The Shire's ratings will increase: Media buyers

By By David Blight | 18 July 2012

Despite seeing a barrage of negative comments on social media and missing out on a million viewers in its first showing, The Shire will thrive nonetheless, say media buyers.

After Ten's 'dramality' show first aired on Monday night (16 July), it saw an average 941,000 metro viewers according to OzTam.

While the ratings numbers were solid but not stellar, the more impressive figures were on social media, with sites like Twitter and Facebook awash with tens of thousands of comments, the vast majority of them negative.

However, despite the negative comments and the average ratings, media buyers have said the show will be a success and may even see an increase in audience numbers, a least in its early days.

Foundation managing director Martin Patton said: “This style of show is very difficult to predict, because it is unlike other programs. If nothing else the audience will grow in the short term, because it is such a love and hate proposition, and even the haters will be watching. There has just been so much social commentary around it, and so much coverage.

“If it wasn't so polarising it wouldn't get the same coverage. It has raised curiosity. Will it be short term or long term? Who knows. The show won't last forever but this first series could see some good numbers.”

Slingshot Media Ventures chief executive Simon Rutherford told AdNews: “There really is that train smash element to it. You can't help but look at it. People will be looking at it with their hands in front of their face; there is the cringe-worthy factor.

“As a result of that, and because it is new, I think it will keep people watching. The concern is whether it will turn into long term viewership. The next episode will give a better indication.”

TMS chief executive Chris Mort was torn about the show's future success. “It's so hard to predict. The publicity is has generated will keep it going for a while longer. It has a chance of working because there has been so much interest in it. I wouldn't write it off just yet.”

Meanwhile, MEC chief executive Peter Vogel was not quite as positive about the program's chances for ratings success. He predicted the show will maintain a niche audience but will never break into the mainstream.

“A program like that will always have an audience, but we have to be realistic about the size of that audience. There are plenty of quasi-reality shows around, and there will always be a niche audience. But it will certainly not attract mainstream audiences. It would better fit late nights or digital channels.”

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