The Ten Network may still be profitable, but that didn’t make it a wanted asset, unlike rivals Seven, and the struggling Nine.

It didn’t break out the third quarter profit for TV, but it seems to have been better than the same three months of last financial year when earnings and sales were slashed by the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne on Nine.

But despite the air of quiet confidence in the pronouncements of Executive Chairman Nick Falloon about the result, and the prospects for topping 2006’s depressed $252 million in earnings before interest, tax and depreciation, a couple of non-financial gems stuck out, such as this comment by the Network’s TV CEO, Grant Blackley:

We have largely held the record audience share gains in our primary 18-49 demographic achieved a year ago, when our share against the same period in 2005 soared by 8.9 per cent.

This is in the commercial share battle between Ten, Seven and Nine. It excludes SBS and the ABC. The meaning swings on the definition of “largely”. If it means the Network has hung on to all the gains, well, yes.

But rival Seven has made gains this year in what is now Ten’s key demographic and The One has gone out of its way to target for most of the past year. Ten is still holding onto most of those gains but Seven is the leader. Blackley again: 

We are pleased with TEN’s consistent performance, and we expect to maintain this position in the next six months with TEN achieving a strong number-two ranking in market.

It will in this demo, behind Seven.

We have also achieved our aim of being the number one network in daytime – both in all people and the key off-peak demographics, viewers 25-54 and grocery buyers with children.

Yes they are, but Seven is making a determined push with its new 9am to 11am morning show which on early indications, is hurting Ten more than Nine. But it is only early days.

But the most curious comment was this: “Turning to overseas product … TEN had enjoyed its best result from the new US season in a decade – both in terms of volume and quality.”

Well, yes, but what really happened to 2007?

None of the three new US sourced programs promoted by Ten at its 2007 launch late last year, have made it onto Australian TV screens. They all bombed and Ten is struggling in this area, depending on the tried and true quartet of the two Law and Orders ( CI and SVU ), NCIS and House . These are the million viewer plus US dramas. The Simpsons are still doing well while Supernatural , Numb3rs and Medium are holding up timeslots but not really setting the world on fire.

Apart from this, the cupboard is bare until next year when new programs (some of which might survive) arrive from Fox, Showtime, NBC Universal and CBS Paramount.

Here are the current year-to-date commercial share figures for 6pm to 10.30pm:

Audience shares




All People

37.6% (36.1%)

34.5% (35.1%)

27.9% (28.8%)


34.7% (31.4%)

28.4% (30.1%)

36.9% (38.5%)


35.9% (33.4%)

30.3% (32.2%)

33.8% (34.4%)


37.0% (34.7%)

32.2% (34.2%)

30.8% (31.1%)


Weeks 7-24, 2006 excludes coverage of the Commonwealth Games on Nine in prime time OzTAM Data for 6:00-10:30pm.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey