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    Battle of the game shows: Media buyers on its relevance with audiences and advertisers

    The return of game shows across commercial networks brings back competition for audiences to the later afternoon and early evening time slot leading up to the nightly news bulletin.                     

    Nine’s offers the Australian version of The Tipping Point, as 10 brings back Deal or No Deal. Meanwhile, Seven continues with a new season of The Chase Australia.

    As audiences move away from linear TV, does the humble game show still have a place on Australian TVs?

    Mediaweek has asked media buyers for their thoughts on the relevance of the game show format with audiences and advertiser dollars.

    For Peter Stowe, senior trading director at UM Australia, afternoon game shows are “not getting anywhere” as it is essential in setting up viewers for the 6 o’clock news bulletin. He said: “It’s not the sole reason Seven News does so well at 6pm, but it does help to have a solid base starting at 5 to 5:30 leading into the news.”

    Michelle Hartley, investment director at Half Dome, agreed the game show format was “absolutely” still relevant to Australian TV screens. She noted that while often perceived as “unsexy” and only watched by baby boomers, the game show is “extremely efficient from a CPM perspective amongst a number of demographic groups and are a ‘safe’ buy in a volatile and declining FTA market.”

    Thomas Macerola, Sydney head of investment at Zenith Media, said the challenge with new game shows is whether it hits the mark with audiences who are loyal to consistent content. He added: “The best-case scenario is it may revamp the time slot it goes into or maintain those year-on-year audiences the time slot happened to have in previous years.

    The Tipping Point
     
    Battle of the game shows: Media buyers on its relevance with audiences and advertisers
    Australians will see the local version of the Tipping Point from Monday, January 29, in the 5pm time slot, following Nine’s coverage of the Australian Open.
     
    Stowe said Nine has struggled in the 5pm time slot against The Chase but believes gambling on the new program is “clever” and creates a “huge lead into the news.”
     
    “I think The Chase will be a little bit nervous because the 3pm it does very well,” he added of the UK version airing earlier in the afternoon. But he noted the key to its success will be its focus on Australian-centric questions the local viewer can answer.
     
    Hartley noted Nine’s extensive marketing and promotional support behind this program and using the Australian Open as a launch pad, which she said gives a “significant trial of the property with the first few weeks.”
     
    She added: “Viewers will let us know quickly whether it resonates with them. l would expect numbers to settle within around four weeks.”

    Peter Stowe

    Macerola said the Tipping Point will probably perform in line with the now-defunct Millionaire Hot Seat to deliver consistency but noted: “I can’t see it stealing audience from The Chase.”
     
    Former doubles tennis star Todd Woodbridge moves from sports to game show host, and all three media buyers were optimistic about the network’s decision.
     
    Stowe noted that Woodbridge would be one of Nine’s most recognisable talents this year, covering the tennis Grand Slams and Paris Olympics. Stowe said: “He’ll be everywhere… He’s the new Eddie McGuire, with Nine pushing him in their sports coverage and commentary,” he added.
     
    Hartley said Woodbridge had a “squeaky clean” public image and appealed to the audience and noted the show’s post-Australian Open debut lined up well.
     
    Macerola said Woodbridge was a “good choice” as host and likened him to professional athletes who have transitioned from sports star to entertainment, like Matt Shirvington on Sunrise and Brendan Fevola from AFL to breakfast radio on Fox FM.
     
    See also:
    Nine Upfront 2024: Tipping Point Australia joins next year’s program lineup
     
    Deal or No Deal
     Game shows - Deal or No Deal
     
    Stowe recalled how Deal or No Deal was big for media buyers when it started in prime time on Seven. With the briefcases set to be unlocked at 10, from Monday, January 29, Stowe called it an excellent opportunity for the network to rejuvenate its line-up from 6pm.
     
    For media buyers, Stowe said the show’s return “brings back a bit of competition” in the 6pm time slot for viewers and changes up what’s on offer for clients.
     
    Stowe also said Denyer the right choice to host the show. “You need someone dynamic and someone who can hold an audience and the contestants for half an hour. He is filling the right seat,” he said.
     
    For Hartley, she said Deal or No Deals‘ 6pm timeslot “may be problematic” in the long run. She said: “Whilst they are likely to have initial success in retaining their news viewers, it will be difficult to entice current Seven and Nine viewers to switch over from one quiz show to another rather than watch the major news service of the evening.”

    Michelle Hartley

    Hartley, however, did not doubt Denyer’s hosting capability to draw in an audience. “Many Australians love him. He’s funny and endearing,” she added.
     
    Macerola, meanwhile, noted that for advertisers, there is always a risk when investing in new formats or returning formats in terms of market reaction, whether audiences will return and, more importantly, if they stay.
     
    “Intrigue will have audiences tuning in to see what’s new, but will they stay? Even if we don’t see new audiences return to the genre and the program, it may aid in stemming audience decline in its timeslot,” he said.
     
    Macerola also welcomed Denyer’s return to the game show host role. He said: “He will be a big talking point for audiences. The property will be attractive to anyone around when the previous iteration is on to see what’s new.”
     
    See also:
    Paramount Upfront 2024: Grant Denyer to host Deal or No Deal on 10 in 2024

    The Chase

    the chase australia

    Since its debut in 2015, Stowe said The Chase has consistently dominated its 5pm timeslot in metro markets and developed a core loyal audience.

    “Over the summer period, The Chase had repeats and had about 400,000 people tuning in repeats – that’s how core loyal its audience is,” he said.

    While he noted Seven could be a little worried about its competition with Nine, people will ultimately still invest in The Chase, according to Stowe.

    Part of the quiz show’s strength is its host of three years, Larry Emdur. Stowe said: “A lot of media buyers would have grown up watching him. He’s been around for a very long time. He’s a household name and a trusted family man.”

    Thomas Macerola

    Hartley said the new shows could “initially” threaten The Chase’s dominance but did not foresee it as long-term. “People might try all the other programmes, but they’ll return to The Chase.”

    Macerola called The Chase “a behemoth that dominates” in the genre in the Australian market and has created a loyal cult following with its viewers.

    “Will the new entrants impact the program’s dominance? We may see fluctuations early in the year as new entrants are introduced. Still, I don’t believe it will significantly impact the viewership in the long run,” he said.

    Top image: Todd Woodbridge, Grant Denyer and Larry Emdur

    The post Battle of the game shows: Media buyers on its relevance with audiences and advertisers appeared first on Mediaweek.

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