Nine CEO admits Gallipoli audiences are a ‘disappointment’ as network prepares to ‘burn’ drama series

GyngellNine Entertainment Co CEO David Gyngell has admitted the ratings performance of Nine’s drama series Gallipoli has been his “biggest disappointment” for the year, asserting it has failed to standup against Seven’s “spectacular” My Kitchen Rules.

Speaking at today’s half-yearly financial results announcement, Gyngell admitted that the expensive drama series was “my biggest disappointment for the year,” on the same day it emerged that Nine has now moved to air double episodes of the show from Monday, a practice often referred to as ‘burning off’ a show.

The show, produced Endemol, debuted with an audience of 1.104m, according to preliminary numbers from Oztam, before plunging to 580,000 metro viewers on its second outing. The third outing of the show was watched by 527,000 metro viewers.

Nine has also put the entire series on its streaming platform Stan after the first episode aired on the channel.

“The maths at the moment: we’ve had two full weeks of ratings and we’re plus 3.5 per cent up on last year,” said Gyngell.

Gyngell said while he is always concerned with programming as it would be arrogant not be, he is not “overly concerned” about the channel’s ratings performance and singling out the performance of Seven’s My Kitchen Rules.

“There’s a big show at the moment and Seven have done a fantastic job with My Kitchen Rules but you’re all looking at it like it’s not down double digits which it is, it’s down double digits on last year.

“Let’s not all get carried away that the whole world is changing, they’ve got a spectacular show, it’s run a few extra hours then it started last year to combat Gallipoli which everyone thought was the big thing, everyone thought it was going to be huge.”

Last year’s debut of MKR was watched by 1.671m metro viewers, while the launch of this year’s series fell to 1.596m.

“Research panels across the country said Galipolli was going to be the biggest show on television and it hasn’t been,” Gyngell continued.

“It’s a beautifully made piece of television and so proud of what John Edwards and his team have done. Economically don’t downgrade Channel Nine too much because Stan is getting some benefits of being able to buy the streaming rights of that show. I don’t think it’s had any effect on the ratings, it’s a sticky show that people will acquire over time.”

John Edwards, the producer behind the series, had previously described creating expensive drama series as a “daunting task”.

“It is a hugely daunting task because of the role it has taken in our history,” he said. “There is an assumption of a whole lot of stuff which is not grounded in anything or a genuine responsibility when you do something that is so historically sensitive.”

On if Nine would continue to invest in local drama content, Gyngell said the onus was on them.

“Television at the moment, there’s nothing really popping that hasn’t popped before. There’s an onus on us to produce new television.

“We’re going to continue to make Australian dramas and look at Australian dramas.  We have to make sure we are ready to launch some new programming for 2016/17.”

Miranda Ward and Robert Burton-Bradley 

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