HBO's comedy-drama Bored To Death premiered on Sky Atlantic on Monday at 10.15pm, but could only manage a staggeringly awful 50,600 viewers. I mean, that's just abysmal. It doesn't help that Bored To Death is now two years old (plenty of time for its natural audience to seek it out elsewhere), and it wasn't marketed very strongly, but it goes to show what kind of causal audience SkyA attracts after 10pm. I don't dare to imagine what future ratings will be like, considering Bored To Death's pilot is its worst episode and has probably ensured most of that 50k don't come back.
Is Sky Atlantic having problems because it's not the kind of channel viewers will drift to, in the hope of finding something to watch? Its schedule doesn't contain much "bubblegum TV" you can idly chew on, as the emphasis is on dramas that require your full attention, patience and commitment. Maybe SkyA is always going to struggle because of its position in the marketplace, beyond the seriously expensive HBO shows Sky will throw some marketing muscle behind (like Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Game Of Thrones.)
While I'm here, Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena remained a strong performer for Sky1, with 409,900 viewers tuning in for episode 2. That's a slight drop from the 482k who watched the premiere, but nothing to get concerned about.