UM CEO Mat Baxter believes the Ashes provides the perfect example of how the networks are putting more and more faith in their secondary FTA channels, which are now a key battle ground for Australian marketers and media agency executives.
Last night Gem’s ratings continued to climb as 665,000 viewers tuned into watch the Ashes day two, which saw the channel climb to 13th spot in the ratings.
Baxter (pictured) told B&T that secondary channels have been growing significantly since their introduction and that they continue to pinch audience share from the primary channels across the board.
“The Networks are starting to treat them in a way that puts them up alongside their primary in terms of the profile of some events that they'll layer on the secondary channel … the Ashes is a good example of this," he said, adding that Gem's rating boost is bound to be keeping executives at Nine's digital channel happy.
Baxter said he wasn’t surprised that Nine decided to stick the series on Gem instead of its primary channel.
"Secondary channels have been used for sport before so it wasn’t a surprise,” he said. “It allows them to protect the primary channel and to stick to a consistent programming schedule. One of big issues with sport is that if you have a program format structured for your primary channel, with habitual week-to-week viewing, sometimes sport can be disruptive to that.
“Secondary channels give networks an opportunity to stick to a timetable on their primary and not disrupt or upset audiences," he added.