February 22, 2011

Sky Atlantic viewing figures: Treme

From the creator of The Wire, Treme is the second of the big new HBO series on Sky Atlantic and made its debut last Friday. But if Boardwalk Empire's figures are seen as weak and the debut of the new season of Entourage drew an embarrassingly small audience, then Treme has gone off the scale: Friday's opening episode of the post-hurricane Katrina New Orleans drama averaged a sad 66,000 viewers, and that number includes timeshifting and HD viewers. By comparison FX in the same timeslot had True Blood (another HBO drama) that pulled an audience 236,000 for a mid-season episode.
Whilst Sky may argue that it is targetting a demographic measured by quality (A,B,C1) rather than quantity I'm not sure advertisers will agree.
HBO's next big debut on Sky Atlantic is Game of Thrones which launches on April 18th, the day after it debuts in the US. The audience numbers for that will be interesting as it's close enough to the US release to minimise the impact of those who download shows, but of course that also means that it won't come with much US acclaim (or hype) to get the general UK public's attention. Expect the Sky marketing to hit overdrive again as it tries to secure an audience to appeal to advertisers.
BTW, Treme is available on DVD/BluRay in the US from March 29th. Expect Boardwalk Empire as a box set in the summer, shortly before season two arrives Stateside.


streaky_7 said...

Obviously the way its panned out between VM and SKY and Sky Atlantic, I am happy to hear the viewing figures arent justifying Sky's reluctance to offer the channel at very very reasonable costs to VM (yes I am aware I have no idea of the deals laid out by both parties but if it was very reasonable then we would no doubt have the channel!).

That said, I am surprised. I can't be the only one enjoying boardwalk empire (sourced via other means). In fact it's one of the better series I have watched recently - only in my opinion of course.

Nialli said...

I agree with you on Boardwalk Empire: we watched the final episodes last night and it just gets better and better. However, I still feel bad for having acquired it through "alternative means" and would much prefer to watch it legitimately. Ideally we will get Sky Atlantic on cable sooner rather than later, but I do find it somewhat ironic that it is Sky that has driven me to the another dark side.
At the moment, I'm struggling to see where Sky is going to profit from Sky Atlantic - it paid top dollar for the HBO deal and Mad Men, but it's not earning them much in return. Advertisers and sponsors will not get excited whilst viewing figures are so low regardless of the demographics of those viewers. The easier route would have been to put the big HBO debuts behind the Sky Movies paywall, but they went a different route.
Surely any revenue from Virgin Media (and BT) would be preferable to no revenues at all, no matter how deep the Sky cash pile?

streaky_7 said...

I agree. Boardwalk Empire has just got better and better. I only have a couple of episodes left myself. I also would have rather watched it via my cable services especially when I pay over £100 a month for them. I would rather be watching it in quality HD than the current way I have acquired the series.....Hopefully in the future it will get sorted.

Im no expert but surely whatever money comes in from VM for the channel is extra money which in turn increases viewing figures meaning more money again from advertisers etc. Win win for Sky. I would have thought the amount of people switching from VM to Sky just because of 1 channel would be minimal....certainly not as much as extra revenue gained by selling the channel to other providers.

I could understand VM only getting the SD version of the channel and then maybe putting the HD version under the Premium HD group with movies and sports meaning Sky would get even more money for the HD version as we all get charged £7 extra for them. It would also potentially make a few more people pay the extra for the premium HD channels. Again more revenue for Sky.

Anything is better than nothing.

Square eyes said...

The have been calls from customers about the Sky Atlantic channel, however there has not been that many jumping ship for want of a better term.

I Nialli quite like the line up on the channel, but as we all know "it does not float everyones boat". Myself I dont think the line is great and from the viewing figures, it would look like I am not the only one who thinks so.

Perhaps Sky will look upon the figures put 2&2 together get the correct answer and stop arsing about and strike a deal with VM & even BT. Oh hang on that would be to easy & logical, something Sky don't know how to be.

Nialli said...

According to The Guardian Sky's investment of £150m in securing the HBO (and Mad Men) rights is for five years, which means the level of investment is £30m a year. Sky paid £100m more for the Living channels than that.