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

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

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

“El Hormiguero devastates any rival,” sources from the sector assure EL MUNDO. The data confirms such a forceful 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 soccer team and World Cup champion, but also scored a 17.6 % average screen share compared to 12.1% for La 1 – adulterated by the Spanish National Team’s match against Cyprus – and 7.8% for Telecinco.

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

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

“To earn a spot in the access slot it is very important to work on the start time of the program,” say television experts. That is, the starting time with respect to El Hormiguero is essential. “Chinese Stories should start earlier every day,” they add.

Advertising is also important: when the ads appear in a program and for how long. For example, last week Cuentos Chinos only had one day to expose itself to the audience free of advertising, that is, without any stretch of advertisements. As this newspaper has been able to verify, since Tuesday it has had the largest advertising break of 10 p.m.

In his very common ‘trick’ when it comes to programming, premieres, or when you want to beat your 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 by Tierra Amarga or And now 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% for 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 Cuentos Chinos in this slot compared to September 2022, these data show that “El Hormiguero is a steamroller against which no one can do anything today,” say sources in the sector.

There is one 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 compared to previous seasons, but it also further improves its data on 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 left until the end of September, today the most famous ants program on television has already surpassed the audience set in the same month of 2022, when it had a 17% share. . That is to say, none of the attempts that have been made, and there have been few, to compete against Pablo Motos’ program have been able to beat it. Because?

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

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

El Hormiguero has only lost once: the first week after arriving at Antena 3 since Cuatro in 2011, when it could not win 18.1% of La 1. From then on, Pablo Motos has always prevailed over all his rivals .

Another reason is the symbiosis between the chain and the producer. Antena 3 trusts 7 y Acción, and 7 y Acción knows that it will always have the network. In fact, there have been many offers to snatch away Atresmedia’s crown jewel 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 we understand television at 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 his 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 of El 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.