Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell said that the Australian commercial broadcaster’s advertising sales could suffer due to fewer days of play than expected in the Test cricket series currently underway between Australia and India.
Australia has won the first three matches of the four-match series at least one day early – Test matches last up to a maximum of five days. The Daily Telegraph said Nine had lost more than 52 hours of play, including air-time for advertisers, during the current series and the previous two-match series played by the Australia team against New Zealand.
“It becomes challenging to support our advertisers’ needs,” Gyngell said. “We have to make it up to them. In an average summer, you can lose three days play. Losing six days means it’s eating into what advertisers expect us to deliver. Don’t get me wrong – we’re not whingeing. The cricket has been fantastic. The Australians have played great. I just wish they’d win over four and a half days instead of three.”
Peter Young, a spokesman for the Cricket Australia governing body, said Australia’s performances were delivering strong audiences as the organisation nears the end of its seven-year rights deal with Nine, from 2006 to 2013. “The public interest in Test cricket is extraordinarily high at the moment and the total TV audience, even with lost time, is higher than it was for the Ashes Tests [against England] in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth last year,” Young said.
Harold Mitchell, founder of Australian media agency Mitchell & Partners, played down the impact of lost advertising revenue due to the shortened matches, telling the Herald Sun: “Winning in three days is better than losing. The big advertisers are pushed into key spots in the first three days anyway. Days four and five are a bonus.”