March 29, 2019

TV. How many people are watching? Really?


Give me the remote. This is rubbish. I don’t want to watch this crap. No not this show again.


I hate to think how many relationships over the years have ended over fighting for the remote control.


When I was single, I had a TV in my bedroom. That all changed when I was married. No TV in the bedroom. The bedroom is for other stuff. Sleeping mostly. Did I mention I’m married?


How the world has changed in 10 years. No more fights over the remote and you can watch anything, anywhere.


You don’t need a TV in every room. Just open up the computer or turn on the tablet. It’s all there and it’s all mobile.


The choice is vast. Free to Air TV, Foxtel, Netflix, Stan, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Apple TV. There are so many ways you can be entertained which has presented new challenges for Free To Air TV, but I reckon they’re still doing pretty well.


According to OZTAM, who conduct Australia’s TV ratings, on Monday night across Australia’s five Metro Markets, 873,000 viewers tuned into watch Nine News. A further 1,009,000 watched Seven News. Let me just put this in perspective for you. Between 6 and 6:30pm Monday night March 25th, almost 2 Million Australians were watching the News on Free to Air TV. With both programs also being Networked in each state across Regional markets, the total reach would have been enormous.


In fact, in the five metro markets, half of the top 10 programs on Monday night, were commercial News based programs.


Even better in Regional Australia. Let’s check out Wollongong: Six of the top 10 programs were News.


So, the ultimate reality TV program, the nightly news, still packs a punch.


Then there’s the rest. All reality shows of some kind offering unique content that you can only get from the Free to Air channels. And in 2018 they continued to deliver a massive audience in Metro and Regional Markets:


Married at First Site (Nine): 2.00 Million

My Kitchen Rules (Seven): 1.8 Million

The Block (Nine): 1.62 Million

The Voice (Nine): 1.41 Million

Australian Ninja Warrior (Nine): 1.37 Million

House Rules (Seven): 1.34 Million

MasterChef (Ten): 1.2 Million

Metro+regional ratings combined. Source: OzTam and RegionalTam



There are many more. This is now the bread and butter of Free To Air TV. Each program is given a very short period of time to pull an audience. Fail to do so, and you’re gone.

Example. Changing Rooms. The program hosted by Natalie Bassingthwaite debuted on February 13th with just 204,000 people watching across the five metro markets. That’s a ‘Belly-Flop’ of the highest degree. 10 days later…Gone!


Reality TV is always going to be a hit and miss game for the TV Networks. But to survive they have to present unique content only available on their channel. News, Sport, Reality Drama.


The Top 2 TV events for 2018 were both major sporting events.

State of Origin Game 1 (Nine): 3.44 Million

AFL Grand Final (Seven): 3.40 Million


Successful programs like The Block and MasterChef attract what I call aspirational customers. These programs offer up high drama, but unlike shows like Married At First Site, watch and you’ll learn. Tune into  MasterChef and you’ll get tips on how to cook. Sure, you may never attempt making a Croquembouche, but you will learn about food and hopefully your meals will taste better.  The Block will give you renovating ideas. I love these shows because they offer more. As an advertiser, you’ll be reaching viewers who are motivated. They watch for the ideas and act on them. For an advertiser, it’s a great environment to promote your business.


Now back to Wollongong. Where the TV signal takes in the whole of Illawarra. Wollongong Shellharbour, and Kiama Councils. Helensburgh to Gerroa. Population 407,000.

Illawarra means ‘A pleasant place by the sea’. And it is. Magnificent beaches. The Mountain range that wedges everyone up against the coast is called the Illawarra Escarpment. Once described by Sir David Attenborough as “The Kakadu of the South”.


The area has struggled over many years as they transition from Coal and Steel, to Tourism, Hospitality, Information Technology, and Manufacturing. But they are finally finding their way.


Interestingly, traffic travelling out of Wollongong to Sydney for work, up the steep climb on Mt Ousley, gets busier and earlier each year. This is great for local radio. Hundreds of cars and trucks are climbing the mountain as early as 5am to start work in Sydney.

The real estate is half the price, the journey is just 90 minutes. No wonder the population growth keeps climbing and the house prices keep going up.


As I highlighted earlier, the TV viewing habits in Wollongong and most regional markets, mirror those in the big cities. And it’s affordable to advertise.


The way you buy TV has changed significantly in the last few years. In the old days, before Digital Marketing took off like a rocket, TV was pretty expensive. But now in markets like Wollongong there’s some good value as TV stations fight to hold on to their huge revenue streams.


Last year I bought several TV schedules in the Wollongong market. The value was extraordinary.


The client received placement in prime-time programs, along with Billboards highlighting ‘this program is brought to you by….’. The main peak program spots were the only spots the client paid for. Every other commercial was a guaranteed bonus. Yes, there were many Off-Peak spots, but Television, which used to work by giving you quick reach, was now delivering reach AND frequency. Hang on. Isn’t that what radio does.? What’s TV doing delivering frequency? Look out radio.


But the extra value doesn’t end on the main channel. The TV stations now have more channels to deliver more commercials. There’s GO, GEM, PEACH, BOLD, MATE, and many more. When you buy a TV schedule the stations will also deliver you a bonus schedule across their other channels. So, you pay for the spots on the main channel, but the rest is all bonus.


Of course, all this depends on how much you spend and for how long. But if you seriously want to get on TV in large Regional markets like Wollongong, you can get a solid schedule of 15 sec commercials running over 13 weeks for just $15,000.


I recently put a schedule together for a client who wanted to advertise in every Regional market from the top of Queensland, right through NSW, and all of Victoria.


Over a 5-week period the investment was less than $100k. The potential audience was over 7 million. If I placed the same schedule in the metro markets, to reach 7 Million viewers, I’d be paying a lot more.


You might be thinking, “but to make a TV commercial is so expensive”.  Don’t be scared thinking there is no way you can afford the cost of producing a TV commercial. There are some very expensive commercials on TV from big national and international brands. But producing a basic TV commercial that sells your brand and drives people to buy your product doesn’t have to be expensive.


Example. Small community event happening in rural NSW. Total budget for TV $5,000.

How do you carve up a budget like that on TV? In one specific regional area you can book a few week’s advertising on TV and still have enough left-over to make your ad.  


The farmer who contacted me had no media or advertising experience. I put the schedule together for him and told him to go back to his community and ask all the people on the organising committee to send me their photos form previous events. No cameraman required. Technology has advanced so rapidly that with the right software you can now produce an outstanding TV commercial at a minimum cost to suit your budget.


The commercial might not win a Golden Lion Oscar whatever, but it will do the job of getting people through the door.


As I highlighted in an earlier blog,  if you’re a brand or business and you haven’t yet included Regional Australia in your advertising and marketing strategy, your missing 45% of the country. Regional Radio and Regional Television reach almost 12 Million Australian’s every week. And they offer excellent value for money.


Despite continuing disruption to their business model, Television Networks are still powering on. They might have to deal with the odd ‘Belly-Flop’, but overall, they are pulling a massive audience.


Your Take-Away on TV is:


  • Nightly News programs still ‘pack a punch’ delivering huge audiences.

  • Free To Air TV delivers unique content that people want to watch. News, Reality TV & Sport

  • Regional Markets offer great value for money. Look beyond the five major Metro markets to sell your product.

  • If you’re not targeting Regional Australia, you’re missing 45% of the audience.

  • Don’t be scared by the cost of making a TV commercial. Technology has made producing ads more affordable



If you need help planning a campaign on TV, call us today at SUMM Media. We create TV Advertising that works. We can help you can plan it, create it, and book it. 


Matt Summerill is a TV advertising specialist with over 30 years-experience in Media.

Matt is operating his own media agency - SUMM Media.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • LinkedIn - White Circle
  • Deezer - White Circle

© 2019 SUMM