Election coverage was the big winner this weekend, as viewers turned away from expensive programming mistakes on the commercial networks.
Last night three high-profile examples of fictional TV were on our TV screens. They were: The Bachelor on Ten, Power Games: The Packer Murdoch Story on Nine and The Time of Our Lives (which ended on ABC1, unfortunately). The Bachelor stuck so rigidly to the US format that all life was strangled out of it. Power Games was another Nine Underbelly/Paper Giants version of history. With James Packer still alive, as well as Rupert Murdoch and his wives, does anyone seriously think that Power Games would give us the real story of the at times fraught relationship between the two families? Howzat, was 2012’s paen of praise for the genius of Kerry Packer. Power Games is merely more of the same and done just as poorly. The Time of Our Lives was the most original of the trio, well written and acted. The real story of Power Games is that for all his faults and oddities as he has aged, Rupert Murdoch is the winner — he is a better, more aggressive and intuitive businessman than any of the Packers, from Frank onwards, although RC Packer was pretty smart from all accounts.
So what do you a double flop of premieres on different networks on the same night? A flopperoo-roo or double dud? In the case of The Bachelor (897,000 national/669,000 metro/ 210,000 regional viewers), it was divine ratings justice for what was TV pap of the lowest kind. It was a turkey (from the production line of turkeys at Ten). In the case of the Nine Network’s Power Games: The Packer Murdoch Story, it was a cleaned up, but poor version of history that interested just two families — the Packers and the Murdochs, and not the audience. And Nine paid the price as it averaged (1.084 million national/ 793,000 metro/ 291,000 regional viewers). The Time of Our Lives averaged 982,000 national/ 660,000 metro/ 322,000 regional viewers. It is the only program of the three we are better for the watching. It had more viewers than The Bachelor and outrated Power Games in regional markets. Seven won the night, easily as a result. The fabulous Richmond v Carlton elimination AFL final may have helped in AFL markets, but The X Factor’s Live Performance mopped up the audience with 2.352 million/ 1.556 million metro/ 796,000 regional viewers. Ten was strongest in Sydney and Melbourne, but viewers in Bri bane, and especially Adelaide and Perth hated The Bachelor.
In the morning, Insiders on ABC1 (618,000 national viewers on ABC1 and News24) dominated the coverage with its 90 minute post-election special. The Bolt Report on Ten didn’t get any benefit from the election. In fact Insiders News 24 audience of 205,000 exceeded the national audience of Bolt (192,000, which didn’t shift from the previous week’s figure).Ten’s Meet The Press did with 198,000 for the repeat and 183,000 for the first broadcast at 10.30am. The Bolt Report repeat averaged 176,000. Financial Review Sunday nudged a few thousand higher for Nine to average 277,000. Looking at Insiders and Bolt, the reason for the domination was easy to see. On one we had dispassionate discussion, on the other triumphalism. Viewers like the former, ideologues the latter.
Seven won last week in metro and regional markets. And Seven announced this morning that its new game show, Million Dollar Minute (as forecast in Crikey two weeks ago) starts next Monday at 5.30pm with Deal Or No Deal oving to 4pm and the 4pm news cut to an hour from 90 minutes. If it boost the 6pm news (overtime), then the move will be successful. Minute is a Seven created format.
Saturday night: More people watched the election coverage on Seven, Nine, Ten the ABC and SBS than watched the weekend sport. A total of 3.5 million watched the coverage. The ABC was tops with 1.452 million people watching across the country on ABC1 and News24 (which had its highest national audience of 468,000). 932,000 watched Nine nationally; 634,000 watched the ABC; 426,000 watched Ten (fewer than on News24) and 59,000 watched SBS’s coverage which started at 9.30pm when all the shouting was over. Sky News’ coverage topped out at 96,000 for one of the hours. It was easily beaten by the NRL and AFL on Fox Sports.
To give the national total some context, it’s more than watched the Grand Finals this year of Ten’s MasterChef,Nine’s The Voice and currently watching The X Factor on Seven and Australia’s Got Talent on Nine. The ABC’s combined national audience was slightly higher than for the 2010 poll which averaged 1.4 million. But ABC1’s audience five city metro audience fell to 631,000 from 1.003 million in 2010. News24 ’s metro audience jumped from 39,000 in 2010 to 338,000 on Saturday night. A total of two million people watched the AFL on Saturday afternoon and night on Seven, as well as the Rugby Union test on Ten after its election coverage.
Network channel share:
Network main channels:
ABC 1 (11.5%)
SBS ONE (3.9%)
Top 5 digital channels:
Top 10 national programs:
The X Factor - Live Performance (Seven) — 2.352 million
Seven News — 2.310 million
Nine News — 1.970 million
Australia’s Got Talent (Nine) — 1.689 million
Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.682 million
60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.574 million
ABC News/7.30 — 1.216 million
Grand Designs repeat (ABC 1) — 1.109 million
Power Games: The Packer Murdoch Story (Nine) — 1.084 million
AFL Elimination Final (Seven) — 1.027 million
Top metro programs:
Seven News — 1.584 million
The X Factor - Live Performance (Seven) — 1.556 million
Nine News — 1.339 million
Australia’s Got Talent (Nine) — 1.113 million
Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.081 million
60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.072 million
Losers: The Bachelor (and it’s on tonight, so Ten’s self-inflicted pain will continue) …Metro news and current affairs: