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Even State Of Origin Can’t Stop Free To Air TV Woes

As consumers turn to streaming on mobiles, tablets and notebooks several big budget free to air shows are taking a hit.

Even the once popular State of Origin NRL game on the Nine Network, which this year was shifted to a Sunday night for the second game struggled.

The big game which in the past has been a ratings winner shrank by 2.12 million viewers for game II — held on a Sunday night instead of the Origin’s traditional Wednesday timeslot — and then 1.77 viewers for the dead rubber game III, with the series already won by the NSW Blues.

Also, on the Nine Network the much-publicised new season of last year’s breakout success Ninja Warrior got off to a disappointing start with just 929,000 viewers on launch night this month, falling to 831,000 viewers two days later.

According to the Australian newspaper viewer fatigue with the format has been partly blamed for the show’s failure to match the ratings achieved last year when Ninja’s launch episode reached an average audience of 1.676 million viewers in the capital cities.

“Ninja is still pulling big audiences and beating both House Rules and MasterChef,” a Nine spokesman said. “We’re confident that it will continue to build as the series progresses.”

It came as Nine spent what is believed to have been about $14m — about double the production cost of The Bachelor — on its Love Island experiment, which attracted an average metro audience of just 263,000 viewers on its 9Go multichannel.

At the halfway stage of the ­ratings year, analysis by The Australian has revealed that Seven is the big winner — the only ­commercial free-to-air television network to grow its audience share in an increasingly fragmented market.

Despite a resurgent Nine, Seven has held on to its ratings crown to record the largest-ever first-half market share, with 41.2 per cent of available viewers between February 11 and July 11, up from 39.4 per cent in the prior corresponding period.

Second-placed Nine’s share of the commercial free-to-air market slipped by 0.2 percentage points to 36.3 per cent following a disappointing performance from the much-hyped Love Island on 9Go. Ten fell 1.7 percentage points to 22.5 per cent.

Meanwhile demand for subscription TV such as Netflix, Fetch, Foxtel and Nine Networks Stan continues to grow.

Netflix, Hulu and Amazon last week picked up a total of 161 Emmy nominations in the US — compared with 159 for traditional TV networks. Apple isn’t even in the market yet — the tech giant is predicted to spend $US4.2 billion ($5.6m) on original content by 2022

Ten will this week launch its second-half content slate in ­private sessions with agencies and marketers.

Executives from CBS Corporation are in town to talk up the shows chosen to plug the gap left after Seven snapped up the Big Bash League rights as part of its $450m deal with Cricket Australia. Ten will also test eight new shows in its upcoming pilot week.

In their latest campaign Foxtel is floating the proposition that their new subscription deal is ‘better value’ than a $4 a day daily coffee, as part of a new campaign push.

In one piece of work, a woman sits opposite her coffee cup in a cafe. A voiceover says: ‘right now, Foxtel is better value than your daily coffee, unless it’s a seriously entertaining latte’.

It seeks to promote what Foxtel has described as its ‘best TV pack’ – under $4 a day. When paid monthly, Foxtel will provide users with a discount.

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