The Winners: Seven’s prime time Olympic Games coverage averaged 2.089 million on top, Seven News was second with 1.974 million and Today Tonight was third with 1.860 million. Nine News was 4th with 1.152 million and A Current Affair was next with 1.142 million. The 7pm ABC news averaged 1.128 million with Seven’s 5pm to 6pm coverage averaging 1.040 million. Ten’s repeat of NCIS at 8.30pm averaged 1.009 million in 8th and the ABC’s episode of Grumpy Old Women at 8pm averaged 1.005 million. The success of the last two programs does show there is a large group of people who will watch real alternatives to the Games. Grand Designs on the ABC at 8.30pm averaged 923,000 with a somewhat pursed lipped Kevin McCloud prattling on about a Bristol home building project. The program’s audience was unchanged from previous weeks, a sure sign that good stories can win viewers. Seven’s late night Olympic programming averaged 993,000.

The Losers: Again, no one, not even Seven, as the games audience continues to hold up as we’d might have expected some second week fatigue appearing.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market as did Today Tonight. The ABC 7pm News beat Nine News in Sydney. Nine was second in Melbourne. The 7.30 Report averaged 914,000, Lateline, 205,000, Lateline Business, 131,000. Ten News averaged 816,000, the late News/Sports Tonight, 409,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 228,000. 7am Sunrise 445,000, 7am Today, 299,000.

The Stats: Seven won with a still solid 44.9% share (unchanged from last Tuesday prime time) from Ten in second with 18.3% (18.0%), the Nine Network with 17.5% (18.1%), the ABC with 15.1% (14.0%) and SBS with 4.2% (5.1%). Sydney and Melbourne tied with Seven’s share in both at 46.5%, the highest on the night. Seven of course leads the week. In regional areas a drop off for the second night in a row with Prime/7Qld down to a 37.3% share, with Southern Cross second with 22.4% for Ten; NBN/WIN for Nine, third with 20.5%; the ABC on 15.2% and SBS on 4.6%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The prime time audience for Seven’s Olympics coverage from 7pm was still over two million on average, which isn’t bad given the drop away in Australian performances as the athletics and other sports where we don’t do well come to the fore. Ten again did OK, as did the ABC, who have shown Nine on most nights how to maintain a presence in viewers’ minds as an alternative to wall to wall sport.

SBS’s audiences this week have sagged as its broadcasts of the really marginal games in handball, volleyball, soccer table tennis etc have dominated. But last night’s Nigeria-Belgium semi final in Men’s soccer was a tremendous example of attacking play at any level. Some skillful play of the highest quality, one tremendous goal hit 25 to 30 metres by a Nigerian player. Brazil once again lost a semi-final and still has yet to get an Olympic gold medal in soccer. Argentina-Nigeria will be a high quality game, better than most World Cup games you will see on TV here, except the finals.

The Australian performances were thrilling and the hurdler Sally McClellan was nearly the Stephen Bradbury of the women’s 100 metres hurdles! Anna Meares deserved every accolade for just being there after that terrible accident in January. No fairytales these games for Australian sport.

Tonight the ABC presents a decent range of alternatives as does Ten for most of its core audience. Nine goes repeats and cheap and insults its audience, which is a pity. The highlight tonight in the games will be the Men’s 200m metres final. Australia plays the US in basketball (Our “gallant Boomers” will be the headlines tomorrow). The skill of the men and women water polo players has impressed again, but why aren’t the horses allowed in the pool? And this afternoon, will we see Nicole Kidman reprise her role in BMX Bandits? And why haven’t we got skateboarding — if BMX and mountain bikes can get to the Games, why not boarders, dude? And don’t forget the sync swimming, will you? Smile and pinch your nose as you watch. It’s not as easy as it seems.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

Peter Fray

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