TV bosses struggle to rule ratings

By Nick Grant

Photo / Martin Sykes
Photo / Martin Sykes

Mediaworks' receivership has several implications for the future of TV3, Four and the New Zealand television market in general.

An immediate repercussion is TV3 losing Home and Away, which for years dominated the 5.30pm slot and provided a strong lead-in to 3 News and the channel's evening line-up. By snaffling it and scheduling it at the same time, TV2 has weakened its rival's grip on viewers and ensured TVNZ will rule the 5.30pm ratings roost, thanks to One's Millionaire Hot Seat recently surpassing Home and Away in popularity.

One silver lining: Mediaworks can use the receivership-triggered clause that caused the soap's loss to renegotiate programme purchase deals and reduce costs. But if the company overplays its hand, it risks other successful shows and even Four's future, if too many series go south.

The most worrying possibility is TV3 retreating from local drama and comedy, and ramping up production of much cheaper reality shows, a likely prospect with reality mogul Julie Christie on Mediaworks' new board.

Mediaworks' new bosses also need to consider the nebulous notion of value, and recall it was shows such as Outrageous Fortune and bro'Town that made the company a TV contender.

- Herald on Sunday

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