The Winners: That there were only three programs with a million or more viewers and that they aired between 6pm and 7pm (even with daylight saving) tell us just how bad the night was on Free To Air and all TV last night. Dire, bad, rotten. You name it.

The Games audiences were better for Ten, but still lower what they should be. Ten’s late (9pm to 11pm) session of the Commonwealth Games on Ten got more viewers on the main channel than the night (804,000 vs. 798,000) before. One’s audience late last night of 326,000 was up on the night before (296,000). That left the total late audience at 1.13 million against 1.094 million the night before. T

The early (6pm to 9pm) audience last night on the main channel was 608,000, up on the night before (554,000.). The early ONE audience last night of 267,000 was up on the 185,000 of Wednesday night. So the early audience last night was 875,000 in total, against 739,000 on Wednesday night. Foxtel isn’t disclosing its figures for its Games channels.

  1. Seven News (6pm) — 1.263 million
  2. Today Tonight (Seven) (6.30pm) — 1.207 million
  3. Nine News (6pm) — 1.071 million

The Losers: Anyone who wanted to watch TV last night. Just poor to appalling.

News & CA: A low night. ACA finished under a million for the second night in a row. Nine news trounced Seven News in Sydney, 350,000 to just 298,000. ACA beat TT in Sydney, 315,000 to 300,000. Poor figures. In Melbourne, it was reversed with Seven News and TT giving Nine News and ACA a good whacking. Seven News and TT also won easily in Brisbane. Today crept back over 300,000 in the morning for the first time this week.

  1. Seven News (6pm) — 1.263 million
  2. Today Tonight (Seven) (6.30pm) — 1.207 million
  3. Nine News (6pm) — 1.071 million
  4. A Current Affair (Nine) (6.30pm) –989,000
  5. ABC News (7pm)– 950,000
  6. Ten News (5pm) — 764,000
  7. The 7.30 Report (ABC) (7.30pm) — 737,000
  8. Lateline (ABC) (10.25pm) — 210,000
  9. SBS (6.30pm) — 152,000
  10. SBS (9.30pm) — 134,000
  11. Lateline Business (ABC) (11pm) — 84,000

In the morning:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) (7am) — 363,000
  2. Today (Nine) (7am) — 306,000

The Stats:

  • FTA: Nine won with a share of 27.4%, from Ten on 27.1%, Seven was third with 26.2%, the ABC was on 12.9% and SBS was on 6.3%. Seven leads the week with 28.9% from Nine on 27.6% and Ten with 22.5%.
  • Main Channel: Seven won with a share of 20.2%, from Ten on 19.2%, Nine was third with 18.6%, ABC 1 was on 10.4% and SBS ONE finished with 5.3%. Seven leads the week with 23.4%, from Nine on 21.3% and Ten with 17.8%.
  • Digital: The nine FTA digitals had a collective share of 26.3% last night, their highest ever. One in four people watching FTA TV last night was watching a digital channel. The shares ranged from 23.2% in Sydney to a high of more than 30% in Perth. ONE won the night with its games coverage which gave it a share of 7.9% (its highest ever prime time figures, while its day time figures were the best ever), from GO on 7.4%, 7TWO on 3.2%, 7Mate on 2.9%, Gem and ABC 2 on 1.4% each, SBS TWO on 1.0%, ABC 3 on 0.6% and News 24 on 0.5%. ONE and GO lead the week on 4.7%, from 7Mate on 2.9% and 7TWO on 2.6%.
  • Pay TV: Nine won with a share of 21.8%, Ten on 21.6%, Seven with 20.9%, Pay TV’s 100 plus channels on 17.8%, the ABC on 10.3% and SBS on 5.0%. The 14 FTA channels were left with a share of 82.2%, made up of 20.8% for the FTA digital channels and a very low 61.4% for the five main channels (which is the lowest share for the main channels since the digital channels started last year. That makes the share of the 9 digitals a record. It was also more than for Pay TV (AKA Foxtel).
  • Regional: A win for WIN/NBN and Nine with a share of 31.1%, from SC Ten on 28.7%, Prime/7Qld on 24.3%, the ABC with 10.6% and SBS was on 5.3%. SC Ten won the main channels with 22.7% from WIN/NBN on 22%. GO won the digitals with a share of 7.8% from ONE on 6.1%. the Nine FTA digital channels had a total share in regional areas of 24.1%. WIN/NBN lead the week on 30.9% from Prime/7Qld with 27.7%.

Major Markets: All the action was in each of the metro markets and in the bush in the digitals. Foxtel and the games were strongest in Sydney, and to a lesser extent in Brisbane, although the ONE coverage did very well nationally. The FTA digital channels total shares out pointed Foxtel in every market in a convincing fashion. That’s due not only to what was on, but the greater penetration of FTA digital channels in every market compared with Foxtel. The games do not seem to have taken root in Melbourne which, as we know, is the sport capital of Australia, or are they just choosy?

  • Sydney: Ten won from Nine and Seven overall, but in the main channels it was Ten from Seven and Nine. ONE won the digitals from GO and 7Mate. Foxtel’s total share of 20.8% was second behind Ten in market. But the nine FTA digital channels beat it with a total share of 23.2%. Nine leads the week from Seven and Ten.
  • Melbourne: Nine won from Seven and Ten in Melbourne overall and in the main channels. GO won the digitals from ONE and 7TWO. The FTA digital channels had a total share of 28.7%, Foxtel and its 100-plus channels, 16.6%. Seven leads the week from Nine and Ten.
  • Brisbane: Ten won from Nine and Seven overall, while in the main channels it was Ten from Seven and Nine. ONE won the digitals from GO and 7Mate. The FTA digital channels had a total share of 26.1%, with Foxtel’s total share on 18.2%. Seven leads Brisbane from Nine and Ten.
  • Adelaide: It was Seven from Ten and Nine here overall and in the main channels, ONE won the digitals from GO and 7TWO. The FTA digital channels had a total share of 28.2% with Foxtel on a total share of 11.9%. Seven leads the week from Nine and Ten.
  • Perth: Seven won overall from Nine and Ten and in the main channels, it won from Ten and Nine. GO won the digitals from ONE and 7Mate. The FTA digital channels had a total share of 30.7%, with Foxtel’s channels on a collective 17.6%. Seven won the week from Nine and Ten.

(All shares on the basis of combined overnight 6pm to midnight All People)

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The audiences and shares for the FTA digital channels were the highest ever (because of two extra channels in 7Mate and Gem, and the Commonwealth Games on ONE). These channels drew far more viewers than Foxtel did with its 100 plus offerings, even though based on the share figures, the games channels of Foxtel are drawing viewers.

ONE’s success is giving us a hint of what could happen if the sport anti-siphoning rules are relaxed and the FTA networks are allowed to show non-simulcast high interest mainstream sport (such as cricket, the NRL, AFL, perhaps soccer) on their digital channels. Fox Sports/Foxtel would be crippled, audiences would bleed away and subscriptions fall as churn rises. But with Kerry Stokes with a foot in all camps of the media, but especially FTA TV and Pay TV, do we really think the commercial FTA channels will have unfettered freedom to show all the sport they could on their digital channels?

TONIGHT: Well, the Games on Ten and One and Foxtel. Better Homes and Gardens on Seven. Nothing of interest on Nine. The ABC has Waking the Dead.

SATURDAY: More Games on Ten during the day and night and on Foxtel. Rejoice. A fresh New Tricks, ABC at 7.30pm, or so the guide says. Nine and Seven: abysmal, lightweight forgettable movies. SBS has Monster Moves at 7.30pm and Iron Chef. Surely having Hey Hey it’s Saturday back next Saturday night will improve the night?

SUNDAY: Morning chats from 8am. Games during the day and night on Ten and Foxtel. 60 Minutes on Nine at 7.30pm. Sunday Night on Seven at 6.30pm. Dateline on SBS at 8.30pm. Compass on the ABC at 10.15pm attempts to explain Mary MacKillop and why she is being made a saint. It looks interesting, but ultimately irrelevant and all down to a bunch of blokes in Rome.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

Peter Fray

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