TVNZ’s new reality DIY show Our First Home is showing early signs that it might have what it takes to dispossess The Block NZ (screened by MediaWorks) of its throne as the nation's most-watched reno-reality show.
Showing at 7.30pm thrice weekly and hosted by Goran Paladin, the show sees three family teams of four purchase a house (with their own money). Then they spend ten weeks renovating it (with the show's money). The team that adds the most value to their property at auction gets $100,000 to help with the younger couple's deposit on their own house.
According to data from Nielsen, the show had a viewer rating of 456,000 for its first episode, which screened on TVONE on February 8 and a rating of 445,600 for last night’s episode, making it the most watched television show of the evening (between 7.30pm-11pm).
Comparatively over the course of 48 episodes, The Block NZ had ratings of 325,000, and The Block Glass House, now up to 51 episodes has a viewer rating of 188,000.
Our First Home also performed well in the 25-54 category, pulling in an audience of 189,000, which was higher than the 183,000 of Masterchef NZ, the 142,000 of My Kitchen Rules, the 175,000 of The Block NZ and 105,000 of The Block Glasshouse.
MediaWorks spokesperson Rachel Lorimer pointed out that Our First Home's strong results weakened over the second and third episodes of the show.
"The Block continues to be the most successful DIY format in New Zealand. In the two nights that Our First Home and Australian series The Block Glasshouse have gone head-to-head, viewers have chosen The Block in overwhelming numbers," she says. "Monday night saw 119,900 25-54 year olds (average audience, including plus1 channel) watch The Block, compared with 91,500 for Our First Home, and last night (Tuesday, the tenth), the gap widened further with 166,500 25-54 year olds watching The Block, compared with 91,100 watching Our First Home. The strong performance of The Block Glasshouse sets MediaWorks up for another blockbuster season of the New Zealand series.”
While it’s still early days for Our First Home, the ratings do look promising, and the fact that it screens three times weekly seems like a good way to hold viewers’ attention. So far the ratings are higher than TVNZ’s own MKR NZ, so no doubt the broadcaster will be pleased about that, but MasterChef NZ’s ratings are still higher, though the show will be switching to MediaWorks this year.
Commissioner of factual entertainment at TVNZ Tony Manson anticipated the show would see success through its unique take on the reality DIY genre.
"There's nothing else like this on television," he told the Herald. "Sure, home renovation can be seen on any number of other shows, but the Our First Home story is much bigger than DIY. It's about families working together and making sacrifices for the good of the next generation. It is also distinctly Kiwi in that the idea has been created by New Zealanders with the local property market in mind. It's not an overseas idea that has been adapted."
Manson predicts that the show is likely to take a similar trajectory as multi-night shows.
"With any television competition format like this, the audience will level out over time and then spike in the last week or two when the competition gets down to the wire," he says.
And Manson adds that there's also an educational element to the show: "Plenty of Kiwis are in the same boat as our family teams – wanting to find ways to increase the value of their home, make it more liveable, or simply change some part of their kitchen so it is more functional and attractive. So ‘Our First Home’ is designed to be entertaining for our viewers, but also very useful. The programme contains loads of good advice from finding the right property to clever ways to renovate on a limited budget. The Our First Home experts, Sara and Eva, give great tips to the Schreuders, Gourleys and Wardlaws, and this information is available in the programme and online on our website for fans of the show."
BNZ, Fly Buys and Toyota are the show's first-tier sponsors. And Resene, Barfoot & Thompson, Noel Leeming and Harrisons Carpet are the shows second-tier sponsors.
Blacksand created all the show’s branding and the 'Anything for Family' promotion, which asked Kiwis to nominate a family member that deserved a surprise. TVNZ then chose its favourites and filmed them. It has also filmed each of the families as well as a main promo ad.