The Glenn Dyer breakdown: The fact that no program had more viewers than Seven and Nine News at 6 o’clock in the metro or regional markets tells us that it was a so-so night. The breakdown tells us that Nine was again very solid in Sydney and Melbourne. In Brisbane, it was marginal, Nine won overall, but Seven beat it in the main channels. In Adelaide Seven squelched Nine. In Perth not only did Seven easily beat Nine, but so did Ten, which ran second.

Nine in fact won overall, thanks to a very solid performance by its GO digital channel. Seven beat Nine in the main channels, which is the battlefield each night between the networks. But it was another of those nights where Seven, Nine, Ten and the ABC could find some joy.

MasterChef Australia launched OK: 1.368 million in the five metro markets and over 1.8 million nationally are good figures. Not a blockbuster return, but the show always starts with reasonable figures and builds. I still can’t see why Ten didn’t run a two-hour opening special to make a lot of noise about being back. Was it a lack of confidence in the program at Ten that stopped the extra hour? About 660,000 people turned off Ten when Touch started after MasterChef. Many of those would have stayed to watch more of MasterChef, which won the most watched program in Ten’s favoured demos, 16-39 and 18-49.

The early episodes of MasterChef are always weak and the show doesn’t take shape until the second week, although last year’s opening with the helicopter dropping big boxes on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour gave us an early warning that the producers were going over the top. Last night was more modest. This series is also a big test for the producers, Shine Australia (which owns the format). It produced Ten’s 2011 flop, The Renovators in 2011, which has gone to TV’s boneyards.

The Block and 60 Minutes had solid national figures as well. Men favoured The Block, women loved MasterChef, again. Ten had nothing else to support MasterChef. But at least Ten’s main channel won’t lose to ABC1 over the coming week, as it did last week.

The Biggest Loser averaged 936,000 from 6.30pm and a solid 1.3 million nationally. But it should have ended in time to allow MasterChef to start at 6.30pm and run for 90 minutes to two hours.

In regional areas, The Block and 60 Minutes did as well as they did in metro markets, MasterChef wasn’t quite as favoured.

On pay TV viewing yesterday the rugby league game, Manly versus Canberra topped the viewing with 202,000 viewers, with the AFL game between West Coast and North Melbourne averaging 190,000.

Nine was again let down by the post-8.30pm program, The Mentalist. Nine ran back-to-back episodes to 10.30pm, the first averaged 652,000 metro markets, the second, 478,000. Both programs were beaten by Bones (1.110 million on Seven at 8.40pm (after Dancing with the Stars) and by Castle at 9.40pm with 711,000. The repeat of Midsomer Murders on ABC1 (finished at 10pm) averaged 721,0,000 and easily beat the 8.30pm episode of The Mentalist. Being beaten by a repeat of a venerable UK police procedural is not a good look for The Mentalist, which had a fresh episode. Nine punted Unforgettable from the 9.30pm slot and ran the second episode of The Mentalist: it didn’t work.

Last Week: Nine won nationally and won in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for another week. Seven won Adelaide and Perth. Nine won regional markets as well, thanks to The Voice, but also the NRL on Friday night.

In pay TV, rugby league was again more popular than the AFL: Friday night’s NRL game between Auckland Warriors versus Brisbane Broncos averaged 335,000, viewers, with the Newcastle Knights versus Penrith Panthers on 294,000. The AFL game last Sunday between Hawthorn and Sydney averaged 270,000.

Tonight: The Block and The Voice on Nine versus MasterChef Australia on Ten. Revenge on Seven. The ABC has its hours and hours of news and current affairs. Watch Australian Story for a new story on Clive Palmer. And also Media Watch might be worth a look to see if there’s another round with SBS’s Dateline and its complaints about Media Watch’s claims last week about a Dateline report from Afghanistan.

The top 10 national programs (metro & regional combined): Most critics forget about regional Australian TV audiences when assessing program performance. The Block does OK in Sydney and Brisbane and really strongly in Melbourne, but it’s not that popular in regional markets.

  1. Seven News — 2.152 million.
  2. Nine News — 2.098 million.
  3. The Block (Nine) — 2.074 million.
  4. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.832 million.
  5. MasterChef Australia (Ten) — 1.830 million.
  6. Dancing with the Stars (Seven) — 1.580 million.
  7. Bones (Seven) — 1.461 million.
  8. The Biggest Loser (Ten) — 1.306 million.
  9. ABC News — 1.163 million.
  10. Midsomer Murders (ABC 1) — 1.061 million.

The Metro Winners:

  1. Seven News (6pm) — 1.565 million.
    Nine News (6pm) — 1.481 million.
  2. The Block (Nine) (6.30pm) — 1.476 million.
  3. MasterChef Australia (Ten) (7.30pm) — 1.368 million.
  4. 60 Minutes (Nine) (7.30pm) — 1.290 million.
  5. Dancing with the Stars (Seven) (6.30pm) — 1.110 million.
  6. Bones (Seven) (8.40pm) — 1.015 million.

The Losers: Nothing really, a reasonable night of viewing.

Metro News & CA: Seven’s news figures were boosted by the AFL game West Coast-North Melbourne that was the lead in for Seven News in Perth, which averaged a huge 324,000 and that was more viewers that Seven had in the bigger Brisbane market. The NRL boosted Nine’s 6pm audience in Sydney with the news averaging 496,000. Nine News’ 534,000 in Melbourne was the biggest audience around the country last night, 6000 more than The Block from 6.30pm.

  1. Seven News (6pm) — 1.565 million.
  2. Nine News (6pm) — 1.481 million.
  3. 60 Minutes (Nine) (7.30pm) — 1.290 million.
  4. ABC 1 News (7pm) — 793,000.
  5. Ten News (5pm) — 469,000.
  6. The Project (Ten) (6pm) — 340,000.
  7. SBS News (6.30pm) –224,000.

*On News 24 simulcast

In the morning: Inside Business added 7000 viewers on last week, but is still not a solid looking program, unlike Insiders at 9am and Offsiders at 10.30am.

  1. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) (8am) — 346,000.
  2. Weekend Today (Nine) (8am) — 279,000.
  3. Insiders (ABC1) (9am) — 179,000 + 79,000 on News 24 simulcast.
  4. Landline (ABC1) (Noon) — 190,000.
  5. Inside Business (ABC1) (10am) — 132,000.
  6. The Bolt Report (Ten) (10am) — 129,000.
  7. The Bolt Report repeat (Ten) (4.30 – 5 pm) — 104,000.
  8. Meet The Press (Ten) (10.30am) — 85,000.

Metro FTA: Nine won (3 channels) won with a share of 29.8%, Seven (3) was next with 27.2%, from Ten (3) on 22.5%, the ABC (4) was on 15.1% and SBS (2) on 5.4%. Main Channels: Seven won with a share of 22.2%, from Nine on 21.5%, Ten was on 16.7%, ABC 1 was on 11.6% and SBS ONE ended on 4.6%.

Metro Digital: FO won with a share of 4.9%, from Gem on 3.4%, Eleven was on 3.3%, 7TWO was on 2.8%, ONE ended on 2.5%, 7mate was on 2.2%, ABC 2 was on 2.0%, News 24 was on 0.9%, SBS TWO was on 0.7% and ABC 3 was on 0.6%. The 10 channels had an FTA share last night of a moderate 23.2%.

Metro including pay TV: Nine won (3 channels) won with a share of 24.4%, Seven (3) was next with 22.3% with Ten (3) on 18.4%, pay TV (200-plus channels) was on 15.9%, the ABC (4) was on 12.4% and SBS (2) on 4.4%. The 15 FTA channels share of viewing last night was 84.1%, with the five main channels on 65.1% and the 10 digital share, 19.0%.

The top five pay TV channels were:

  1. Fox Footy — 4.7%.
  2. TV 1 — 2.8%
  3. Fox 8 — 2.5%.
  4. Fox Sports 2 — 2.5%.
  5. Showtime Premiere — 2.1%.

The five most-watched programs on pay TV were:

  1. NRL: Manly versus Canberra — 202,000.
  2. AFL: West Coast versus North Melb. (Fox Footy) — 190,000.
  3. AFL Carlton versus GWS (Fox Footy) — 167,000.
  4. AFL: After The Bounce (Fox Footy) — 125,000.
  5. AFL: Port Adelaide versus Richmond (Fox Footy) — 124,000.

Regional: The same make-up as in metro markets. Nine, through WIN/NBN won overall, Prime/7Qld won the main channels. WIN/NBN (3 channels) won overall with a share of 29.7%, from Prime/7Qld (3) on 27.8%, SC Ten (3) was on 20.5%, the ABC (4) was on 17.1% and SBS (2) was on 4.9%. The main channels saw Prime/7Qld win with a share of 22.0%, from WIN/NBN on 20.7%. GO and Gem was the digitals with 4.6% each, from Eleven on 4.0%. The 10 digital channels had a FTA viewing share of 26.1%.

The five most-watched programs in regional markets were:

  1. Nine News — 617,000.
  2. The Block — 598,000.
  3. Seven News — 589,000.
  4. Dancing with the Stars — 471,000.
  5. MasterChef Australia — 460,000.

Major Metro Markets: Big wins in Adelaide and Perth pushed Seven ahead of Nine nationally. Seven won Adelaide and Perth overall and in the main channels. In Perth, Nine ran a weak third behind Ten. In the east, Nine won Sydney and Melbourne, both overall and in the main channels. Nine won overall in Brisbane, but Seven won the main channels. GO won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Gem won Brisbane.

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

Peter Fray

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