Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Paul Henry's slow-cooking brekkie

Australia's Channel Ten Breakfast show team (from left) Magdalena Roze, Paul Henry, Andrew Rochford and Kathryn Robinson. Photo / Supplied
Australia's Channel Ten Breakfast show team (from left) Magdalena Roze, Paul Henry, Andrew Rochford and Kathryn Robinson. Photo / Supplied

Paul Henry's Australian career is off to a modest start as his new Breakfast show pulls an average 281,000 fewer viewers than its biggest rival.

Channel Ten's Breakfast programme, co-hosted by Henry, was watched by an average of 41,000 viewers in its first full week, according to a summary by media communication firm Fusion Strategy.

The show has roughly doubled Ten's audience share, with small numbers of viewers migrating from programmes on rival networks.

Children's programmes and cartoons that previously ran in Breakfast's slot attracted around 24,000 viewers.

Seven's Sunrise leads the breakfast TV wars with 322,000 viewers, with Nine's Today runner-up on 282,000.

Despite the modest beginnings, Anthony Flannery, Ten's head of news, said he was confident the show and Henry would win over viewers.

"I'm not taking any note of [ratings]. I'm telling my people, don't look at them. It's not even in our thinking at this stage.

"We just need people to find their way through the early morning congestion to realise there's another programme on the block."

Mr Flannery said Henry had already won over sceptics with his interviewing ability.

"Paul's settling into a new country, he's settling into a new city, he's settling into a new employer, and he's settling into a start-up programme.

"So there's a hell of a lot on his plate there, and in true Henry style, he's excelling."

Henry has so far failed to live up to the controversial reputation that preceded him, something Mr Flannery said showed he was "finding his way in the market".

The show was a "medium-term project" but he had not defined specific times or goal audience numbers.

"People have been trying to get us to put ratings numbers ... [but] let's just get it on air, let's see how it goes.

"Despite some murmurings I've read in the media, from the CEO down through all the department heads there's nothing but complete support for this programme."

Fusion Strategy chief executive Steve Allen said that by his company's own analysis, Breakfast would need eventually to average around 100,000 viewers.

"It's certainly feeling like it's going to build ... It's going to be a relatively slow build, we feel.

"But as long as they don't lose numbers, it will be fine."

Rival networks Seven and Nine were "throwing everything and the kitchen sink" at the new kid on the block and were using prize give-aways and celebrity interviews to hang on to viewers, he said.

Channel Ten would understand that and would be happy to wait until their attention was diverted to make a drive for better ratings.

Mr Allen said the more controversial side to Henry could be used to increase ratings if growth slowed.

Early morning wars

Breakfast - Channel Ten -
41,000 average - 6.36 per cent share

Sunrise - Channel Seven -
322,000 average - 49.92 per cent share

Today - Channel Nine -
282,000 average - 43.72 per cent share

Source: OzTAM ratings data average metro audience, week of February 27.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 31 Aug 2014 07:25:42 Processing Time: 3741ms