Last week I ranted about the poor offerings on Freeview, especially on the commercial channels. Today there’s even more reason to complain.
Tonight at 8pm the Nine Network (which these days also owns NBN Television) will begin showing Come Fly With Me, a new series by the guys from Little Britain. This was the highest rating new comedy series in the UK last year and a second series has been commissioned by the BBC.
After a run of comedic flops on Nine this year (Ben Elton, Mike & Molly and Sh*t My Dad Says) the eagerly anticipated Come Fly With Me offers a reason to finally flick over to the self-described “home of laughter” for a genuine laugh.
But NBN and WIN have decided not to run Come Fly With Me fearing it might offend regional viewers. Instead it will run repeats of Big Bang Theory.
Nine are running an edited version of Come Fly With Me they feel is suitable for the 8pm PG timeslot, yet NBN and WIN feel even this is too risque for our regional sensibilities.
If viewers in the NBN and WIN regions want to watch Come Fly With Me they can wait until 10pm and watch it on GO!
What’s more offensive, running a new program that’s already been a proven winner in the UK or deciding that regional viewers are somehow more sensitive than their capital city counterparts and would be happier with a safe old repeat?
At a time when free to air TV is under threat from Torrent downloads, subscription TV and a plethora of other entertainment options this decision is baffling and provides another reason for viewers to drift away from FTA as their first choice for entertainment.
As the principal of an advertising agency I want commercial television to be strong so clients have the opportunity to reach the best possible audience, but safety-first programming like this is actually harming the industry.
What do you think about NBN and WIN’s decision not to run Come Fly With Me despite it running in all capital cities on Nine?
Update: Somebody close to the action at NBN has just told me that the word is it was a directive from head office at Nine not to run Come Fly With Me in prime-time in regional areas, not a local programing decision. While Nine have been suffering badly in the ratings against Masterchef, NBN and WIN are still performing strongly. The thought is that Nine were willing to sacrifice Come Fly With Me against Masterchef as they have nothing to lose, however NBN / WIN would be better sticking with what has been working for them. If this is the case, and it hasn’t been confirmed, then at least it makes sense from a purely strategic point-of-view and is a much better explanation than what has been offered officially. Perhaps they should just come out and say it.
Update 17 May: Ironically Come Fly Turned out to be the best comedy premiere for Nine this year after the failure of Ben Elton, Sh*t My Dad Says and Mike & Molly. Its also one of the best performing shows for Nine at all this year. Come Fly With Me debuted with 1.488million viewers in the capital cities last night, not far behind the nights top program Masterchef (1.571m) and ahead of the much hyped Amazing Race Australia (1.258m). If the previous theory bout sacrificing CFWM against Masterchef is true then Nine must have been pleasantly surprised with the results. It once again begs the question, why aren’t NBN and and WIN showing it. I’ll post Newcastle results as a comparison when I get them.
Update 720pm 17 May: NBN General Manager Deborah Wright has just announced that they will now show Come Fly With Me at 8pm Mondays from next week following the success of the program. We observe that this might also have something to do with the fact Masterchef rated very well in Northern NSW against NBN while Come Fly With Me performed well in the capital cities for Nine.