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AFL-NRL-Pay TV-FTA-watch

It’s the first AFL round of the year and this time the media’s fancy turned to comparing the audience numbers for Seven’s FTA coverage and the Pay TV coverage.

For the first time ever Seven and Foxtel/Austar will be broadcasting every AFL game this season (except the Grand Final) at the same time, whether it’s on Fox Footy on Pay TV or on Seven’s main channel or 7mate, as allowed now under the new contract and anti-siphoning laws.

And contrary to reports this morning, the national TV audience for both broadcasts was an impressive 1.148 million, which will please the AFL. A total of 897,000 watched the FTA coverage on Seven in the metro markets and its affiliates in the regions (7Qld and Prime).

A further 251,000 watched the coverage on pay TV across the country (196,000 in the five metro markets). That was a reasonable outcome for Pay TV. The game was the third most watched program on Pay TV last week, ranking after the 290,000 who watched the Rugby League game between Cronulla and Many last Monday night and the 283,000 who watched St George account for Manly on Saturday night.

By way of comparison, the Friday night Rugby League game between Penrith and a woeful Parramatta (7.30 on in Sydney) totaled 1.116 million shown in Sydney, Brisbane and the regional markets. The later game between Brisbane and Souths Sydney from Perth averaged another 673,000 viewers.

So the combined Rugby League audience on Friday night on Nine was a massive 1.789 million, easily out distancing the AFL game the following night. But Sydney and GWS are not big drawing clubs. 

2
  • 1
    Paulson Andrew
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why there is this propensity to combine ratings for NRL games, unless the objective is to misinform. The way you present that data suggests that there were 1.789 million different individuals that watched rugby league on Friday, but this is not the case at all. Not even close.

    The NRL shows two games back to back, it’s effectively one program. It is not credible to claim that all the people watching the second game are distinct from those watching the first game. By adding together the ratings, you’re counting the same people twice. Counting them separately is as meaningful as splitting the AFL game in half and adding together the average of both halves, suddenly out of nowhere the AFL has an extra million viewers.

    A fairer and much more realistic comparison would either create an average from the two games or use the higher rating game. The highest rating NRL game on Friday achieved just 647,000 viewers in the metro market, that’s 250,000 viewers less than the AFL game in a lower rating slot on the following day, and over 1,000,000 less than the fictional number you’ve provided.

  • 2
    eric
    Posted Wednesday, 28 March 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    The AFL will always outrate the RL even moreso now that every game is on live Foxtel.

    RL has a long history of boosting its crowd and ratings figures.

    Just wait and see the figures for the weekends AFL matches both crowds and TV ratings - the NRL will be left in the AFLs dust.

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