The Block is back, but ratings are down substantially from last year amid complaints the show has become "one big ad". One viewer who took issue with the show's incessant product placements voiced his irritation on social media.
"How is this show popular, when it's essentially a prime-time advertising platform?" he asked, breaking down his gripes in a series of dot points that drew a strong response from current and former Block fans.
Chief among the viewers' complaints was the intensity of Disney's sponsorship of the first episode.
"How do people watch a TV show that's essentially one huge ad... only to watch probably 20 mins of ads between the show?" he vented, admitting he hadn't seen much Aussie television recently. "Is the rest of Australian TV like this? Watching this felt genuinely bizarre."
The post drew a chorus of agreement from fellow Reddit users. "It used to be much better but now the sponsors rule," wrote one former fan. "It's too far gone to even be a guilty pleasure," echoed another.
Another viewer declared the amount of product placement in the show is nothing new, commenting, "The Block is, and always has been, one long advert. That's what it's for," while someone else added, "It's quite embarrassing and shamelessly plugs anything."
Just 722,000 metro viewers tuned in for the first episode of season 19 last Sunday night. A decent result — enough to be the third most watched show on Australian TV for the evening — but a 16% slide on last year and a far cry from the million-plus audiences of the show's glory days.
Indeed, a quick look at the numbers over the years shows the program has been losing viewers pretty consistently for a while now.
The last time 3 million people watched The Block was for the finale of season 1 way back in 2003, while the last time more than 2 million people watched the show was for the finale of season 7 in 2013. And, although 1.4 million Aussies tuned in to watch the finale of season 18 last year, a premiere hasn't attracted more than a million metro viewers since season 14 in 2018.
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