Back to reality: early Bravo ratings show promise

It’s been nearly a month since NBCUniversal-owned Bravo TV launched on New Zealand screens with MediaWorks and it’s already celebrating positive ratings as Kiwis tune in to get a dose of American reality TV.

Bravo launched on Freeview channel four and Sky channel 12 on 3 July and according to a release, in 5+ cume (i.e. total audience), the all reality TV channel attracted 1,238,900 viewers across its launch week, with more than 35 percent of New Zealanders in the target demographic of household shoppers with kids tuning in at some point across the week.

The channel became Bravo after its predecessor Four had failed to perform.

Four had struggled in the ratings department and hadn’t been able to attract a sizeable audience. Its overall audience share never gained much momentum in the market and slipped to launch date levels between 2014 and 2015.

Its biggest dip came in October last year according to Nielsen data.

At the time of the announced transformation to Bravo, a MediaWorks’ source told StopPress the company “tried really hard with Four” but that it “almost felt too niche to compete with TV2”.

During its launch week, Bravo’s average all day audience across the week in its target demographic of household shoppers with Kids grew more than 52 percent from Four. Similarly, across the day (6am to midnight), the channel has seen 60 percent growth in audience in the same demographic. 

When asked what makes MediaWorks and the New Zealand market a good bet for Bravo, NBCUniversal Australia and New Zealand head Chris Taylor told StopPress, both the content and brand had done “very well” regionally in Australia and it wasn’t being exploited in the New Zealand market anywhere near to the [same]extent.

“It’s a genre that is extraordinarily popular with very, very high engagement in all the markets it operates and obviously particularly in the United States where it’s been very successful — and that bodes well for advertisers. It’s been a very well thought through and deliberate plan to bring Bravo to market, and the opportunity to jump onto a channel that is part of the selection set of viewers in the country already is a really great and unique opportunity.”

Kiwis have shown a particular liking to the show Botched at 10.30pm on a Sunday, as it earned the title of the top rating show, attracting a 20.1 percent share of viewers.

It will be interesting to see if the highly anticipated Real Housewives of Auckland is able to beat it when it hits the air.

The Beverly Hills rendition of the reality programme however, is quickly gaining a local following according to the release. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills previously aired on TV3 and 3NOW. New Zealand new comers Dance Moms and Hoarders are also gaining a following.

It seems Kiwis can’t get enough of the international drama, despite Bravo’s reality stars not knowing much about New Zealand.

MediaWorks bringing in Bravo follows TVNZ launching Duke earlier in the year. It too had a good launch with its first two months seeing 1.7 million New Zealanders tune in.

During the same period, its average audience, in its target demographic of 18 to 39 men, was around the 67,000 mark. It peaked at 90,000 male viewers in the demographic.

Spokespeople from both TVNZ and Bravo say the two channels are not competing.

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