Ja’mie’s (ratings) Box Gap

So someone kindly forwarded us this from the ABC PR department:


 Australian viewers have proven that their love for Ja’mie King – the bitchiest private school girl to ever grace our screens – extends beyond just TV, with the show smashing online viewing records too.

Ja’mie: Private School Girl has registered more than 810,000 plays for Episodes 1, 2 and 3 of the show on ABC TV’s catch-up viewing platform iview.

 The six-part series, which first premiered on Wednesday October 23, has broken all existing viewing records for iview – making it the biggest show on the platform since its launch in 2008.

 The previous most-watched program in one day was the premiere of Doctor Who Series 7 with 76,000 views – this record was smashed by Ja’mie with 216,000 plays in one day.

Ja’mie: Private School Girl continues every Wednesday at 9pm on ABC1 or you can catch-up on iview shortly after.

Notice anything missing? Oh right, the actual ratings figures, which are as follows:

Week one we had this:

Ja’mie: Private School Girl, the highly-anticipated follow-up to Lilley’s comedy hit Summer Heights High, drew a capital city TV audience of 925,000 viewers last night.

At first glance the number seems soft – it falls below the all-important one million viewer waterline that is used to measure commercial success.

We’ll cut it off there, but follow the link and read the whole thing – it’s a handy collection of all the excuses Lilley’s supporters make for the increasingly soft ratings he’s been pulling in since Angry Boys turned out to be, well, not so good. Or popular.

Week two saw a minor dip:

JA’MIE: PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL-EV Network ABC1 880,000    277,000 299,000 131,000 79,000 94,000

Which was to be expected, but losing 45,000 viewers was nothing for the ABC to worry about. Then came week three:

Ja’mie: Private School Girl (17th – 592,000)

And now they’re starting to sweat. Losing over 300,000 viewers in three weeks? That’s a repeat of his Angry Boys performance. So you’d be guessing the ABC would be crossing their fingers extremely tightly hoping that result was a one week blip. Cue week four:

 JA’MIE: PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL-EV Network ABC1 575,000    199,000 191,000 87,000 55,000 43,000

Oops. Guess breaking that million viewer mark is out of the question, hey? And suddenly the reason why the ABC is shouting loud and proud about Ja’mie‘s “quichest” ratings on iView becomes clear. Just like it did back when they pulled the exact same stunt during Angry Boys.

What we seem to be seeing here is a structural problem. Chris Lilley still has an awful lot of goodwill out there in the community from his Summer Heights High days, but it only takes a couple episodes of his newer work before people realise it’s not to their taste. We’ll leave why this might be to other posts: for now it’s starting to look like the ABC might be steering future Chris Lilley projects to a “one-off special event” format…


*update* It’s been pointed out to us that the big drop in Ja’mie‘s ratings may have something to do with having Gruen as a lead-in during those first two weeks. Which does seem to suggest that the market for Ja’mie is even weaker than we first suspected…

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  • urinal cake says:

    I’d say you’d have to wait to see how it does on HBO before we can make judgments on the future career of Lilley because from what I gather it was because of PIVOT TV Thomas got a second series of PLM.

  • BIlly C says:

    ” it’s starting to look like the ABC might be steering future Chris Lilley projects to a “one-off special event” format…”

    That may become apparent sooner than you think…. ooh cryptic…

  • Tristan says:

    If I click play in iview, then get bored/annoyed with the show and quit, but then come back later and watch the rest, does that count as one play or two?

  • Yeps says:

    I think it counts as masochism.

  • urinal cake says:

    So the last episode will get moved then.

    Considering how little actually happens during a normal series I’m not sure what a shorter format will do for Lilley.

  • Billy C says:

    Who knows? The iview stats are impressive but as far as I’m aware they are internally produced and not audited. I’m sure they wouldn’t lie about them but without some sort of context and specific episode figures it’s hard to tell if the show launched well and then faded or has been consistent on the platform. It is disingenuous to only release the figures as a ratings smokescreen. It’s very unsophisticated publicity. The audience couldn’t care less about the ratings, theses releases are for industry and press and the industry can see right through them.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Well, they hadn’t decided to move up or group together any episodes as of earlier this week. The DVD’s still scheduled for release the day after the final episode too.

  • urinal cake says:

    Well changing the broadcast schedule for a television program is much easier than moving the release date of a DVD due to the supply chain.

    I guess this press release might’ve been to prematurely save face for the ABC and Liley so that they can further say, ‘Look it doesn’t matter if we change the broadcast time because these kids today use the Internet anyway’.

  • BIlly C says:

    “future projects”

  • BIlly C says:

    Also the ABC are selling the DVD at a discount already.


    $19.99 and full $10 off retail.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    At this stage it’s hard to see why you’d give Lilley more than a one hour special ever again. He’s clearly not interested in telling a story, and most of his jokes (or “jokes”) are just repeated endlessly across the course of a season. The series idea worked for Summer Heights High because it was about three people in the one location, but Angry Boys should have been a six part series focusing on one character per episode and Ja’mie should have been an hour special.

    There’s no denying Lilley has talent, but knowing where to draw the line has never been his strong suit.