The Winners: A pretty undistinguished first night of non-ratings for news. 60 Minutes probably got its lowest ever figure last night (it was a compilation “best of” episode). Nine News won Sydney and Melbourne because of the cricket lead in.

And that was that. After 6.30pm viewers tuned out or went to pay or the digital channels. The Test cricket averaged 877,000 from around 10.30am to 6pm last night, down from the 1.064 million who watched Australia’s big day on Saturday.

  1. Seven News (6pm) — 1.402 million
  2. Nine News (6pm) — 1.397 million
  3. The Enforcers (Nine) (6.30pm) — 1.084 million
  4. Border Patrol (Seven) (7.30pm) — 1.036 million
  5. CoastWatch (Seven) (8pm) –1.016 million
  6. Hot Pursuit (Nine) (7pm) — 1.013 million

The Losers: It’s unofficial summer ratings. We are all losers (including the Australian cricket team). We will see this summer that the digital channels were invented for times like this. Even if some of the programs are old and ropey, or newish and silly, they will still attract viewers away from the same old same old on the main channels, and a losing cricket team

News & CA:

  1. Seven News (6pm) — 1.402 million
  2. Nine News (6pm) — 1.397 million
  3. ABC News (7pm) — 910,000
  4. 60 Minutes (Nine) (7.30pm) — 790,000
  5. Ten News (5pm) — 535,000
  6. SBS News (6.30pm) — 196,000

In the morning:

  1. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) (8am) — 324,000
  2. Weekend Today (Nine) (8am) — 227,000
  3. Insiders (ABC) (9am) — 187,000
  4. Landline (Noon) — 145,000
  5. Offsiders (ABC) (10.30am ) — 140,000
  6. Inside Business (ABC) (10am) — 140,000

The Stats:

  • FTA: Seven with three channels won with a share of 31.1% from Nine (3), 29.9%, Ten (2) on 16.9%, the ABC, 13.4% (4) and SBS (2), 8.6%.
  • Main Channel: Seven easily with 25.2% from Nine on 21.6%, Ten with 16.2% was third, ahead of ABC 1 on 11.0% and SBS ONE on 7.7%.
  • Digital: The nine FTA digital channels had a total share of 18.5%. GO won with 5.6%, from 7TWO on 3.7%, Gem with 2.7%, 7Mate on 2.3%, ABC 2 with 1.2%, SBS TWO, 0.9%, ONE on 0.8%, News 24, 0.7% and ABC 3, 0.6%. The digital channels’ FTA shares ranged from 15.4% in Sydney to 22% in Perth and 19.6% in Melbourne.
  • Pay TV: Seven (3 channels) won with a share of 24.8%, from Nine (3) on 23.8%, Pay TV (100 plus channels), 17.6%, Ten (2) on 13.5%, the ABC (4), 10.7% and SBS (2), 6.9%. That left the 14 FTA channels to share 82.4%, with the nine digitals accounting for a total of 14.3% and the five main channels 68.1%. Foxtel’s share in Sydney was 22.2%, which meant it won the market last night. (with more than 100 channels, of course). Its low was 12.8% in Adelaide. Melbourne saw a share of a solid 16.8%.
  • Regional: WIN/NBN won with a share of 33.7% from Prime/7Qld on 28.4%, SC Ten on 16.7%, the ABC, 12.4% and SBS on 8.3%. Prime/7Qld won the main channels with 23.0% from WIN/NBN on 22.8%. GO won the digitals with 8.2%, from 7TWO on 3.1% and 7Mate on 2.8%. The nine digital channels had an FTA share in prime time of 20.5%.

Major Markets: Seven won from Nine and Ten everywhere in the main channels and overall bar Melbourne, where Nine pipped it. GO won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. 7TWO won Adelaide. Gem did well in several markets.

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

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven won the final week of official ratings overall and on the main channels. Nine’s Go won the digitals, but between them, Seven’s 7TWO and 7Mate had more viewers than Nine’s GO and Gem.

The real story from 2010 was the undoubted success of the digital channels, proving the networks were very wrong to fight against the idea for most of the past decade. The newish channels (two more, one from SBS and one from Ten, called Eleven, start in early 2011). So far, industry estimates say the six commercial channels at Nine, Ten, Seven and SBS, have snared around $150 million (maybe a bit more) in new ad revenues, much of which would have been priced out of the main channels. This is money that might have drifted to Pay TV or to radio or some newspapers, or not been spent at all.

Nearly 32% of the audience watching last night were tuned to either the nine FTA digitals or the 100 plus channels of Foxtel. in the past many of those watching the digital channels would have ended up on Foxtel or turned their sets off. The digital channels so far have stopped the erosion of the FTA’s share and made life much tougher for Foxtel and Austar.

The most successful new digital channel was Seven’s 7Mate and then Nine’s Gem, followed by news 24 at the ABC, which showed us that while boring at times, you don’t need to pay for Pay TV and Sky news for solid continuing news coverage. (You can actually get away without TV by listening to ABC News Radio). 7Mate and Gem both started on the weekend of the first AFL grand final in September. ONE faded at Ten, but will be rejuvenated by the changes to the anti-siphoning rules (as will 7Mate and Gem for Seven and Nine which will carry sports broadcasting in 2011 and beyond).

TONIGHT: Anything worth watching? The 7.30 Report moves into a class of its own, The 7pm Project and Glee on Ten. Christmas shopping online appeals. Save your straw hat for later in December or in January, it gets worse.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports