Keshet leads the way two months after TV merger

Competitor Reshet marks small wins, as both networks plan ahead for 2019.

By
March 22, 2019 17:35
3 minute read.
A promo for Keshet's Eretz Nehederet election season

A promo for Keshet's Eretz Nehederet election season. (photo credit: MOSHE NACHOMOVITCH)

 
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And then there were two.

It has been just over two months since Israel returned to the status quo that existed in its television industry for 17 years: two commercial TV networks.

After a yearlong and ultimately failed experiment, Reshet and Channel Ten merged in January to create Reshet 13, pitting a united front against Keshet 12. And two months after the merger was implemented, Keshet – which shared Channel 2 with Reshet until 2017 – is ready to declare victory.

In figures provided to The Jerusalem Post this week, Keshet proclaimed that it “is leading in all parameters,” including morning shows, early evening, news broadcasts and its late-night programming. Keshet said its prime-time slate – a mix of reality, documentary and comedy shows – garners an average of 16.4% of the viewing public, compared to an average of 10.6% for Reshet.

While the numbers don’t lie, Reshet was quick to point out that during the morning hours, its programs receive higher viewing numbers, even if the percentage share is lower. That’s because while more households might be watching Keshet, more families are watching Reshet together in the morning, giving it more overall viewers.

An industry insider also told the Post that Reshet is meeting its most crucial goal: economic stability. The merger, the insider said, was one born of financial necessity, as both Reshet and Channel Ten were struggling. Since the merger, the source said, Reshet has been able to stabilize and turn a profit, which was its most pressing immediate need.

A spokeswoman for Reshet said it has achieved a 40% market share in TV advertising, a figure it is satisfied with.

“We’re meeting the goals we set for ourselves,” a Reshet spokeswoman said Thursday, “and even surpassing them.”

But the merger has undeniably been good news for Keshet.

Keshet said this week that the concentrated competition has helped to boost its ratings overall. The network said its 2018 primetime average was 12% of viewers, and that figure has jumped more than 4 percentage points since the merger in January.


“The data speaks for itself, we have a very clear lead in primetime as well as in the news and all the programming slates,” a Keshet spokeswoman said Wednesday. “For us, we’re in an excellent situation. There’s always room for improvement generally, but we’re very happy.”

Reshet, meanwhile, pointed out that its primetime shows register a 31% jump in viewers from its evening news program, while Keshet’s primetime offerings net an average 8% gain over the nightly news.

Keshet 12’s nightly news program – which was airing on both 12 and 13 simultaneously until the merger – handily beats out its competitors on Reshet and KAN most nights. The Channel 12 news receives an average rating of more than 18% of households, compared to around 10% for Channel 13.

One dark spot for Keshet has been the relatively disappointing figures for 2025, the network’s new original reality show which premiered last month. Though it began with four episodes a week, it dropped first to three times a week, and now is slated to air twice a week for the foreseeable future.

Keshet noted that 2025 has been the most watched show on the nights it aired 13 out of 15 times, regularly beating reality shows Celebrity Big Brother and Kitchen Nightmares. But the show hasn’t topped a 15% rating since its second week on air, and Keshet’s other programming has regularly proven more popular. An episode of the new season of Married at First Sight on Monday topped 20%, and on Wednesday Eretz Nehederet received 17.9%.

Both networks, meanwhile, are planning a busy upcoming slate of new shows and returning favorites for the year ahead.

Reshet 13 just began airing a new season of Celebrity Survivor, and is planning to broadcast new seasons of Amazing Race and The Voice, as well as the return of Nevsu, the comedy which earned an International Emmy win last year.

And over on Keshet 12, the network just began its second season of Married at First Sight and will soon air new seasons of Israeli Ninja Warrior and Master Chef, and is working on a new drama later this year titled The Grave, from the creator of the popular When Heroes Fly.

Israelis will undoubtedly be tuning in – but to which network?

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