• Television Chinese stories loses to Pablo Motos and Jorge Javier Vázquez faces defeat: "Yesterday I went through roll call and you missed hundreds of thousands"

A few months ago a person very close to Mediaset and Atresmedia privately assured that trying to compete against El Hormiguero was "a real madness". However, shortly after that talk, Telecinco would do what no one had dared to do for 12 years: create a program to try to take the crown of access time, the most valuable television slot. Have you succeeded? No. The reason: "Nothing can beat ants."

Although it is too early for this statement to be irreversible for the new Telecinco program, the reality is that the data show that since it arrived at Antena 3 in the 2011/2012 season, El Hormiguero is a beast of the audiences against which whoever faces will have to lose. That is to say, that Cuentos Chinos has made an average of just over 7.5% in its first week, while El Hormiguero has done more than 17% does not mean that the choice of Mediaset has been bad, but that what is programmed against the ants of Pablo Motos its audience data will be unattainable.

You just have to do a little memory and see all the programs that have faced El Hormiguero in its history. From Eva Hache with El Club de la Comedia to La noche D, both with Dani Rovira and Eva Soriano, through Javier Cárdenas, José Corbacho, Jesús Vázquez y su Cubo or the series 4 Estrellas currently broadcast by La 1. None of these bets, which were born to try to gain a foothold in the strip of Pablo Motos could with him.


El Hormiguero devastates any rival," sources in the sector tell EL MUNDO. The data confirm such a strong sentence. In the first week of Cuentos Chinos, El Hormiguero by Pablo Motos not only broke the audience record of the season with the visit of Olga Carmona, player of the Spanish women's football team and World Cup champion, but also marked an average of 17.6% of screen share compared to 12.1% of La 1 -adulterated by the match of the Spanish National Team against Cyprus- and 7.8% of Telecinco.

That is, El Hormiguero has made five points more on average than the public chain and almost 10 points more than Telecinco. The conclusion is that neither 4 Stars nor Chinese Tales can with the ants, but they do not even come close to a screen share entrenched for 18 seasons. Even so, in the case of 4 Stars it was not born to compete but so that the access of the chain "had its own identity", explain several sources. That is, instead of leaving that strip to a filler program or to advance the prime time they wanted the series to be identified in that strip with La 1, something they have achieved in less than a year of broadcast.

The arrival of Chinese Tales that, probably, even being leaders, has made the El Hormiguero team somewhat nervous, has not even scratched audience points to the Pablo Motos program, which the previous week, the premiere of its new season, also marked a 17.4% share, while the series of La 1 made 9.7% and the access of Telecinco, still without Chinese Tales, 6.4%. This is the triumph of Jorge Javier Vázquez, despite the fact that the audience data in its first week have been decreasing -it started at 9.4% and ended at 7.4%-: the program of La Fábrica de la Tele has increased almost a point and a half the access time of Telecinco between one week and another.

What is the strength and advantage of El Hormiguero?

"To earn a place in the access strip it is very important to work on the start time of the program," say television experts. That is, the start time is essential with respect to El Hormiguero. "Chinese Tales should start earlier every day," they add.

Advertising is also important: when ads go on a show and how long. For example, last week Chinese Tales only had one day to expose itself to the audience free of advertising, that is, without any stretch of ads. As this newspaper has been able to verify, since Tuesday it has the largest advertising break of the 22 hours.

In his very usual 'trick' when programming, on premieres, or when you want to win the opponent. TardeAR, released this Monday, for example, will be ad-free throughout this week for its first 75 minutes. They are common strategies that have already been followed in their day Tierra Amarga or Y ahora Sonsoles.

However, the strength of El Hormiguero is not measured only in two weeks. If we look at the data of the program produced by 7 and Acción from January 1 to June 30, the figures are even more spectacular: on average it achieved 16.8% compared to 8.7% of La 1 and 8.6% of Telecinco. The same data as for the entire season, from September 1 to June 30.

Although Telecinco worsens with Chinese Tales in this strip with respect to September 2022, these data show that "El Hormiguero is a steamroller against which nobody can do anything today," say sources in the sector.

There is a fact that explains this statement: although El Hormiguero is in its 18th season, it does not show any signs of wear. Not only does it continue to be a leader and increase audiences with respect to previous seasons, but it also further improves its data in the commercial target, which is the currency for buying and selling advertising. This week, El Hormiguero has reached 18.8%; La 1, 12% and Telecinco, 8.9%.

In fact, although there are still two weeks before the end of September, today the program of the most famous ants on television has already exceeded the audience marked in the same month of 2022, when it made a 17% share. That is, none of the attempts that have been, and have not been few, to compete against the program of Pablo Motos has been able to with him. Why?

Why is El Hormiguero unattainable?

According to experts in television programming, El Hormiguero has a "very loyal" audience, which every night sits in front of the TV at dinner time and directly tunes into Antena 3 to see Pablo Motos, his ants and the celebrity who is going to have fun. In addition, it adds what is called "drag audience", those viewers who come from the previous program. In the case of El Hormiguero, its predecessor on the grid is the news program of Vicente Vallés, the most watched on television.

The problem is not whether El Hormiguero faces Chinese Tales, a series or the last hour of a reality, the problem is that for 12 years nothing that is programmed in access time achieves the fidelity that Pablo Motos' program has. For example, in the 2011/2012 season, the duel in the access between Antena 3 and Telecinco ended like this: 13.8% compared to 10.3%. In the 2017/2018 season, 15.5% compared to 8.2%. And so, year after year: the audiences of El Hormiguero grow while those of the others fall.

El Hormiguero has only lost once: the first week after his arrival at Antena 3 from Cuatro in 2011, when he could not with 18.1% of La 1. From there, Pablo Motos has always imposed himself on all his rivals.

Another reason is the symbiosis between chain and producer. Antena 3 trusts 7 and Acción, and 7 and Acción knows that it will always have the chain. In fact, there have been many offers to snatch Atresmedia its jewel in the crown and they have never materialized. There is a mantra that the general director of the audiovisual group, Javier Bardají, repeats in each renewal of the program: "El Hormiguero is a perfect example of the way in which we understand television in Atresmedia and its responsibility and commitment to society".

The case of El Hormiguero is very similar to that of Pasapalabra. Pablo Motos signed for Atresmedia in 2011, after Mediaset and its production company did not reach an agreement on the renewal of the contract. The Italian group, then led by Paolo Vasile, refused to increase the budget ofEl Hormiguero, so Pablo Motos and his partner, Jorge Salvador, decided to go to the competition. It was a risky move for both Motos and Antena 3, although almost 13 years later it is clear that it was the best choice for both.

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