Ten hands out 30,000 DVDs of Secrets and Lies to boost viewers

secrets and LiesThe Ten Network has been handing out DVDs of new ‘whodunnit’ series Secrets and Lies in east coast capitals in a bid to get more people hooked into it after a disappointing debut last Monday evening.

Last Thursday and Friday 30,000 copies of the show were handed out to members of the public by promo staff in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, with a Ten spokesman claiming the action was planned “weeks ago” and saying it was not the first time it has been used by an Australian network.

Shoppers in the CBDs of the cities were approached by promotions staff dressed in black t-shirts and handing out the first episode of the new drama series which pulled in 403,000 viewers for its first outing last Monday evening.

The move comes after experts told Mumbrella last week Ten had an issue with promoting forthcoming series because of a lack of viewers for existing shows, while the director of Puberty Blues admitted he was hoping the show would rate well because of a strong fan base for the first series. The network has struggled in the ratings in recent weeks, and pulled just 8.8 per cent audience share last week.

Both Nine and Seven have told Mumbrella they have never used the tactic of distributing free DVDs.

One rival network executive said the move “smacked of desperation” adding: “Most networks wait until the end of the series to sell it on a DVD box-set, or put it online so people can catch up. Never do they stand in the street handing it out like the town crier.”

Last month Nine previewed the first four episodes of new period drama Love Child on its Jump In service to 20,000 people on a first-come-first-served basis. The show has gone on to average over  a million metro viewers over its first three episodes after getting 1.35m on debut. It is now up against Secrets and Lies in the 8.30pm timeslot.

A spokesman for Ten said the network had decided to follow this course of promotion because the show “is a whodunnit and ideally people should see the first episode.”

He added: “The DVD was part of the strategy to achieve that; the first episode was also, of course, available on TenPlay for catch-up and was encored three times on TV over the past week.”

They said the DVDs did not have any commercial material on them, and denied the network was using the method to make up for any shortfalls in the TenPlay service.  

This morning Ten released the numbers for its TenPlay service which had 2.86 million video views last week, up 19 per cent on the previous week and 92 per cent on week ten last year. Secrets and Lies managed 139,000 video views, and got 280,000 viewers for its repeat on Ten and 48,000 for the encore screening on Eleven.

Update: A spokesman for Channel Ten said there was “nothing desperate” about the DVD giveaway and it had been planned weeks ago. Secrets and Lies also had 91,000 capital city viewers for the late night encore of the show on Saturday, the spokesman said.

Alex Hayes


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