Victory to the Seven Network in week six of ratings, which gave the network a win in the first period of the 2005 ratings battle, four weeks to one over Nine with one tie.

Last week was perhaps the best for Seven so far, with four out of the five major capital city markets. Seven won nationally with a 30.0% share to 28.4% for Nine, 20.2% for Ten, 17.1% for the ABC and SBS with 4.3%.

Seven won the two major markets, Sydney, 30.7% to 28.1% and Melbourne narrowly, 29.8% to Nine on 29.2%. That meant Nine lost its east coast markets, despite a win in Brisbane. They are the stations that matter to Nine, being all company-owned. Nine lost the affiliate-owned markets in Perth and Adelaide.

Seven won the News battle at 6pm across the country for the first time in ages while Nine’s losses in the 6.30pm current affairs slot worsened with ACA falling to 47th most watched show, 35 positions behind Seven’s Today Tonight which was 12th and 340,000 viewers in front.

Nine’s best performer was 60 Minutes, one of its worst is A Current Affair, which are both overseen by the same executive producer in John Westacott.

But the news is not just bad for Nine. The Ten Network won’t take much joy from the first six weeks of official ratings. Failing or failed programs, dropping audiences and a very tight battle to retain its dominance over the 16 to 39 age group where Nine and Seven are proving to be more competitive.

Seven had the top three, Desperate Housewives, Dancing with the Stars and Lost. Nine had the next seven programs in the top ten, but still lost.

Sunday night in the first night of the two week ‘non official’ ratings period Nine (27.6%) won from Ten (24.3%) and Seven (24.2%) with the ABC on a high 19.8% and SBS on 4.2%. Highlight of the nights was the top ranking to Nine News and then 60 Minutes and the rise in the X-Factor audience to 1.052 million, with the first live night of performance. That will give Ten considerable heart.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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