If TVNZ thought the ratings for Close Up were bad, they didn't expect this

Last week I took a look at how Campbell Live has actually fared in 2013 and while Seven Sharp has dominated in the ratings, the outlook for TV3’s current affairs program was much better than it may have seemed.

Today we take a look at how Seven Sharp has performed compared to Close Up.

tvone-7pm-audience-decline-percentTVNZ had stated that the reason for the changes at 7pm were due to the declining ratings.  In 2011, Close Up was down 1.5% on 2010.  2012, which may have been the clincher for the decision, saw a 7.6% decline in audience.  2013 really has been much, much worse for TVNZ though as the free fall hasn’t been stopped or even been slowed, it has sped up.  In 2013, Seven Sharp has managed to lose 16.9% of the audience from 2012.

Seven Sharp has taken TV One from having an average audience of 453,104 viewers per episode in 2012 to 376,558 in 2013 – on average that’s 76,546 less viewers every single night in 2013 compared to how Close Up performed last year.

When you take a look at the episodes, there is very little cross over and it is clear how much higher the audiences were with Close Up.


TVNZ may still be winning the battle for viewers at 7pm but it has come at a huge cost.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • Leo

    Gawd further proof that this show needs to be abandoned!

  • Maggie

    Seven Sharp is a little juvenile – from the graphics to the panel-style desk, it all needs to be changed up! Honestly, I do think it has potential – but as I said last week, just by introducing some subtle changes could really work in its favour:
    1) Have each host introducing a segment on their own – standing or sitting away from the other hosts (the first when the show commences; the second after the first ad break; and the third after the second ad break);
    2) Get rid of that awful desk;
    3) Create a lounge area and have all the hosts spend the last five minutes of the show discussing ‘things’ – ‘things’ being … maybe … general items of interest, much like what ‘Breakfast’ do with The Daily Roast; … or even chatting to their guests then (instead of at that awful desk, all lined up like a panel).
    4) Refurbish the studio – it has too many different themes going on and reminds me too much of the Arizona bar in Wellington (not in a good way). Maybe introduce white and red …? And do something creative with a clock to emphasise the name, in the logo and set design. It wouldn’t be hard to come up with something a lot more exciting than what they have now.
    5) Stop having Jessie as the main mouthpiece – he’s terrible! As mean as that might sound, he is not polished enough to be working in that sort of role (neither was Greg Boyed though) – maybe they should get someone like Melissa Stokes on that show, who is fantastic. It’s blatantly obvious that he’s reading from the autocue most of the time and it’s incredibly offputting. I’m surprised Alison doesn’t have more to say – she just sort of sits there and giggles. And at other times they all talk over the top of each other which is very poor form.
    6) Mix the content up – less ‘fluff’ and more substance. ‘Fluff’ is good, but in moderation would be a lot better. And have the serious stories covered, and reported, by Alison, as her talents are wasted doing what she does.

    • Leo

      Maybe Seven Sharp should of been moved and allowed to develop on TVNZ U when it was still in operation. Youth need a news show dedicated to them in this country.

      • Maggie

        I concur … MTV used to have New Zealand presenters, didn’t it? (I’m sure Amber Peebles and Jay Reeve were on it at one point) – What happened there? I thought U was a really good local offering and it had some excellent shows tailored to a huge cross-section of people.
        I don’t understand why the decision-makers at TVNZ can’t see that not everything comes back to profit margins … without people watching TV then they’re going to lose in the long run through advertising $. There has to be a bit of give and take on both sides (as opposed to just taking, which is what they’re doing [being ‘taking’ all the good programmes and channels away … I absolutely loved that news channel that TVNZ got rid of a while back]).

        • Leo

          Yeah TVNZ U had a lot potential and could of been profitable had it been left to find its feet. U Live was a great show and possibility the possibility of launching a youth news operation on that channel would been great, especially for all those young budding reporters out there. One only has to look at the TVNZ annual report to see that TVNZ is all about reducing overheads and a complete focus on profit. Just look at the BBC overnight broacast being replaced by informercials and the decisions to close TVNZ U and 7 along with the announcement that TVNZ will no longer do captioning. Im also really dissappointed at the options on Freeview compared to what’s available overseas and TVNZ closing channels just makes it worse. As for MTV it did have NZ presenters but after budget cuts the entire operation was moved to sydney where this year it will close and be run out of Britain, wheres the logic in those decisions. Like you I loved TVNZ 7 and it could of grown into our version of ABC News 24 or BBC News.

          • Aaron Lucas

            I liked TVNZ7, but the shows I liked most found a place on other channels anyway.

          • David Finch

            Presumably you mean Back Benches and Media7 (later Media3). The latter has now been cancelled and the former is on in a considerably later time slot. I would hazard a guess that both shows were more watched when they were on TVN7 – therefore giving a better return for the public money spent on them. It’s interesting to see Choice TV etc noting increased audiences with the completion of the digital switchover. What a shame TVNZ7 couldn’t have been left alone to enjoy a similar benefit. We will only see its like again if we vote in a government which understands the value of public broadcasting. TVNZ has been complicit in implementing National’s profit-driven ‘policy’, committing to it in a way they never did with Labour’s ill-fated charter.

          • Dave

            I understand Media3 late night on TV3 rated substantially better than Media7 on TVNZ7. Not sure about the difference in Back Benches ratings from its TVNZ7 days to Prime.

      • Aaron Lucas

        Catering to a demographic that seems to revel in telling us that they don’t watch TV and they get their entertainment online seems like a complete waste of money.

  • Jas

    Don’t watch either, you have wishy washy drivel on one and people who are always moaning that the government doesn’t give them enough or someone else has more than them on the other

  • Maggie

    PS: I think it was a very poor reflection on TVNZ to let Mark Sainsbury go – he was a stellar presenter and had a strong following. I don’t imagine a lot of his followers being impressed with his replacements.

  • Mr X

    Good analysis Regan, I had been hoping to see this comparison for a while. Obviously a bad move to dump Close Up, based on its falling ratings only, to replace it with a show that pulls in even lower ratings. The numbers speak for themselves – viewers do not like the dumbed down, patronising format of Seven Sharp.

  • emmess

    Mediaworks might be winning the battle but it is losing the war by pushing left wing crap. I have noticed lately that TV3 is rating in the single digits and Four is sometimes less than Choice, not to mention that they are in receivership.

    • Drew Horan

      They came out of receivership and what is wrong with asking tough questions and wanting the truth rather than all the PR spin this government feeds us!

  • Maggie

    Ha ha – I just realised that my suggestion to renovate the set and graphics with a pop of red and white would make it look like the previous ‘Close Up’ set-up – which I loved, by the way! So, yes … change it ‘up’ like how Close Up looked in its final year(s) and that would be a good start.