Articles Ascolti

Soccer and TV fiction on Rai1 in season 2018-2019

by Luigi Ricci | 21.06.2019

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With the beginning of June, we decided to carry out a study on the ratings of soccer and TV fiction broadcast on Rai1 from September to May, television genres that usually enjoy the best audience performances.

The need to analyze the relation between soccer and TV shows on Rai1 in terms of programming and ratings has become necessary due to the increase of primetime soccer on television and the consequent falloff of primetime fiction evenings scheduled on Rai1.

During the past TV season (September-May), between national and international leagues, soccer matches covered 32 primetime evenings on Rai1, against 14 of the previous year: +18 (+ 78%) primetime soccer nights.

The increase in number of soccer evenings on Rai1 is due to the return in Rai of some of the Champions League matches acquired from Sky; those same games were broadcast simultaneously on pay TV sports networks. Next to the Champions League matches, 4 national matches were aired on Rai1 for the 1st Nations League tournament.

To an increase in number of the tournaments and soccer evenings, however, disappointing results have been paid both by the Italian national team, eliminated almost immediately from the Nations League (with the risk of a relegation to the minor B league), and for Italy’s top clubs that were eliminated at the final stages of the Champions League and the Italian Cup.

After the talk show “Che tempo che fa” shifted to Rai1 on Sunday evenings since 2016/17 and soccer matches on Rai1 increased in number of evenings, primetime TV fiction has lost 13 evenings in a year, totaling 83 primetime evenings during season 2018/19. Compared to the same period, in season 2016/17 primetime TV fiction on Rai1 had lost 22 evenings (-22%), yet the number of primetime TV fiction evenings aired that season were 105.

Primetime soccer events on Rai1 – Season 2018/19 (Sept/May)

Auditel Data – Elaborations Barometro

This first table shows that the 4 matches played by the Italian national team in the new Nations League accounted for the highest average ratings on Rai1 with its 33.1% (7.7M), followed by the two matches played by Italy to qualify for the 2020 UEFA European Championship accounting for 30.0% (7.3M).

Farther below at 21.9% (5.6M), are the two friendly matches of the Italian national team; the 9 primetime matches of the Coppa Italia broadcast by Rai1 over the last season with an average rating of 21.5% (5.4M); and the lowest-rated (non-exclusive) 15 Champions League matches broadcast by Rai1 at 20.2% (5.0 M).  

Overall, primetime soccer on Rai1 stands at an average 22.9% (5.6M) rating; with matches played by the Italian national team at 29.5% (7.1 M) and those of single club teams at 20.7 (5.2 M); the gap between the national team and club team matches is +8.8 percentage points (+1.9 M).

Original primetime Rai1 TV fiction – season 2016/19 (Sept/May)

Although primetime shows have dropped in number of evenings over the last season, achieving the lowest number ever of the past three years in Rai1’s primetime programming for a total of 83 evenings, against 96 of the 2017/18 season and 105 in the 2016/17 season, still it achieved the best rankings of the three-year period, leaping to an average 22.5% (5.2M), up +1.6 share points (+178K) compared to the previous season.

These Rai TV fiction figures are made even stronger by the fact that while a soccer match ends up in the network’s archives the day after, television fiction is almost always aired over again in primetime reruns on Rai Premium and frequently in access primetime on Rai1 before the news, or even in primetime on Rai1, often gaining the evening’s top ranking.

Over the last season, in fact, 13 primetime TV fiction reruns totaled 22.9% (5.1M) on Rai1, a figure similar to that achieved by the 15 evenings of the primetime Champions League matches on Rai1.

TV series, miniseries and soccer tournaments broadcast by Rai1 – Season 2018/19 (Sept/May)

The above ranking that includes average ratings above 20% share of main TV fiction (≥ 2 evenings) and soccer matches broadcast in primetime on Rai1 over the last season, shows us the overall performance of the Italian national team matches in the Nations League and the Euro 2020 tournaments – 33.1% and 30.0% respectively – which achieved hit ratings right behind the two episodes of Commissario Montalbano that accounted for 44.1%.

The two 21.9% national friendly matches, instead, fall behind the first nine Rai1 TV fictions; while club tournaments – Coppa Italia and Champions League – account for 21.5% and 20.2% respectively, ranking last together with the miniseries The Name of the Rose at 20.2%.

The variable chosen for this research was an independent % rating rather than a more general performance trend in TV ratings that occurs from September to May, with the highest ratings taking place between November and February.