Step Dave bounces for Finale but is it enough?

After watching the ratings drop across the season, the finale of Step Dave last night on TV2 enjoyed a bounce to an average audience of 244,900 viewers. This was the fourth highest rating episode of the season and the first that cracked the 200,000 mark since the sixth episode.

The question on everyone’s lips will be whether or not that finale spike will be enough to convince the network to give it a second season.

Red: Step Dave | Blue: Go Girls season 5

Red: Step Dave | Blue: Go Girls season 5

The average audience for the season was 213,327 viewers per episode, marginally higher than the final season of Go Girls which saw the fifth season lose out on a renewal after having only 211,128 viewers per episode.

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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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  • AW

    You’re looking at the AP5+ figures which aren’t relevant. Have a look at the channel demo 18-39 and Step Dave is killing, so the answer is yes the audience is big enough.

    • Regan Cunliffe

      The more specific the demographic, the smaller the audience size will be and the larger the margin of error will be.

      • Spartacus

        Yes – but the networks aren’t interested in the 5+ figures. They look at their target demographics to determine ratings success of a show. In TV2’s case, it’s All People 18-49. 5+ is irrelevant from an industry perspective.

        • Regan Cunliffe

          The general population don’t care about how the networks choose to slice and dice the numbers. If they did, you’d hear cries of celebration every time it was revealed that we’d have to wait six months for the hottest new TV show to screen here because it wasn’t winter yet…

          • Spartacus

            However, you’ve headed the article ‘is it enough’, shown a graph of 5+ ratings and speculated whether these are enough for renewal of the series. I’m pointing out that these figures will be largely irrelevant to whether the show is renewed or not as the commissioning Network will be looking at the 18-49 figures, rather than 5+, as this is their target audience.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            Are you suggesting that there wasn’t a bounce in the “target demo” as well?

          • AW

            What the hell are you talking about?

          • AW

            Completely agree Spartacus! Unlike Regan you understand how demographics work. As per above, the figures for Step Dave audience share of target demographic were excellent and easily support commissioning another series. Step Dave well and truly won its target 18-39 demo.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            Continue to bark up the wrong tree. Nothing that was stated above was incorrect or misleading.

          • AW

            Regan you are ignoring Spartacus’s accurate point to try and fit your own narrative around the success of Step Dave.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            How about you go and take a breath and stop assuming so much.

          • AW

            Oh dear, when challenged you resort to personal attack.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            Excuse me. You turn up here all holier than thou, state quite explicitly that I don’t understand how demographics work and then when you want to accuse me of making personal attacks? Seriously… take a breath.

            You seem to ignore the fact that perception is everything. ALL Taxpayers funded Step Dave to the tune of $6,672,500. Not just those in the 18-39 demographic. Those taxpayers aren’t thinking about target demographics and whether or not there is a financial return in the long term. They want to know that they’re getting bang for their buck and that kiwi audiences are actually interested in and bothering to watch what their hard earned taxes are buying. When we say 200,000 (4.4% of the population) viewed an episode, that is a hell of a lot better than saying 125,000 did (2.7%). Ratings are complicated enough as it is for those in the industry to wrap their heads around without having to try and get anyone else to understand them in much detail.

            You also seem to overlook and completely devalue the rest of the audience that is watching by implying that only the key demo is important.

            If 60% of the audience is in the key demo, 40%, which is not an insignificant amount, are still highly valuable. Sure, they might not all buy feminine hygiene products but you ignore monetising that audience at your peril.

            Finally, ALL of the ratings are valid at some level, which is why they are collected.

            And you might also like to note that globally, total audience is the standard metric used when reporting ratings in the media.

          • Preston

            “And you might also like to note that globally, total audience is the standard metric used when reporting ratings in the media.”

            Regan i’m sorry but that is absolute garbage. Check out a very good site for US ratings information. 18-49 is the reported metric and the only one taken any notice of. It’s what the advertisers care about. As stated by the previous commenters, the situation is similar in New Zealand.
            You would do well to listen to helpful criticism from commenters and respond in a constructive manner, rather than the frankly unprofessional manner you seem to treat comments which disagree with you or seek to help clarify certain issues. The fact is you do not always get it right.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            One website in one country does not the global media make. And even then, TVByTheNumbers still uses total viewers anyway.

            Take this post on TVByTheNumbers as one example (happy to get more if that’s not enough):

            Where is your beloved 18-49 in that? There are countless examples of total viewership being used as the primary basis for commentary of ratings so why you choose to write them off as being irrelevant is beyond me.

            As well as this, in Australia, the metric is total viewers. In the UK, it’s total viewers. In Canada, it’s, again, the total number of viewers.

            If you don’t believe me, google some of the biggest shows on TV at the moment and prove to me that my statement is garbage by showing me that they don’t use total audience to report on how a show has rated…

          • Preston

            The post you cherry picked is for cable programs which rely less on advertisers, because they charge subscription fees, so it is a bit different. Here is a typical daily report of broadcast ratings:


            As you can see, the rating data is given only in A18-49 and the shows are ranked by that rating. The total viewers (the raw number of viewers, not the actual rating or the share) is indeed given too but is not the metric for how the shows ranked. You might notice a show with more total viewers ranked below a show with less viewers but a higher demo score. If you still need more clarification on how this works I would be happy to explain further.

   is probably the most viewed ratings website but all the other ratings reports are the same way. Press releases from networks may from time to time emphasize total viewers of their own shows to put their own positive spin on ratings, but obviously that is just media spin.

            I’m not making this stuff up and i’m not commenting on whether it makes total sense but it is simply what advertisers look for and therefore it is the most important rating.

            Other countries may report total viewers to the public and it still may be of interest to some people but I promise you advertisers look at demographics and not just total viewers. This is nothing new.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            Fine… USA today on the return of 24:

            Hollywood Reporter on this year’s SuperBowl ratings:

            Take a look on Wikipedia at any TV show and you’ll see, in the vast majority of cases, that the only figure listed is total viewership.

            Need I go on?

            If advertisers are interested in key demographics then I’m sure some network sales person is getting paid to spin it that way for them. That person isn’t me.

          • Preston

            You just seemed to completely ignore the points I explained to you. Regan of course total viewers is going to be reported in articles and press releases on news sites because it is far easier for the casual reader to understand.

            However if you are actually interested in ratings analysis, as are readers of ratings websites (and presumably throng) you need to go beyond that into demographics. This is because what advertisers are interested in is the whole reason that ratings even exist.

            In order to answer questions about whether a show will be renewed or not (like this very article poses!) you need to look at demographics. I thought this was a television web site geared at proper analysis which would mean you should very much be interested in demographics, which is not “spin” at all.

            However for some bizarre reason you seem utterly, stubbornly unable to understand what every other television ratings commenter knows as common sense. To be honest your attitude is really straining this website’s credibility. I’m not just having a go at you Regan I really would like some proper ratings analysis for local television and I think it would improve the site’s value greatly if you provided more in-depth and relevant information.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            It’s ironic, really. The demographic specific data is commercially sensitive information. Deeper analysis of it would be highly valuable to advertisers, agencies and tv networks. The reality is, we get zero financial support from any of them. I’d love to do deeper analysis but someone is going to have to make it worth my while.

            It costs us to get the 5+ data that we do get and even that is expensive.

            We’re the only one that gives any coverage to the ratings on a daily basis at ANY level and based on the feedback, it is a service that is greatly appreciated by members of the industry and viewers alike.

            I completely understand the benefit of demographic data. If I have to choose between providing data that is of interest to the viewers vs those that interest producers, networks and advertisers, I’ll pick the ones who help pay my own bills.

          • RaveDave001

            Just found this site, man you aren’t half being selective with that tvbythenumbers link, i frequent that site every day, and the key demo is the 18-49 rating and share, which is what decides whether shows live or die, Nielsen release that data every day, the link you refer to is merely a weekly cable release of top viewership for information purposes, shows live and die by the 18-49 demo.

          • AW

            Just putting up a response to the question you posed in your article, “are Step Dave’s ratings good enough for a second season”. My response is that in its target demographic (18-39) the show has done well. NZOA would be very aware that the show was intended to appeal to an 18-39 demo, they would have funded it on that basis and would judge its success on those numbers. Sure the show’s performance in other demographics would be of interest but its target demo appeal is the key performance criteria. The other key factor is what other shows were up against it and how did it perform against them, did the audience stay with the show through the hour. Ratings aren’t complicated Regan. Broadcast channels aim to attract certain audience demographics, advertisers pay to be in shows that appeal to certain demographics. So in the case of TV2 and Step Dave the 18-39 performance is more important than AP5+.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            I think you’ll find that most people have enormous trouble trying to understand ratings, especially when you start getting into reach and cume.

          • Clint

            You’re sounding rude and condescending there Mate.

        • Dave

          TV2 is still a mass-market station, and as such cannot sustain
          sub-200,000 5+ ratings in primetime for very long, no matter how good
          the target demographics might look. Programmers will simply compare it
          with the ratings they may be able to get from an imported drama series
          or comedy pairing.

          “Killing” in 18-39 is a slight exaggeration,
          and won’t be the sole factor when considering whether to invest in a
          second season. $6.67 million is a lot of money for NZ on Air, and I
          expect there was an additional contribution from TVNZ as well.

      • AW

        Absolute bollocks. How do think advertiser target audiences??

        • Regan Cunliffe

          Probably quite differently from how NZ On Air chooses to fund content

          • Preston

            Uh, if they are like anyone else who funds content, appeal to advertisers would definitely have something to do with it. If the show does not appeal to advertisers, it does not make much commercial sense to fund it and vice versa.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            Except they are not like anyone else. If they were, there is plenty of content that wouldn’t have been produced.

          • NB

            You really should talk to NZ On Air, rather than assuming.

          • Regan Cunliffe

            Assuming? Go read their statement of intent for funding priorities. NZ On Air use “prime-time audience aged 5+” as one of their key performance measures. For comedy, they list their target as 240,000 and Drama, 315,000.

    • NB

      AW you are exactly right – you can’t make decisions on 5+, it has to be where the money is. As far as I’m aware, Regan has never worked in TV, so doesn’t grasp this despite repeated attempts to educate him about how it actually works.

      • Regan Cunliffe

        Tell that to the person who sells advertising for TVNZ during One News…

  • madamespeaker

    I thought that Step Dave came to a natural end last night. I’m an 18-39 viewer who dipped in and out of the show after the first 2 episodes, and at its conclusion I still enjoyed all of the other characters more than the leads- the story was a bit dull and I still wasn’t convinced about their chemistry

    • Reece

      I quite liked Step Dave, but as you say it did reach its natural end which I guess was on purpose considering the success rate with NZ drama at the moment.

    • Jas

      Agree, I cant see where they can go
      Done the kids don’t like him
      Done the ex turns up and is found to be a a-hole
      Done the sister doesn’t like him
      Done the misunderstanding with text/phone call
      Done the break up get back together again
      Done his friends don’t like her

      All that is left is he kniocks her up

  • Leave Comments

    I love this show. I hope they renew it. I am in America and if this was on our TV it would be a hit. I am sure of it. Also wow, only 200k people watch. Gosh my favorite shows here get canceled when “only” 6 million watch. lol

    • Roger

      population is slightly different, dontcha think?

  • TK

    I would find it interesting to look at 18-39/25-54 data if it is available to the public and if there is minute by minute or quarter- hour data available that would be good to see too. Are you able to publish this data as well please?