The Israeli television industry continued to lose money in the first half of the year as revenues of the three commercial franchisees - Channel 10, Reshet and Keshet - fell 6% compared to the same period of 2011.
This translates into NIS 50 million less for the troubled companies, with Channel 10 bearing the brunt of the crisis. Channel 10's ratings have fallen this year and advertising minutes plunged 10% in the first half of the year. The two Channel 2 franchisees - Keshet and Reshet - also saw small drops in advertising sold.
The first two quarters of 2012 may both have been bad for the television industry, but they were certainly different. The first three months of the year actually had record high viewer numbers for the winter season, but this did not translate into advertising - neither in minutes nor in shekels. The second quarter, the spring and early summer season, saw a drop in ratings - and some gains in advertising.
"Television today is packed with advertising. This is one of the best times in the industry," said a senior industry executive this week. To sum up the first six months of the year, it seems the three franchisees still did not manage to fill all their ad slots - a total of 40 minutes of prime time viewing each - every day. Reshet was the leader with an average of 31.3 minutes sold per day during prime viewing time, followed by 29.8 minutes for Keshet and only 25.2 minutes for Channel 10.
Channel 10 copes with 'Survivor'
The first two quarters were also very different in terms of the balance of forces between the two commercial channels, 2 and 10. Reality show "Big Brother" broke viewing records on Channel 2 in the first quarter for Keshet, as did singing contest "The Voice" for Reshet. Channel 10 did not put up any real competition. But in the second quarter, it was Channel 10 that won the nightly ratings battle with "Survivor VIP" and "Beauty and The Geek."
Keshet is still the clear winner in the ratings game, as it was in previous years, with seven of the 10 leading shows in the first half of the year. The two biggest draws were "Big Brother" and comedy show "A Wonderful Country" ("Eretz Nehederet" ). On a number of occasions "Big Brother" even drew the highest ratings in Israeli history. Keshet's average rating hit a 26.2% share of the entire population in prime time in the first six months of 2012, compared to 23.2% in the same period of 2011.
The other Channel 2 franchisee, Reshet, had an average rating of 18.3% in prime time, and had two shows in the top 10 rated in the January to June period - episodes of "The Voice" and "The Race to the Million." Reshet's ratings plunged in the second quarter as Channel 10's improved. Reshet and Keshet split the Channel 2 broadcasting time, with Reshet appearing on four days, including Friday and Saturday, which traditionally have lower ratings.
Channel 10's ratings were much lower - an average of 7.7 % in prime time in the first six months of this year, compared to 8.9% for the same period last year. Most of the drop came in the first quarter, which was filled with reruns. The second quarter was saved by "Survivor VIP" and ratings jumped 50%, and one episode of the show managed to break into the top 10 rating for the first half year.
Israeli viewers watched more television in the first half of 2012 than in the same period of 2011, based on figures from the Israel Audience Research Board. The average viewer watched 231 minutes a day in the first half of 2011, and 235 in the same period of 2012. "Even though the Internet is growing stronger, television is not losing its power; quite the opposite - it is growing stronger," said Dr. Yifat Ben Hai-Segev, the CEO of the Audience Research Board.