Last week we mentioned the ratings for Ben Elton: Live from Planet Earth across the country. That graphic didn’t give the full picture because, while it showed a big drop off for the show itself it didn’t give an indication of what happens generally at that timeslot.
So, for last Tuesday (15 Feb) we have the Melbourne figures of Seven vs Nine.
Both networks have a sharp drop from 9:30 to 9:45. Apparently Australians just don’t like watching TV after 9:30.Or maybe it’s the quality of the programming. Either way, let’s accept that drop across the board.
So let’s look at percentages. Seven sheds a total of just under 49% while Nine loses almost 55% of its audience.
Retention is the key here. Ben Elton continues to remind us of this just before every ad break when he’s pleading with people to stay awake.
The percentage retention is actually quite comparable, especially if we take into account some points about genre:
- Channel Seven screened Parenthood in that time slot. That’s a one hour drama.
- Ben Elton: Live from Planet Earth is a sketch show.
We can possibly assume that an audience is more inclined to watch until the end of the program with a one hour drama because they have emotional investment in the characters. That’s clearly an advantage towards audience retention that Ben Elton lacks.
Throughout last Tuesday’s episode, Elton hit out at the “Twitterati” which, aside from making him look like a sookie-la-la (official industry term), is also the exact opposite to what he needs to do.
If the show is truly live he needs to take advantage of that. Twitter is the medium through which people will find out about something and switch the channel. If the people on Twitter at 9:45 on a Tuesday are saying nice things about your show it’s because they are actually entertained.
It all just adds up to Ben Elton not understanding his potential audience, how the medium of TV has changed and, most importantly, what is funny, entertaining and enjoyable.
I hope this look at statistics does not cause Ben Elton to compare me to Hitler.
Here’s the graph: