The Free to Air TV Landscape

Total FTA TV Viewing

Over the last two years the free to air TV landscape has experienced arguably the most significant change since the introduction of colour TV.

The digitisation of the broadcast signal not only saw the Networks broadcast in high definition but has seen them launch ten new channels giving viewers unprecedented choice. In order to make the most of these new viewing options households have rushed to adopt personal video recorder (PVR) technology allowing them to time shift, record and watch different channels at the same time. 

The overall result of these developments has been growth in TV audiences to levels not seen since before 2004.

Source: ozTam Jan to Dec 2005-2011

Whilst the total number of viewers tuning in to FTA TV has increased significantly the proliferation of choice has resulted in greater fragmentation of the viewing audience and thus declines in individual channel audiences. For an advertiser what this means is that in order to reach the same number of viewers the number of spots required for a campaign has increased.

Audience share for the individual channels has also declined as a result of viewer fragmentation.

Source: ozTam Jan to Dec 2010-2011

The Seven Network clearly dominated viewing in 2011 despite declines on its main channel (which was made up for by increases on 7Two and 7mate). In terms of audience share Channel Seven was the number one station for every ratings week of 2011 and they have continued this success right through the first quarter of 2012. Of the new digital channels 7two and 7mate both increased share in 2011 in part due to strong content and Seven’s strong cross promotion on the main channel. 

GO! and gem managed to hold steady but need to make some changes in order to keep pace with their rivals. The Ten Network successfully launched Eleven and have improved the performance of ONE HD after making changes to its content from a sport only channel to broader male skewed programming. 

The challenge in 2012 is to see if anyone can take some ground back off Network Seven who have been the number one Network for the last two years. 

A summary of Q1 2012 network performance will follow in the coming weeks.