In 2007 Seven came out swinging, with some great new programming and Australian drama, pushing them further past competitors Channels Nine and Ten. Poor old Channel Nine continues to lose audience share, with Channel Ten remaining fairly consistent as the favourite in the younger markets. What will 2008 bring for our major Free to Air channels? Expect some moving and shaking from Seven, Nine and Ten this year.

December’s Campaign Brief published a comprehensive analysis on the year that was for the major channels, and looks into the programming outlook for 2008. Whilst the survey data they published was specific to the Perth market, it’s certainly interesting to look at what’s happening out there in media land.

Nine certainly has a bit of work to do in 2008, to reclaim some of their lost share of the market. Based on the 2007 survey period, Seven has domination of all markets, excluding People 18-39 and 25-39 which still (only just) remains with Ten.

Seven News and Today Tonight absolutely dominated the popular 6-7pm timeslot, which proved to create a great launching pad into their other prime-time programming. With Seven’s airing of the Beijing Olympics and the AFL Grand Final, the Outlook is pretty rosy for the dominant channel. Seven is also seeing the return of winner programs in 2008, such as Grey’s Anatomy; Desperate Housewives; It Takes Two; Dancing with the Stars; Kath and Kim; and RSPCA Animal Rescue. New programs include Dirty Sexy Money, Private Practice (a spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy) and (I’m cringing as I write) Gladiators.

Nine has a few tricks up its sleeve, with the old-faithful CSI and CSI Miami, 60 Minutes and Sea Patrol back in action in 2008, as well as talked-about new Australian series Underbelly (a 13 part drama based on Melbourne’s notorious gang wars). They are also adding US produced Cashmere Mafia, similar to Sex in the City, which promises to dominate with female viewers.

Ten’s 2008 Big Brother, with new hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O, promises to revitalise the reality show and bring back viewers bored with the same old format. Australian Idol also returns in 2008, as well as the high-rating Biggest Loser series; House; and Thank God You’re Here. New series include, So You Think You can Dance, Kenny’s World Toilet Tour, and Women’s Murder Club.

All in all, 2008 is shaping up to be an interesting year. The age of reality TV is losing its grip, and Australian drama is finally upping the ante with gritty new series such as Underbelly gracing our screens. Digital TV is also another consideration, with new channels near to release date and digital coverage slowly-but-surely reaching all regional areas of WA. In 2008 we’ll also see the release of regional people-meter data so we can begin to garner accurate impressions of regional viewing habits. Personally, I can’t wait!

If you’d like some more information on the Media outlook for 2008 – call or email me and I’m happy to help. I’ll keep you posted in future blog editions – so stay tuned!