appeal to me at all and arn’t done well imo… i just tune in and out on reveal nights and maybe catch another episode here or there

    MC – i was kinda interested in another season of MC cos i enjoyed the last one… but when i found out it professional contestants that put me off… nothing against the show, i havent seen it to judge whether its good or bad… it just didn’t appeal to me to watch people who are already succeeding in their field

    MKR – anyone who doesn’t know this is a soap opera, would have to be pretty thick… there is soooooo much of it that’s obviously staged and scripted

    for example those boys making the ravioli and almost running out of eggs… we only saw them break 4 eggs… are you telling me that when you’re part of a major television cooking show and you have to make a ‘runny egg’ ravioli for 12 people, where it is specifically tricky to crack the eggs right, that you wouldn’t buy more than 4 extra eggs?????

    i think it very common in the show when things are going “too well” for a couple, that there will be some sudden “almost run out of ingredients”
    or “lost ingredient” saga staged for drama

    i know in general 7 probably classify this as a “cooking” show… but i dont think that’s how they sell it… all the advertisements etc focus on the disasters and dramas and snidy remarks… so the audience knows exactly what they’re tuning in to see

    but its made well… it’s addictive… that’s why it’s winning… and will continue too

  5. I’d never watched MKR before, maybe all the promo’s over xmas hooked me in. It was definitely the personalities that made me curious. The contestants are all really bqd at cooking, but all the backstabbing they do really makes you want to see them fail when it’s their turn. I hated the spice girls with a passion, but it’s good tv. That’s what makes it addictive. What are the alternatives.. the block is about watching people build a room, and holds no interest for me. I’m over masterchef, i,ve watched lots of uk series then australian ones….the professionals seem a bit too boring. It is like watching someone working.

  6. Secret Squirrel

    @TasTVcameraman – this has been covered before. The ratings you are referring to are clearly denoted as being for the 5 main capital cities (aggregate population less than 14 mil). You’ve only listed the ratings for 3 of the 20 FTA channels available in those 5 cities, plus there are all those people who are watching one of the zillions of Foxtel channels.

    Then add in anyone watching something recorded earlier on their PVR or via an official catchup site. Don’t forget the growing number people who watch via non-traditional means (eg unofficial catchup TV websites, IPTV, Hulu, Netflix, DVDs, USB drive borrowed from a friend, torrents, etc, etc).

    Lastly, it’s prob a biased sample, but I know plenty of people that rarely watch television via any means. Often they’re in households of 4-6 people where (say) two may watch TV while the others do something else.

    I think that the ratings figures are more likely to be inflated rather than the other way around. OzTAM don’t give ratings boxes to households that don’t watch much TV, so the sampling is biased (which is fine as long as the bias has been accurately measured). I’d be interested to know whether the underlying assumptions regarding the correlation between a ratings box and the number of people that it is assumed to represent have changed in the last few years as people’s on-line habits have evolved.

  7. I will never watch MKR…The ads are far to negative with too many backstabbing people…I will stay watching The Block (with MasterChef during ad breaks).
    Remember this is The Block All Stars not The Block which will return later in the year bigger & better than ever.

  8. TasTVcameraman

    It is about time that we had a ratings system that will correctly reflect what Australians are watching, if 2.23 mill are watching MKR, and adjusting for time shifting Masterchef around 1.12 and the block around 1 mill to be generous, that is a total of around 4.35 mill people, just what are the other 17 million people in Australia watching giving that the pop of Aust 2012 census is over 21 million people ?

    I know it is meant to be representative of the rest but is it times by 2 or 3 or 4 to get the figure to get it close to our 21 million people, or what ?

    Or are the other 17 million people listening to the radio ? I really do not think so. The person who invents a true ratings system that can collect data from every ones viewing will be on a winner.

  9. @ Alfagiirl- you poor thing. You might have a bit of a problem given MC Professionals is only a short run. The MKR dinner party rounds might still be going and the only option at this rate!

  10. I don’t watch any of them. Can’t stand cooking shows full stop but when mixed with faux drama and stupid challenges I gladly give them a pass.

    My husband would watch The Block if it concentrated more on the renovations but he will only be watching the room reveals because again the “drama” and stupid challenges take precedence.

  11. It;s quite interesting actually. Shows us what the Aussie public is interested in. We atm are loving people who can;t cook with annoying personalities and a cheap looking production over Pro chefs who can cook with mostly boring personalities with high production values lol.

  12. Maev....Sydney

    I prefer Masterchef….I did dip my toe into MKR…bit cringe worthy…like the brother and sister and the pot that caught fire…they dragged that out…like…hello…put a lit on it…done and dusted….sheesh….
    And having worked in kitchens…even the smallest one….the Chef is the all seeing and woe betide you if you if you are not on the ball.

  13. maybe the networks would do better if they came up with original ideas rather than copying each other with reality in the early evening.

    I don’t watch any of these shows, but I would be more inclined to watch formats which aren’t stretched out across every night of the week. Shows such as Australia’s Got Talent, The Amazing Race and Survivor are easy and entertaining to watch, and they don’t have to create “drama” to keep the audience interested every night.

  14. I am currently watching both MKR and MCP. I’ll stop watching MKR after the home restaurant rounds then maybe watch the final week. I’ll keep watching MCP because I really really really like Marco Pierre White. I must say that trying to watch both shows is hard work. I don’t think I would do it again next year if they are up against each other.

  15. I love MKR. I used to love Masterchef. It was must watch tv, but since the Dalai Lama episode i stopped watching and haven’t been back since. Ten only has its self to blame for it’s demise. It had a winning formula, you could tune in each night and know what the challenge was, then they ruined that, had ridiculous guests (Dalai Lama) that made it so pretentious, split the finale, and then Junior MC, Celebrity MC, now MC Professionals. Ten started its demise, MKR is now just finishing the job

  16. This is nothing new. Masterchef, MKR, The Voice,The X Factor, The Block, Idol and Biggest Loser have done the same thing.

    Many viewers don’t have time to follow more than one stripped reality TV show, if you time-shift it you fall behind what is happening and by using staggered programming and a following show that appeals to the same audience you can dominate live viewers from 7:30-9:45pm.

    At the moment it is singing contests and cooking contests that are hot. And MKR, The Voice and The X Factor have been tweaked until they are highly successful and it is a winner takes all game. But eventually audiences will get tired of them and something else will come along.

  17. David, will you be putting out the numbers for the latest MKR? Now that the spice girls have gone, it will be interesting to see the numbers. I have to admit I enjoyed the smiling sam episode though.

    “Why are you smiling? Do you think this is a joke?”

    PS. CH9 will return with The Voice – their jewel in the crown.

  18. @tvf, I agree, the instant restaurant phase is the best part of MKR and is its point of difference from other cooking shows, as the stellar casting ensures the interesting and compelling interplay of personalities. MKR have nailed this particulalr dramatic since Season 1, the casting has always been so good. However, they don’t really get back into kitchen HQ towards the end of the series as, after the instant restaurant rounds, they usually do offsite challenges similar to the MasterChef ones. It is only in the last few weeks they do their challenges in HQ. I don’t think the gloss will fall off after this round, it didn’t last year, it still rated very highly.

    Interesting to see that the second lot of contestants have two similar women to Biswa and Jessie – the two women from SA will take over their mantle. As for the gatecrashers, I note that there are no NZ teams in the instant restaurant round this year, which surprises me as MKR is a hit on NZ television, so I’m wondering if they are introducing two NZ teams?

  19. bettestreep2008

    TasTVcameron – although the spice girls have gone, MKR has other couples for viewers to hate. The brother and sister from the Sunshine coast, the Cupcake and beauty queens from last night and apparently there are going to be ‘gatecrashers’ soon.

    And of course – I wouldn’t be surprised if the spice girls returned either.

    The show has nothing to do with cooking – it’s all about getting viewers to side with one team over another.

    As for MCP – well the promos implied that Pierre-White was going to be nastier than Gordon Ramsay (remember he reduced him to tears) but so far the judges have been supporting and offering tons of constructive criticism to the contestants.

    A far cry from ‘game on moll’ and ‘this looks like poo’ from the MKR mob.

    Sadly it’s bitchiness that’s winning over the viewers at the moment. Very sad indeed.

  20. carolemorrissey

    I’ve never watched MKR and never got into it, always been on at a bad time of year. All the shows come back, or new shows start and there is just too much on. It’s too much of a tie down. I like MasterChef so have been watching that. Be interesting too see now those 2 girls have gone if ratings drop.

    I’ve always wondered how the ratings work. Isn’t it just a cross section of people have a gadget of some sort or has it changed since then?

  21. So if the Block doesn’t have room reveal on a Sunday I will miss it all together! Not into drama and challenges, just renovation, tips and interior design!
    I realise some viewers love the drama and casting makes a difference (hence MKR success) but some just love the original premise without the reality over kill. Grand deigns is a good example of building with some drama but not the main focus.

  22. Of all the tv stereotypes,there is none i dislike more than the menacing culinary’genius’..and that about describes Marco Pierre.I don’t know if he’s a jerk in his private life;he may be a nice normal guy.But,much like Gordon Ramsay he has cultivated a lucrative tv persona by being disquieting,obnoxious,anal,and menacing.He made Gordon Ramsay cry..woopdeedoo.He repeats himself in triplicate like a maniacal Dustin Hoffman Rainman…the occasional words of encouragement he utters supposed to make us feel he only has the contestant’s best interests at heart,and tough love is what they need.Well I don’t feel comfortable with it,and switched off after ep 1.I figured the show would be a fail..thought it’d settle in at 5 or 600k.and it looks like that’s what’s happening.I don’t get the hubris that has developed around chefs, as if the ability to blow bubbles and create pea foam is akin to developing polio vaccine.I’ll take a pass,and watch the Maggie Beers and Luke Nguyens,but certainly not Mpw..the godfather of modern a break please.

  23. TasTVcameraman

    My opinion is that some of the gloss will fall off My Kitchen rules now that the two have gone, but I must admit even though I am not a fan of cooking shows I have watched a bit of MKR and Masterchef and found them both to be excellent shows, too bad you can only watch one show at a time, this is where the PVR comes in handy.

  24. No. The instant restuarant stage of mkr is the best part. Whether the ratings continue this high or drop a little will depend on how good the stages at kitchen hq are.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.