The Winners: Seven’s 8pm The Force was the most watched program with 1.519 million. Seven’s Border Security at 7.30pm averaged 1.421 million and its 8.30pm program, Bones, averaged 1.366 million. Seven News was next in 4th with 1.327 million and Sunday Night averaged 1.183 million in 5th. That meant Seven won from 6pm through to 9.30pm. Nine News was 6th with 1.039 million, and that was that. Castle on Seven averaged 950,000 from 9.30pm and won the slot and therefore extended Seven’s win to all of prime time. Rove averaged 748,000 at 9.30pm for Ten. Nine’s 20 to 1 at 6.30pm averaged 913,000.

The Losers: 60 Minutes because it should be averaging more than a million viewers each Sunday night at 7.30pm, given the money and talent devoted to the program. The 964,000 who watched last night was just too low. Australian Idol on Ten from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, 942,000, not enough as well given the resources invested in it. Wuthering Heights at 8.30pm on the ABC; 700,000. Nine’s movie, The Conspiracy, at 8.30pm, 647,000. Electric Dreams at 6.30pm on Ten, 592,000. Just not good enough again. The Einstein Factor at 6.30pm to 7pm on the ABC had more viewers with 630,000.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market. Sydney was closer, 249,000 for Seven, 241,000 for Nine. The 7pm ABC News averaged 244,000 in Sydney, so finished second. It was such a beautiful evening last night in Sydney it’s a wonder anyone was watching. The 7pm ABC News averaged 932,000 nationally, Ten News averaged 726,000 and SBS News at 6.30pm averaged 134,000. Dateline at 8.30pm, 209,000. In the morning, Weekend Sunrise on Seven from 8am, 315,000, Landline at Noon on the ABC, 255,000; Today on Sunday on Nine in the same slot, 241,000, Insiders at 9am on the ABC a strong 233,000; Inside Business at 10am, 167,000, Offsiders straight after at 10.30am, 153,000. Meet The Press on Ten at 8am, 42,000.

The Stats: Seven won on the combined and main channel basis last night in All people 6pm to Midnight. Nine’s GO won the digital battle. Seven had a total share of 31.8% (27.4% a week ago), from Nine win 26.4% (29.4%), Ten with 21.2% (22.0%), the ABC with 14.8% (15.0%) and SBS with 5.8% (6.1%). Seven won all five metro markets.

In regional areas, Prime/7Qld won with 30.1%, from WIN/NBN with 27.3%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.1%, the ABC with 15.9% and SBS with 6.6%.

Digitally: Nine’s GO won with 4.20% (leaving the main channel on 22.20%), with Ten’s ONE next with 2.10% (Ten’s main channel with 22.30%); Seven’s 7TWO with 1.80% (Seven’s main channel with 30.10%), ABC 2 with 0.40%, ABC 1 with 14.30%, SBS TWO with 0.30% and SBS ONE with 5.50%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven won last week, the last week of it being without a separate digital channel. Nine News and A Current Affair were weak again on Friday, Nine News on Saturday, especially in Sydney. ACA won Melbourne on Friday. In both cities daylight savings is continuing to make a mess of early evening viewing. The Today/Sunrise clash was back to being a bit closer in the morning.

Pay TV lost more prime time audience last week. According to figures from Fusion Strategy, Pay TV had a 10% drop in its prime time 6 pm to 10.30 pm audience in the 16 to 54 age groups (the most important demographics). The week before it was down 15% (all from the same weeks in 2008).

Seven won last night clearly on a combined basis and on a main channel comparison. Nine’s GO won the digital battle. With 7TWO starting, last night the digital channels had a total of 8.80% share of the FTA audience in the five main metro markets. Looking at the figures, no sign of Seven cannibalising its main channel audience: the 30.10% for its main channel share last night was a recent high for a Sunday night. In the end it wasn’t a contest, Nine should, on paper, done better. It was however let down by the movie. Ten was also weak as the 6.30 pm program faded and didn’t help Idol, which didn’t help Rove at 9.30 pm

7TWO averaged 65,000 viewers for its first prime time, behind GO and ONE (Ten).

The pressure will now be on for Nine and Seven to find a reason to start their third digital channels next year. Sport looms as the best option (just as some sort of entertainment label for Ten’s third channel). The only way that will happen if the FTA Networks, Pay TV and the Federal Government come to some sort of deal on the anti-siphoning rules.

TONIGHT: Top Gear on SBS at 7.30pm. Four Corners/Media Watch on the ABC, perhaps Australian Story. The Mentalist on Nine and Good News Week on Ten, both at 8.30pm. FlashFoward on Seven, also at 8.30pm. Perhaps Criminal Minds at 9.30pm, also on Seven. Jamie Oliver’s American Road Trip on Ten at 7.30pm, perhaps as well.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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