The Winners: Seven showed a “sneak peak” of its new The Marriage Ref program with Jerry Seinfeld and it topped the night with 1.226 million people, followed by Coastwatch with 1.196 million (I didn’t realise so many Australians were interested in the NZ coast, but that’s my ignorance). Seven News was next with 1.182 million and Border Patrol on Seven at 7.30pm averaged 1.172 million. (That’s another NZ program with something of an obsession about coasts. Odd. More popular in Australia than NZ rugby games against Australia. Even odder). Nine News was 5th with 1.167 million; I Dreamed a Dream — The Susan Boyle Story, 1.131 million at 6.30pm. Bones on Seven at 8.30pm was a repeat but 1.043 million and Mighty Ships on Seven at 6.30pm averaged 1.025 million. The Test cricket averaged 754,000 over the day’s play, which ended early thanks to rain.

The Losers: Unfair question. Let’s see. Home Alone 2 on Ten, 701,000; Miss Congeniality 2 on Nine, 684,000. Two and a Half Men (a repeat) on Nine at 7.30pm, 758,000.

News & CA: Seven News won nationally but lost Sydney and Melbourne to Nine News. The 7pm ABC News averaged 710,000. Ten News averaged 658,000. SBS News at 6.30 m, 135,000. Weekend Sunrise on Seven in the morning, 303,000, Sunday Today on Nine, 202,000.

The Stats: Ratings: more information from the new measurement system this year. So in the free to air battle, Seven won with a combined share of 30.6% from Nine with 28.2%, Ten with 18.1%, the ABC with 17.5% and SBS with 5.6%.

Now, including Pay TV, the broad share figures for the 6pm to midnight prime time in the five metro markets were:

Seven with 23.8%, Nine with 21.6%, Pay TV, 19.7%, Ten with 14.1%, ABC RV with 13.6% and SBS with 4.4%. According to OzTAM, Free To Air TV had 80.3% of the audience between 11 channels, Pay TV had a 19.7% share from more than 100 channels. 80 measured, 26 lumped together in ‘other’.

Excluding Pay TV, Seven won Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Melbourne.

In regional markets, Prime/7Qld won with a combined share of 30.5%, from WIN/NBN with 27.7%, the ABC with 19.4%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 16.3% and SBS with 6.1%.

Digitally: The score was Nine’s GO with 3.5% (main channel, 24.7%), 7TWO, 3.0% (main channel), 27.5%), ABC 2 with 1.7% (ABC 3, 0.4%, ABC 1, 15.3%), Ten’s ONE with 1.2% (Ten main channel, 17.0%); SBS TWO, 0.50%, SBS ONE, 18.1%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Happy 2010. After a month on holidays away from Australian TV, it was rather dispiriting to arrive back to watch what was on offer last night. The cricket was OK during the day. But a wasteland last night.

The highlight? Sorting out the new reporting system for ratings.

Today two weeks of tennis start on Seven.

By the way, there is a TV sector that is worse than anything we can comprehend here. Try Italy and also try watching BBC World as the only English language TV available. When I eventually was able to watch Sky News from London, the difference was enormous. Sky News Australia loses nothing in comparison with either offering, or the exceedingly worthy and dull CNN, or the appalling Fox News, which I couldn’t watch for any length of time.

TONIGHT: Top Gear on SBS at 7.30pm, Man vs. Wild also on SBS after Top Gear. The 7PM Project (and The 7.30 Report on the ABC). Tennis on Seven, or if the tennis isn’t your bag, a book or an early night. Or Mother and Son on 7TWO or Frasier and Seinfeld on Go.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

Peter Fray

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