According to figures published by the Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board, the Sep 15th live broadcast of BAMMA 10 on 5* received 178,000 viewers during it’s primetime run.
With 178,000 viewers, BAMMA 10 was the 10th highest viewed programme on 5* for that week. However, the gulf in viewership between BAMMA and the channels highest rated programming such as Home and Away and Celebrity Big Brother was as expected, huge.
To offer some perspective, in the same week the 30 minute weekday broadcasts of Home and Away averaged 500,000 viewers. When the channel’s audience share amongst the spectrum of television channels is factored in, you begin to understand that the gap between 178,000 and 500,000 is quite significant. In contrast to BAMMA, Home and Away is a soap, spanning months of programming with storylines that invest viewers into their development and eventual outcome. BAMMA is a live sporting event, and at the moment, a ‘one off’ to the 5* audience. The broadcasting of live Mixed Martial Arts is a new dynamic to the line up of programming on the channel. 5*’s bigger brother FIVE is more commonly known for broadcasting live sports, typically football. The addition of live Mixed Martial Arts isn’t supported by the foundations of viewers returning there for sports programming, it’s not the channel’s image. A question though; are BAMMA compromising to fit in?
As mentioned earlier, BAMMA 10 was a ‘one off’ form of programming. To make a comparison to other forms of ‘one off’ programming on 5*, they as most entertainment channels, have a library of movies which are usually broadcasted at the primetime of 9pm on weekdays. A similar slot to that of BAMMA’s live broadcast, albeit on a different day. Although BAMMA didn’t eclipse the viewership which these movies receive, they held strong. Will Smith’s ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ recorded 182,000 viewers on a 9pm broadcast. So in some way the debut of live mixed martial arts on 5* wasn’t a run-away success nor a failure, it fitted in, like anything else.
However, it begs the question. What resources are FIVE prepared to invest in future, if for the simplicity of licensing a movie, they receive more bang for their buck.