More of Ben Elton’s Ratings

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:

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:

Seven vs nine


  1. So really it did okay?

    But what about a breakdown by age and gender? If the fall-off was mainly in the old-fuddy-duddies-offended-by-knob-jokes demographic, then maybe the ratings were much steadier in the appealing-to-advertisers demographics? In which case the show is saved! …yay?

  2. Josh Kinal says:

    It didn’t do okay. It just didn’t do as badly as we thought last week. The problem is still the disparity between Seven and Nine.

    Seven’s ratings are still consistently double those of Nine for the time slot. The show is likely doomed.

  3. i’m curious to know if the ben elton show actually started AT 9.30, or if it’s like most programming these days – starting significantly later than it’s advertised starting time? also the sharp changes in these graphs suggest that the statistics are reviewed on the 1/4 hour, not continuously throughout the hour. so one could reason that the show prior to LFPE, still broadcasting at 9.30, finished with ~210k veiwers and LFPE started with only ~120k veiwers and lost maybe 30k veiwers in the next 45 minutes???

  4. Top Gear is on before LFPE and this week it didn’t run long over… They actually just had the final money shot ‘film’ (as Top Gear call it) with Hamster racing a VW Beetle – him in a Porsche, the VW being dropped from a crane, one mile up. It seemed the fact that they shot on a salt pan caused the Porsche to lose – Hamster’s explanation, anyways.

    Apart from just saying they’re doing the show live, there’s absolutely no reason why they have any need to do is live. I recall Let Loose Live fell into a similar trap – making a huge deal out of being fully live to air – including the Live boast in the title – but Let Loose Live was better than LFPE.

    As for the numbers, it wouldn’t surprise me if those with people meters, having blown their load on Top Gear, just left the telly running while they filled their hot water bottles and brushed their teeth.

    The broadcasters do get a minute by minute breakdown on the viewer figures but the public ones never seem that detailed. I don’t think I’m causing any trouble at this point to reveal that for Rove Live (or whatever it was called in the end) the minute by minute figures for the opening of the show, going from Rove to Carrie Bickmore to Pete Hellier, were very closely guarded and clearly indicative of the audience’s regard for each of them.

  5. I tried to watch it, I really did, but I ended up turning off both weeks after one of the first sketches – the annoying teenage girls (omg like how totally random are teenagers?!!). Were the sketches that followed really as bad as the cringe worthy first one? Why would they lead with something so … bad?

    I feel for the actors because they’re just doing their best with what they’ve been given – Kate McLennan (annoying teen #1) for example was hilarious when she supported Nelly at the MICF.

    Do you guys think it would have had more of a chance if Ben had collaborated with some Aussie born and bred writers?

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