Everyone says James Murdoch stepped down as BSkyB chairman because of phone-hacking. But his resignation also came suspiciously close on the heels of the Mad Men series premiere on Sky Atlantic. When the first episode of Mad Men's fourth series was broadcast on BBC4 in 2010, it was watched by an average audience of 355,000, rising to 1.5m with the BBC2 repeat. The recent double-bill debut of series five – its first since being poached by Sky – got just 72,000. When the next episode aired on Tuesday, viewer figures fell to 47,000.
Sky reportedly spent about £250,000 per episode to acquire Mad Men – that's more than £5 per viewer at present. A huge ad campaign was mounted to herald the show's return, and newspapers responded with acres of Mad Men-themed copy. Fair enough, you might say: the show has won 15 Golden Globes and four Emmys, after all. In the US, the Times Square billboards had the desired effect: 3.5m tuned in for the premiere, its highest stateside ratings to date. But over there, Mad Men is still on its original channel, AMC.
As Murdoch Jr will know from the Times paywall, people tend not to like forking out for things they're accustomed to getting for free. A DVD boxset costs somewhat less than a Sky subscription. And those who are so inclined can steal the show from the internet – a quick browse of some better-known download sites reveals a vigorous illicit exchange of Mad Men episodes. It's possible that a show about morally dubious 1960s ad-men appeals to people who consider themselves immune to major ad campaigns. Perhaps the sceptics would rather miss Mad Men than give Sky the satisfaction of signing them up.
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Arron Banks: Millionaire Tory donor defects to Ukip with £100,000 donation
Conservative Party conference: David Cameron promises tax cuts and new 'British bill of rights'
35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
David Cameron to 'scrap' Human Rights Act for new 'British Bill of Rights'
Missing Yusra Hussien: Family urge schoolgirl thought to be heading to Syria to return home
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...