Reports of the death of the ‘watercooler effect’ are greatly exaggerated.
The strangest thing about The Voice and My Kitchen Rules was not Delta’s shoulder
pads, Joel Madden’s hair or watching wannabe chef Dan Mulheron say with a
straight face: “I get excited anytime there’s a mention of sausage.” It was not scat
music or the use of “confit” as a verb (as in “I had better start confitting that duck”).
Nor Ben Lee telling a singer to “get freaky in your own planet”. No, the strangest
thing is that we were watching at all, in such numbers.
Last Sunday night, an estimated 2.95 million people tuned in to see the MKR winner
crowned on Channel Seven, while 1.97 million watched musical battles on Nine’s The
Voice. It was the biggest night of television viewing this year.
Not so long ago, some pundits predicted the rise of digital TV and on-demand
devices would supplant such mass viewing events. The TV audience would fragment
via a multitude of channels and technologies. And yet, last Sunday night just under 5
million homes were tuned in to one of two commercial channels – which equates to
roughly half the households in Australia. Many viewers chatted about what they were
watching in real time via social media and the next day with friends and colleagues. Continue reading How TV turned itself into a big event