February 05, 2011

More Sky Atlantic viewing figures

More ratings info on SkyAtlantic (posted Friday):
The launch of the seventh series of HBO drama Entourage barely managed to flick the ratings needle with an average of just 18,000 viewers between 10.30pm and 11pm. The second episode fared slightly better, despite the late night slot from 11.05pm to 11.45pm, with 27,000 viewers.
The last series of Entourage aired on ITV2 and averaged about 200,000 viewers per episode. The final episode hit 300,000.
Sky Atlantic's top-rating show last night was a re-run of the 10-year-old pilot episode of Six Feet Under, with 53,000 viewers.
What's a "fair price" for that I wonder?
What I find astonishing is the amount Sky is obviously spending on marketing the channel (posters are everywhere in London, and the press coverage is huge) and yet it's delivering these, frankly, pathetic numbers at the height of their advertising campaign. Strewth.  
Boardwalk's figures will take a tumble as it takes about four episodes to get going and many will give up before it hits its stride, and I don't believe anything on Atlantic's schedules will pick up an audience mid-run. HBO drama needs to be seen from the start - it would be like reading a novel from page 200...
Advertisers will not be impressed. If only they could reach an extra 3.7m homes it might stand a chance...

8 comments:

mercelous said...

I think its good the viewing figures are so low. In my opinion the channel is a waste of money and they should have put the programs on Sky 1 and Sky living. It's typical pompous Sky trying to rip off customers by making people move to them for content that most people have already saw or have on dvd. When are Sky gonna realise everybody is skint. I don't care that we don't have the channel on Virgin because the scheduling is rubbish and what then once all the new HBO stuff finishes, repeat the lot over and over again. Sky 1 at the min is crap and in my opinion there is plenty of space to put the content on there. I have read on other forums already the amount of Sky customers complaining about the Sky ATLANTIC name on screen during shows being too big, too bright and the amount of ad breaks. I agree with most people that we need more channels on Virgin and I hope Neil Berkett is listening but well done for not giving in to Sky's over inflated prices. I think the Sky basic channels debacle a few years back has tought Virgin a lot and they know that Sky ATLANTIC will be offered soon at a very cheap price. If not then I see it being shut down and the shows moved to Sky 1. When will Sky learn.

Erich said...

Yes, when will Sky learn... to be the country's most commercially successful broadcaster? I'd say in about more than 20 years ago.

This is no different from what they've always been doing. Taking chances, trying a different approach. You know, the sort of things VM have always been reluctant to do, choosing instead to sit on the sidelines and wait for Sky's experiments to succeed, and then leech off that success, while VM viewers are left to post, blog and scream from the rooftoops "where is our HD/3D/US Dramas/Movies/Sports/etc, etc..."

As for the viewing figures, nobody in their right mind would have expected anything particularly amazing from shows that didn't even have good numbers on free-to-air channels in the first place, but these numbers are actually very good, given the channels exclusivity to Sky.

As has already been stated, far more important than the absolute ratings is the ability for Sky to attract a certain kind of customer, just like getting more HD Sports and Movies was important for VM at one stage.

Nialli said...

I don't think advertisers will agree that those numbers are "very good". If Blackberry and other premium customers want to reach an audience of 18,000 there are much more cost effective ways of doing it.
Sure, Atlantic was never going to reach mainstream millions, but these are very low indeed. Many posts on this blog get more views than that...

Erich said...

Advertisers won't be paying X-Factor prices on this channel. The prices will presumably be in line with ratings expectations, and I can't imagine Sky would have thought, or managed to convinced their advertisers, that shows that weren't doing well on free-to-air channels with wider availability would somehow be pulling in millions of viewers right off the bat.

Compared to how these shows were doing elsewhere, where other channels somehow managed to secure advertisers for them, the Sky ratings are actually very good, and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an advertiser exodus happening anytime soon.

If Sky Atlantic has any kind of problem, it's that there simply aren't that many truly great, must-see shows around at the moment, particularly from the HBO library, which no longer has shows like The Sopranos, Sex and the City, The Wire, Deadwood, etc. And despite the attempted hype, Boardwalk Empire is not a very marketable show in this country. Something like True Blood would have been easier to build the channel around, but I think FX and C4 still have the rights to that one? If Sky had hit shows like that, as well as new 24 and Lost, the channel would suddenly look a lot more appealing, but as I mentioned at the time, the loss of those two shows put Sky at somewhat of a marketing disadvantage. Maybe they should look at snagging some comedies as well and establishing a strong comedy night, like they used to have on Sky One many years ago.

Harkaway said...

Sky has never been very good at acquiring scripted programming which becomes appointment viewing. They have had the tendency to see how a show does elsewhere then pay over the odds to snatch it and hope the viewers follow. (Remember that Lost started out on Channel 4/E4 and 24 on the BBC. FX and 4 spotted True Blood and were smart enough to do long term deals. If they hadn't, Sky would be in negotiating for them now.

Sky Atlantic has lots of shows I've enjoyed in the past, but like most Sky channels, repeats will dominate the schedule. It is hardly enough to draw me to using Sky to deliver my digital channels. And in this I may be typical.

Erich said...

I'm not sure it's fair to say that Sky hasn't been good at acquiring scripted programming. It's certainly true that Sky One went through an abysmal slump for a few years, as they relied almost entirely on The Simpsons and garbage like World's Craziest Police Chases and Britain's Smelliest Gangs, but before that, they had a very good track record of acquiring scripted US imports. They've done really well with a mix of critically acclaimed shows, as well as pure ratings winners over the years with shows like The X-Files, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Picket Fences, Family Ties, Mad About You, Alias, Murphy Brown, Chicago Hope, various Star Trek series, and all kinds of good stuff.

Having a 100% perfect record of picking off every one of the very few big TV hits around is impossible, but which single channel has a better record, never mind the willingness to invest in and co-produce stuff like Battlestar Galactica?

Jay said...

Again enough with the Sky only channels, its a cable blog....its a naff channel with naff ratings nuff said!

Nialli said...

Whilst I don't cover other Sky-exclusive channels, but this one is of personal and general interest to visitors to the blog, so I'll continue to give it some coverage.