Data Week Day Two: Sky One And An Alarming Photo Of Rupert Murdoch

Look, there’ll be a more interesting update along later today, okay?

Anyway, we’ve taken a look at Sky One’s weekly top ten viewing figures over the last 52 weeks. BARB doesn’t have any data for two of the weeks in that period (for some unexplained reason), which leaves us with a total of 500 shows to work from. Which is a handy figure for knocking up charts, so we’ll work with that.

Sky One’s hundred most watched shows over the last year (hey, it might come in handy for someone) are as follows, just after an alarming picture of Rupert Murdoch from BSkyB’s Annual Shareholder’s Report for 2003. See if you can tell what we’ve changed.

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That’s right, we’ve cropped out some of the foliage from that shot. That top hundred:

overall
rank

show

viewers
(000s)

1

Noels Christmas Presents 2 (21-Dec-08)

1,553

2

Lost (01-Feb-09)

1,326

3

Lost (01-Mar-09)

1,264

4

Lost (22-Feb-09)

1,220

5

Lost (25-Jan-09)

1,195

6

The Simpsons (22-Mar-09)

1,185

7

Lost (15-Feb-09)

1,180

8

Lost (22-Mar-09)

1,170

9

Lost (08-Feb-09)

1,158

10

Skellig (12-Apr-09)

1,155

11

Ross Kemp: Return To Afghanistan (01-Feb-09)

1,153

12

Lost (05-Apr-09)

1,117

13

The Simpsons (01-Feb-09)

1,107

14

Ross Kemp: Return To Afghanistan (22-Feb-09)

1,103

15

Lost (17-May-09)

1,099

16

Ross Kemp: Return To Afghanistan (15-Feb-09)

1,099

17

Lost (19-Apr-09)

1,091

18

Bones (16-Nov-08)

1,082

19

Lost (17-May-09)

1,076

20

Ross Kemp: Return To Afghanistan (08-Feb-09)

1,071

21

Lost (08-Mar-09)

1,061

22

Lost (12-Apr-09)

1,059

23

House Season 5 (26-Jul-09)

1,052

24

The Simpsons (11-Jan-09)

1,047

25

Lost (10-May-09)

1,034

26

Lost (03-May-09)

1,020

27

House Season 5 (26-Jul-09)

997

28

The Simpsons (30-Nov-08)

987

29

House Season 5 (05-Jul-09)

986

30

Bones (22-Mar-09)

983

31

The Simpsons (16-Nov-08)

982

32

Bones (30-Nov-08)

959

33

Bones (17-May-09)

946

34

Bones (03-May-09)

945

35

Lost (29-Mar-09)

945

36

House Season 5 (16-Aug-09)

927

37

House Season 5 (12-Jul-09)

925

38

Bones (10-May-09)

921

39

The Simpsons (08-Mar-09)

911

40

Bones (24-May-09)

910

41

The Simpsons (25-Jan-09)

910

42

Martina Coles The Take (05-Jul-09)

903

43

24 Season 7 (18-Jan-09)

903

44

House Season 5 (09-Aug-09)

896

45

The Simpsons (07-Dec-08)

896

46

House Season 5 (09-Aug-09)

893

47

Martina Coles The Take (21-Jun-09)

890

48

Martina Coles The Take (21-Jun-09)

888

49

Bones (05-Oct-08)

886

50

Bones (19-Apr-09)

885

51

The Simpsons (09-Nov-08)

885

52

Bones (08-Mar-09)

874

53

House Season 5 (31-May-09)

872

54

Bones (25-Apr-09)

871

55

The Simpsons (22-Feb-09)

871

56

Ross Kemp In Search Of Pirates (21-Jun-09)

867

57

House Season 5 (02-Aug-09)

866

58

Ross Kemp: Return To Afghanistan (01-Mar-09)

862

59

House Season 5 (02-Aug-09)

852

60

24 Season 7 (01-Feb-09)

852

61

Gladiators (16-Nov-08)

850

62

Bones (28-Sep-08)

848

63

House Season 5 (31-May-09)

843

64

House Season 5 (13-Sep-09)

840

65

Bones (15-Mar-09)

837

66

The Simpsons (04-Jan-09)

834

67

House Season 5 (30-Aug-09)

831

68

24 Season 7 (08-Feb-09)

829

69

House Season 5 (21-Jun-09)

828

70

House Season 5 (14-Jun-09)

827

71

Bones (29-Mar-09)

824

72

Bones (19-Oct-08)

822

73

House Season 5 (19-Jul-09)

814

74

The Simpsons (09-Nov-08)

813

75

24 Season 7 (15-Feb-09)

811

76

Bones (12-Oct-08)

811

77

House Season 5 (23-Aug-09)

808

78

The Simpsons (04-Jan-09)

803

79

Bones (02-Nov-08)

803

80

Bones (01-Mar-09)

802

81

Bones (26-Oct-08)

797

82

Bones (22-Feb-09)

796

83

Bones (12-Apr-09)

795

84

The Simpsons (01-Feb-09)

795

85

House Season 5 (07-Jun-09)

794

86

24 Season 7 (05-Apr-09)

794

87

Ross Kemp In Search Of Pirates (14-Jun-09)

780

88

Fringe (26-Oct-08)

768

89

The Simpsons (01-Feb-09)

766

90

The Simpsons (08-Feb-09)

763

91

House Season 5 (28-Jun-09)

761

92

The Simpsons (28-Dec-08)

760

93

The Simpsons (25-Jan-09)

754

94

House Season 5 (06-Sep-09)

751

95

The Simpsons (26-Oct-08)

749

96

Gladiators (04-Jan-09)

748

97

Bones (31-May-09)

743

98

24 Season 7 (12-Apr-09)

743

99

The Simpsons (28-Dec-08)

740

100

Lie To Me Season 1 (12-Jul-09)

739

Source: BARB.co.uk The programmes shown were broadcast in the weeks ending in the listed dates.

So, quite a mixed bunch at the top. Slightly surprisingly, as least to us, it’s Noel’s Christmas Holiday Acciden… erm, Present 2 at the top of the pile, with over 1.5million viewers. The majority of the top ten is taken up with the penultimate series of Lost, while the “world premiere” episode of The Simpsons (where the family visit Ireland) also makes the ten. Tim Roth’s performance in original children’s drama production Skellig rounds off the top ten.

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No, we’re fine thank you Rupert. So, chucking that lot into a chart that’s never going to be very representative given the fact 84% of Sky One’s primetime schedule is taken up with Simpsons repeats, what do we get?

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Pretty much as you might expect. But, what happens when we take account of the types of show making up the 500?

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Quite interesting. Only 7% of the shows on the list are actually made in the UK specifically for Sky. Now, we’ll admit that UK-sourced programming was unlikely to eat into the Simpso-Futurama portion of the pie, as it’s so bloody scarce on Sky One, but 7% is really rather poor. It’s also quite interesting to note that not a single live-action US comedy makes the pie – have there been any on Sky One over the last year? At most points in the channel’s history, you could have expected to see shows like Seinfeld, Mad About You, Married With Children, Friends or maybe even Night Court on there (may even I Love Lucy, if you go back far enough), but that seems to have been an entire genre they’ve given up on.

Sky really do seem to be spreading their programming portfolio rather thinly. Of the entire listing, 83.6% of it is taken from just six shows: The Simpsons, Bones, 24, House, Fringe and Lost. Given that three of those shows only interested Sky in the first place was because of the audiences they were getting on other channels (BBC Two, five and Channel Four, you can probably work out the shows yourselves), you might have to question what the programme buyers at Sky One do all day. Apart from sift through BARB’s website so see which shows they can pinch from elsewhere, that is.

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Yikes. At this point, you could reasonably say that the US imports dominate the charts because they run for much longer seasons than the original programming commissioned by Sky. A chart compiled of average ratings per programme would probably reveal a lot more, wouldn’t it?

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And indeed it would, with the top ten programmes now including a total of six home-grown productions. Noel’s Christmas Presents 2 wins the (notional) annual prize, with Mr Roth in second place. Even Gladiators makes the cut, and with the Simpsons pool being thinned out by repeats in less popular slots, it slips down to sixteenth. Gratifyingly, that means Futurama sneaks ahead of it.

So, with those figures in mind, why doesn’t Sky come up with more original programming? The stock answer here would be “because importing shows is cheaper – duh!”, but Sky reportedly pay Buena Vista International a whopping £700,000 per episode of Lost. That’s comfortably enough to make an episode of a home-grown drama series. So, come on Sky, why don’t you?

x10sctmp10

Brr. It’s okay Rupe, we’ll walk home.

 

TOMORROW: Not sure. Maybe BBC Four.

(Editor’s note: Yes, it should technically have been James Murdoch in those pictures, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as unsettling as Captain Jowls up there.)

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