We reported in this column the recent TV programme on 23 April, 2006 about Rolf Harris and his painting of The Queen attracted a record nationwide TV audience of 1.28 million. This was the largest audience for this slot this year, and larger than any ABC audience for any programme in the preceding week.
e official OzTam ratings now confirm that “The Queen by Rolf” attracted the ABC’s largest audience that week. Had it been shown on a commercial channel, the ratings would have gone through the roof.
Commercial TV executives have no doubt noticed. If they haven’t, advertisers will soon be talking to them or their competitors tell them about the potential audiences and the low programme costs. So we tip that commercial TV will now be eyeing future royal events, much to the chagrin of the republicans who cannot face the magic of monarchy. As Senator Boswell found recently ( see this column on 19 September 2005), even republican politicians have been known to succumb to this.
And earlier last year, on 12 April 2005, this column reported that, against the insistent predictions of the commentariat and the republicans, an enormous nationwide TV audience had watched the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla. This was early on Sunday morning when most Australians are usually in bed or not at home.
And yet for years the Mike Carltons, the Leo Schofields – and myriad others in the commentariat – insisted that nobody was interested in our monarch or her family.
Contrast this to this year’s republican stunt, the much promoted “mate for a head of state campaign.” Most of the promoters have ready access to the media, and they used that. This ensured a nationwide media blitz – more general than any ABC promotion of “The Queen by Rolf” and larger than the promotion of any republican stunt since the referendum. Yet its centerpiece, the sausage sizzle on a packed Bondi Beach on the Sunday before Australia Day only managed to attract about 50 people, while Australians queued to buy their sausages at the North Bondi Surf Club. Even poorer attendances were reported from Brisbane, Armidale and other republican sizzle venues.
As Malcolm Turnbull famously lamented in his diary four months before the referendum, “nobody’s interested.”