The Glenn Dyer breakdown: Channel Ten is in free fall. Stability is needed and its current management, chairman and board are unable to do just that. Oh, dear. Meanwhile, another strong Sunday night for Nine as it skilfully exploited the Kerry Packer legend in Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War.

But the big story last night was the further collapse in the ratings of the Ten network. It was a night and a weekend across Australia when Ten’s ratings went toxic. If these figures continue another few weeks, we will have to start wondering about the financial health of the company and how long it can go on in its current form without the billionaire (and one millionaire) shareholders being forced to bailout it out a second time this year. The trouble for Ten is that the TV ad market is very “short” in that advertisers and buying groups are reacting to overnight and weekly ratings and not to longer term plans of the networks. That’s because the networks have these ad holes to fill and will discount rates by one way or another to fill them. Ten is failing at precisely the wrong time for it to be doing that.

Ten’s troubles are that its ratings are now at levels where more and more advertisers can’t see the bargain in putting their products on Ten, especially its main channel. There are too few viewers. That means cashflow can dry up very quickly. Ten has sold its outdoor ad group, Eye, and cut debt. It would no doubt be thankful it has some cash in reserve, but Eye could have delivered a small trickle of cash right now to help the TV group. If Ten’s woes continue for much longer, the weak Nine and stronger Seven will benefit enormously.

So how bad was Ten last night? Worse than you might think. It was 4th, behind Nine, Seven and the ABC. But in the main channels, its share was just 6.6% in metro markets. 7mate (one of Seven’s digital channels had a share of 5.3% and SBS ONE was on 4.3%. ABC 1 more than doubled Ten’s main channel share in scoring 13.6%.  After losing third spot nationally for a second week last week to the ABC and ABC 1, Ten will run 4th this week. This is unprecedented.

Ten’s problems were shown by the slump on its ratings share to 23.7% for the year so far, down from 26.7% last year. Last week its prime time overall share was 12.3%. Last night the overall share was just 10.9%. The main channel share last week was 10.3%. There is no good news, the 6.6% recorded last night was just above the record low of 6.5% hit on Saturday night in metro markets. And

Southern Cross Ten (Ten’s regional affiliate) saw its main channel regional share last night hit 6.2%. Its overall share was 11.4%. Appalling for the investors in both companies, and more importantly, the hard working staff.

But there’s more bad news: On Saturday night, the main share for SC Ten in the regions was just 6.0% and it was beaten by 7TWO,  on 8.5% and GO on 6.8%. That is the first time since the digital channels started three years ago that a main channel of the major commercial network has been beaten by the digital channel or channels of a competitor. More than anything, that tells us how low Ten has sunk.

Tonight: The ABC’s four hours and more of news and current affairs. Seven has The X Factor and GCB. Ten has Can of Worms. Nine has Underbelly: Badness.

Last Week: Seven won from Nine with the ABC 3rd and Ten 4th, for the second week in a row. That was the finish in metro and regional markets. 7TWO won the digitals. Seven won Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane overall, Nine won the main channels. But Seven got up because of sweeping wins in Adelaide and Perth. While Ten was third on two nights overall and the ABC grabbed third spot on five other nights. ABC 1 beat Ten into third on every night last week in the main channels.

The top 10 national programs (metro & regional combined):

  1. Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War (Nine) — 2.893 million
  2. 60 minutes (Nine) — 2.320 million
  3. Sunday Night (Seven) — 2.213 million
  4. Seven News — 2.133 million
  5. Nine News — 2.016 million
  6. Big Brother (Nine) — 1.660 million.
  7. Kath & Kim: The Souvenir Editions (Seven) — 1.362 million
  8. Grand Designs Revisited (ABC 1, rpt) — 1.325 million
  9. ABC News — 1.291 million
  10. Dream Build (ABC 1) — 1.230 million

The Metro Winners:

  1. Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War (Nine) (8.30pm) — 2.091 million
  2. 60 Minutes (Nine) (7.30pm) — 1.662 million
  3. Seven News (6pm) — 1.531 million
  4. Sunday Night (Seven) (6.30pm) — 1.468 million
  5. Nine News (6pm)– 1.395 million
  6. Big Brother (Nine) (6.30pm) — 1.250 million

The Losers: Ten and viewers of Nine’s Big Brother. It is pap.

Metro News & CA:

  1. 60 Minutes (Nine) (7.30pm) — 1.662 million
  2. Seven News (6pm) — 1.531 million
  3. Sunday Night (Seven) (6.30pm) — 1.468 million
  4. Nine News (6pm) — 1.395 million
  5. ABC News (7pm) — 931,000
  6. Ten News (5pm) — 480,000
  7. The Project (Ten) (6pm) — 323,000
  8. SBS News (6.30pm) — 201,000
  9. The Bolt Report (Ten) (4.30pm) — 143,000

In the morning:

  1. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) (8am) — 369,000
  2. Weekend Today (Nine) (8am) — 287,000
  3. Landline (ABC) (Noon) — 213,000
  4. Insiders (ABC) (9am) — 182,000 (+59,000)*
  5. Offsiders (ABC) (10.30am) — 154,000
  6. Inside Business (ABC) (10am) — 146,000
  7. The Bolt Report (Ten) (10am) — 133,000
  8. Meet the Press (Ten) (10.30am) — 88,000

*On News 24 simulcast

Metro FTA: Nine (3 channels) won with a share of 39.8% from Seven (3) on 27.8%, the ABC (4) was on 16.8%, Ten (3) ended on 10.9% and SBS (2) was on 4.7%. Main channels: Nine won with a share of 33.7% from Seven on 19.4%.

Metro Digital: 7mate won with a share of 5.3%, from 7TWO on 3.2%, Gem on 3.1%, GO on 3.0%, Eleven with 2.4%, ABC 2 and ONE was on 1.9%, ABC 3, 0.7%, News 24, 0.6% and SBS TWO on 0.4%. The 10 digital channels had an FTA viewing share last night of 23.5%.

Metro including Pay TV: Nine (3 channels) won with a share of 33.3% from Seven (3) on 23.3%, the ABC (4) was on 14.1%, Ten (3) ended on 9.1% and SBS (2) was on 3.9%. The 15 FTA channels share last night was 86.1%, with the five main channels on a share of 66.(5 and the 10 digital channels share which totalled 19.2%. Pay TV’s 200 plus channels share on Foxtel had a total share of 13.9%.

The top five pay TV channels were:

  1. Fox Footy (4.0%)
  2. Fox Sports 1 (3.8%)
  3. Fox Sports 2 (2.8%)
  4. TV 1 (2.5%)
  5. Fox 8 (2.3%)

The five most-watched programs on pay TV were:

  1. NRL: Easts v Wests (Fox Sports 2) — 213,000
  2. AFL: Nth. Melb. v Fremantle (Fox Sports 1) –207,000
  3. AFL: Geelong v Footscray (Fox Footy) — 160,000
  4. AFL: Melbourne v Adelaide (Fox Footy) — 133,000
  5. AFL: After The Bounce (Fox Footy) — 113,000

Regional: A win for WIN/NBN (3 channels) won easily with a share of 37.4% from Prime/7Qld (3 channels) on 29.5%, the ABC (4) was on 16.9%, SC Ten (3) was a distant fourth with 11.4% and SBS (2) ended on 4.7%. WIN/NBN won the main channels with 30.7% from Prime/7Qld on 20.6%. ABC 1 was on 13.4%, SC Ten was 4th with just 6.2%. In the digitals 7mate won with 4.9%, from 7TWO on 4.0% and GO on 3.8%. The 10 digital channels had an FTA share of 24.5%.

The five most-watched programs in regional markets were:

  1. Sunday Night — 746,000
  2. 60 Minutes — 659,000
  3. Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War — 636,000
  4. Nine News — 621,000
  5. Seven News — 603,000

Major Metro Markets: A clean sweep by Nine, Seven and the ABC in that order (ABC 1 in the main channels) in all five metro markets. 7mate clean swept the metro markets in the digitals. End of night!

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

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports