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Seven Sharp in ratings tailspin/On human bondage

UPDATE / Feb 10: Seven Sharp rebounded somewhat on Friday, pulling 376,000 5+ viewers (Campbell Live was again holding steady, with 252,000).

The higher rating was achieved despite being a man down - although Brian Edwards maintains the temporary shift from trio to duo helped the show's dynamic.

Edwards makes other intellectual points. But RNZ's Media Watch made an interesting point this morning, recalling a Chris Philpott blog that highlights a logic-defying point: That is, Campbell Live came back on air on January 21, two weeks before Seven Sharp's debut.

You would think that as the only current affairs show on at 7pm, Campbell Live would attract some of the half-million odd people who used to watch Close Up when the two shows played head-to-head. Or, heck, maybe 200,000 of them, or 100,000 ... But no, Campbell Live ratings were much as they were this week, with TV1's Border Patrol soaking up 400,000 to 500,000 viewers per night.

Why? Media Watch came back to NBR's original ratings prediction for Seven Sharp: that it would win because New Zealanders have a primeval urge to default to TV One. Sometimes, you can't overthink things.


UPDATE / Feb 8: Mayday, mayday, Seven Sharp is going down.

Nielsen overnight Television Audience Measurement ratings had the new show on 296,970 5+ viewers on Thursday - its fourth straight drop from its so-so 497,000 Monday night debut (the sort of numbers Close Up used to pull), and not far ahead of Campbell Live which was up slightly to 248,000.

As ever, Shortland Street as the big winner, reeling in 637,000 5+ viewers.

Seven Sharp's big plunge Wednesday night was blamed on Waitangi Day. Last night will be harder to spin. It's now well below Close Up's average in the week it got axed.

Monday 5+ ratings:
Seven Sharp: 497,000 (12.1% share)
Campbell Live: 242,800 (5.9%)
Shortland Street: 661,00 (16.0%)

Tuesday 5+ ratings:
Seven Sharp: 401,000 (9.7%)
Campbell Live: 221,700 (5.4%)
Shortland Street: 582,200 (16.0%)

Wednesday 5+ ratings:
Seven Sharp: 325,900 (7.9% share)
Campbell Live: 238,600 (5.8%)
Shortland Street: 564,700 (13.7%)

See historic Close Up and Holmes ratings below.

Feb 7: Going by social media, many people thought Seven Sharp's Tuesday outing was much more assured than its Monday night debut.

NBR agreed.

But ironically as launch curiosity faded, TV One's new 7pm show lost nearly 100,000 viewers.

On its third night, Seven Sharp took another dive. A Nielson rep said that was to be expected for a public holiday.

But NBR notes Campbell Live managed to keep near its Monday night level on Waitangi day.

In fact, in the 25-54 year-old demographic, Campbell Live (4.4%) actually edged ahead of Seven Sharp (4.1%) in share of the total viewing audience last night. Tuesday night, Seven Sharp led 5.9% to 3.7%; Monday 6.8% to 4.9%.

Monday ratings in: Seven Sharp wins

Feb 5: Even amid its social media savaging, and as the first (mainly terrible) reviews rolled in, NBR predicted the Close Up replacement would prevail in Nielsen's survey thanks to curiosity value, and New Zealanders' primeval urge to default to TV One.

That's proved the case.

To put the above numbers in context: Close Up averaged a 12.0% share of the 5+ audience in the week of Sept 16-22, 2012 (that is, the week TVNZ announced it was axing the show). For the year, Close Up averaged 456,000 viewers.

In other words, after all the hype, and first-night interest, the new show has squeaked in 0.1% ahead of its predecessor at the fateful time Mark Sainsbury got the chop.

At least it was ahead of TV One's filler reality show, Border Patrol, which clocked 415,000 5+ viewers in its final 7pm screening. Over summer, Border Patrol oscillated between 400,000 and 500,000 viewers.

For 2012 up until September, Close Up averaged 11.2%. For all of 2011, it averaged 12.1%; for 2010 12.3%. Campbell Live has averaged solidly around the 6% mark thoughout.

Among the 25-54 year-olds
In the 25-54 year-old demographic, the situation was grimmer for Close Up. With this group - of key interest to advertisers - Sainsbury's show fell from an average 8.5% in 2010 to 6.6% in 2012.

Last night, Seven Sharp had a 6.8% share, and Campbell Live 4.9%.

Looking back to the week last September when the axe swung on Sainsbury & Co, Close Up had 7.0% share to 5.4% for Campbell Live.

Ratings vs Holmes
Lastly, I asked Nielsen to dig out some ratings for Paul Holmes when he held TV One's 7pm slot in 2004 (his last full year with the state broadcaster before legging it to Prime, where of course things didn't work out ... that primeval urge to stick with One).

Nielsen cautioned that ratings fluctuated a lot, depending on time of year and topic, but across the full year Holmes averaged a 5+ audience of 642,000 (a 17.2% share).

Among the coveted 25-54 segment, the show had an average share of 14.8%.

Remember, this was a year when Sir Paul was under pressure for poor ratings, as they were framed then, as his pay packet increased.

A interesting sidenote for media completests: check out this Twitter list of people who work on Seven Sharp.

All figures from Nielsen's Television Audience Measurement.

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions

With all the hype people checked in to see what it was all about, if they have a brain it was a first and last look. The show said if you watch us you have the attention span of a Knat.

And the spelling prowess of a gnat.

It's official. The end of civilisation.

In the good old days we had to walk two miles to school in the ice and snow. In bare feet. Uphill, both ways.

Bah humbug!

Yep, I won't tune in again.

If this represents the average NZer then no wonder so many people are leaving.

We live in a cultural void.

I wouldn't believe a word of those... The way we garnish ratings in this country is marginal at best...

Current affairs in newsworthy and public interest content, without the seriousness of formal news, and not a very poor comedy routine. It would need to have a significant improvement before I would bother again.
This first attempt was pathetic.

I think the three presenters will be the making of it. They are all witty yet professional. I think it will be a winner.

How dare you ram your flippant optimism down the throat of readers Jo, shame on you.

I genuinely liked it though - people are so sheep- like and just go "baa" with all the other sheep but I'm not like that.

Maybe you just have really bad taste.

How true! You're more the bovine-sort.

At the end of the day people would rather watch Shortland Street. My house included.

A train crash, pure and simple. TVNZ's marketing department took over from serious news years ago, but none of us expected things to get quite this bad. Thank God for John Campbell and TV3.

Is this the John Campbell that's still rating less than the 'declining' 7 sharp?? At least he's consistently rating less!!

They should include world and local financial news daily.These will give improvement to their ratings.

There's that old saying: two's company, three's a crowd.

The problem is that TVNZ believe their so-called eye candy presenters will be the key ingredient of the winning formula; not the actual topics.
The interaction and bonhomie banter amongst the trio, trump the stories being aired. With three presenters, it can't help but mean: Substance defers to Style.

Hopefully, people will flag 'SS' and watch 'The Crowd Goes Wild' on Prime - top show, which moved from 6:30 to 7pm in 2013.

What a shame TVNZ didn't have the balls to bring back Paul Henry. At least we would have had some sunstance to in depth evening news, not the light twitty stuff!

Steady on, we're not that desperate......

You get one opportunity to make a first impression and my impression will be lasting for all the wrong reasons. Sorry TVNZ, you got this one wrong.

I felt the show's lack of depth was of sufficient magnitude that, for me, I'll watch a couple more episodes and if there's no improvement I'll switch to watching/doing something else at that time. Although it won't be watching Campbell Live, I can't stand the guy.

I also thought based on last night's episode, that Mulligan was surplus to requirements, and the show's lite E! News-type content requires only two presenters. Mau and Boyed seemed to fit well together as a team, whereas I felt Mulligan's presentation lacked spontaneity and somehow felt acted. He didn't really bring anything that wasn't already there. But that may change in time as he becomes more experienced in the role.

But if the depth doesn't, like, you know, like, extend beyond a puddle, then, like, I won't be watching?

A half hour of news put forward in bad taste. Bring back Paul Henry and professionalism

I agree - bring back Close Up or Paul Henry. I have had to watch
Campbell and I don't even like the programme!

'Paul Henry' and 'professionalism' in the same sentence? Some mistake, surely?

The best news coverage are Al Jazeera, PBS Newshour, BBC World news, NHK Newsline, Euronews.
New Zealand do not have quality in depth news and current affairs.

Wow a decline in ratings already. TVNZ producers need to include more stories on beauty products and cats up trees to get the Shortland Street viewers. Ratings are all that matter, dont worry about the dumbing of a nation.

It will never beat that all time favourite NZ programme - Christy Brinkley demonstrating the Total Gym

I thought the show was cr*p. They aren't competing for Campbell Live's audience. It seems like they are targeting Shortland Street's.

This "show" is so bad it's even worse than Campbell!

What the show lacks is serious content; too much fluff.
Regretfully, it seems to be getting weaker rather than improving.

I don't know - I thought the piece on the dangers of buying cheap booze in Bali was worth watching...

Sounds like you've drunk too much of it.

I like it.
It's not paul Holmes, Campbell Live, Mark Sainsbury ( Thank goodness...sorry Mark) or if you go back to the likes of Richard Harman, Brian Edwards, Ian Fraser or the two young people who came from the UK ( one a woman who went back to BBC & then CNN)...Seven Sharp is not like any of these and should not even be compared to it. Neither is it unctious, smarmy or obsequitious like Campbell. It is what it is and I have a wee laugh. The only shocking thing to me were the racist comments made in feedback by some people on what Waitangi Day means to them. What an angry lot some people are.

TV3 have a better breakfast format and now a better 7pm format: news and current affairs without the stupid one-liners.

Seems TV1 is appealing to TV2 viewers in the 7pm time slot. Leaves TV3 free to built its audience.

It is never intended to have anything to do with news or current affairs, so why does TVNZ keep up the lie??? To call it Children's Hour would be tantamount to child abuse.

In the first five minutes I knew it was going to be awful. I tuned to Campbell Live and wondered why I hadn't watched it regularly before. A far superior show.

Ali dump these two blokes like you did Simon. Save yourself.

Wow, I'm really looking forward to some in depth reporting on the Mainzeal collapse on Closeup tonight. It'll be good to see this story followed up in the coming days with pieces from subbies and other contractors and suppliers too. And hopefully at some stage an investigation into what went wrong at the company and why.

Oh, no. That's right. There is no Closeup!

So I suppose that means we will get something along the lines of:- "and speaking of bum-cracks, New Zealand's third largest construction company, Mainzeal, went into voluntary liquidation yesterday, and with the loss of 400 hundred jobs". All gravely accompanied with the coordinated pulling of three very sad faces.

And then followed by, "and now for the really important news! Kanye told P Diddy that Kim Kadashian's bum is fat!"

Instead we got a pathetic children's printer on money creation (which every teenager should know for goodness sake), and some nonsense on whether houses are getting too big. Rome burns while these three fiddle with themselves.

Last night's offering was "tasty shark liver" and mussel fritters. I'm wondering, what's on the menu tonight? Lamb flaps and pork belly?

I was a bit Boyed when I heard there would be Mau current affairs content tonight, but sadly the programme was yet another Mulligan.

Perhaps Seven Sharp's ratings would improve if they polled under fives instead. Five+ doesn't seem like its target audience.

Chr*st it's not even entertainment.........

There was a new show Seven Sharp,
About which the viewers would carp,
Complaints night and day,
Would not go away,
And ratings continued to scarp.

TVNZ - finally you have succeeded with this programme - there is now literally nothing on the box on TV1 at 7pm.

If Seven Sharp were a cat, I would have it euthanised. The suffering, we are witnessing, is unbearably cruel.

Sorry Seven Sharp but I prefer my Shortland Street. Good luck, however.

Bring back Paul Henry

I'm trying to keep an open mind, but last night's show left me gobsmacked. They had a piece on how commercial banks control money supply. Then they said that instead of bringing in an economist to discuss this, we will show the viewer's response! It seems that uninformed opinion has the same weight as expert opinion. Probably just a sad reflection of the modern world...

The problem is Kevin if they used an expert to explain the viewers they are targeting, 3 to 12 year olds would not understand. However TVNZ can sustain this level of viewers as its only the taxpayers money they are playing with, and in that regards its not real money is it, more like monopoly money.

Paul Henry, Paul Holmes, John Campbell - regardless of your feelings toward any of them, they have personality. They simply do - they have their own charisma and do not look like they're trying.

Greg Boyed, I'm afraid, is just looking like he's trying too hard to infuse personality into his performance. It simply does not work - he's not suited to this style of show. Neither is Mulligan - he looks wooden, uncomfortable, lacking in any charisma - like a fish out of water.

They need someone like a Marc Ellis, Paul Henry - somebody with a bit of spark, because watching this lot fumbling about trying to be 'edgy' is just painful. Really painful.

It's a load of balls!

Q. What's the difference between a horse and Seven Sharp?

A. A horse has a long run in it.

Lets just call it what it is, cos it aint news or current affairs. It's just more of the same E!-type dross mainstream feeds us now. Campbell is going the same way too.

The real scary thing is they clearly think that is what "we" want. Therefore either "we" the great unwashed (to use a phrase I wish I came up with myself) are a bunch of halfwits who do really like this sort of drivel, or they have it horribly wrong. Unfortunately I think it is more the former than the latter - something I have thought for some time using the standard of our politicians and our reluctance to change MMP as a yardstick....

The shows ratings will implode and it will be off the air in three months.

they've got a major talent in Greg Boyed, as demonstrated on Q and Q. Dump the otheres and front a Close Up style show with Boyed and it will rate well. Seven Sharp is just all wrong.

How could they get it so wrong. They will now try to convince us that it is the viewers who have it wrong and lacking intellect.

I think Pipa Wetzell would be a better female presenter for this type of show and a better mix, she comes accross more personable than Ali ever would. Alis snarky come backs to Jesse's jokes does my head in!

No need for 3 presenters. Alison will get a kink in the neck before long looking from right to left!.
They would have been better of head hunting Rachel Smalley from TV3.
She would have done a great job with perhaps one different guest each night. She is highly intelligent,well informed, great diction, sense of humour AND great to look at!

" No need for 3 presenters. Alison will get a kink in the neck before long looking from right to left!."

Oh no, she'll be fine. She's used to looking both ways.

They need to get rid of the two blokes, get in Tamate and Matty and get some freak show ratings from a gay tirfecta.

Wonder if an S.O.S. call should be sent out to Dennis Connor.

Last night's "p*ssing rain" comment summed up the show.

Agreed on that. I couldn't believe my ears!

The show is far too contrived and "try hard". 3 hosts ridiculous. None of them have any thing meanful to say. Its doomed to flop. Bad bad format . None of the 3 different age groups in our home like it at all