Glenn Dyer’s TV ratings: Big Brother wins, but not by enough

For the finale of a so-called marquee program like Big Brother to get fewer viewers than the opening episode tells us many viewers dropped off during the series and didn't bother returning for last night's final.

Glenn Dyer — <em>Crikey</em> business and media commentator

Glenn Dyer

Crikey business and media commentator

The Glenn Dyer breakdown: Yes, Big Brother's season nine finale (and the first on Nine), over around two hours from 7pm, won the night for the network (easily in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, but just in Adelaide and a flop in Perth and in regional markets). But in reality, it was an unconvincing win because the finale's audience failed to get near the first night's audience back on August 13, nor could it top the two million level nationally (which the debut episode did, easily). Nine won the night in the demos, but it was a night where the win should have been larger. Seeing the August 13 launch episode averaged 1.618 million metro and more than 2.25 million national viewers, last night's effort was terrible. For the finale of a so-called marquee program like BB to get fewer viewers than the opening episode tells us many viewers in the core demos, 16 to 39 and 18 to 49, had dropped off during the series and didn't bother returning for last night's final episode and winner announcement. It's not supposed to happen like that in these expensive programs. Blame it on format tiredness/boredom among the core viewer groups. The final's "winner announced" section last night averaged 1.473 million metro and 1.927 million national viewers, while the program leading up to that averaged 1.260 million metro and nationally 1.666 million viewers. That's an average of 1.344 million in metro markets (and nationally an average of 1.796 million). That's around 15% to 20% (nationally) less than the opening night's figure and a below par result for Nine given the money invested in the production and its ceaseless promotion. The figures though were more than OK for an ordinary TV program, it's just BB was supposed to do better. Nine won the night, but BB didn't win across the country and in reality was a program which drew its strongest support from Melbourne, followed by Sydney and then Brisbane. It has helped Nine boost its share among 16 to 39s and 18 to 49s that was already boosted by The Voice. In regional areas it failed to make the top five and Seven's Surveillance Oz, Highway Patrol, ABC News and the news on Seven and Nine all had more viewers. Seven, through Prime/7Qld, actually won the night in regional areas. The second Christmas day on A Moody Christmas on ABC1 at 8.30pm was just as good as the first: 592,000 metro and 873,000 national viewers watched. The Hamster Wheel straight after averaged 639,000 metro and national viewers. Tonight: Nine puts on the tropical shirt and gets out the sunscreen and returns a best of the faded Getaway at 7.30pm and double fresh episode of the aged beauty, CSI from 8.30pm. A repeat of The Big Bang Theory has been slotted into the 7pm slot, again! Summer is almost here. Seven has the final episode of Brynne: My Bedazzled Life (at last) and another episode of Beauty and The Geek Australia from 8pm tonight. ABC1 has another episode of the excellent Redfern Now as well as the surprising Catalyst at 8pm. Ten has more 15 Minute Meals from Jamie Oliver and a fresh episode of Law and Order: SVU.  SBS has a couple of foodie programs. And if the US election still interests you, watch the PBS News on SBS ONE from 4.30pm. That will tell you more about why the result occurred, especially from columnists, Mark Shields and David Brooks. Local US coverage: The Ten Network of course ignored the US election, unlike chairman Lachlan Murdoch's real company, News Corporation and its Fox News network in the US which went crazy and called Obama the winner and upset the Republicans at the Romney function in Boston, who seemed to think that Fox was their in-house PR outlet. Nine used ABC from the US and wisely used more of it than the local panel clustered around host Peter Overton. Seven used NBC and did the same (and a bit of CNN at one stage). SBS used CNN and PBS (and bailed out of the latter in an ungainly fashion). SBS's local commentators, including BBC's Nick Bryant (who used to be in Washington) were good. Seven had a couple of people there around Chris Reason, but mostly used the excellent coverage from NBC (which with the ABC from the US, were stand outs for information, data and conclusions, though host Diane Sawyer on ABC seemed to be a bit of a Twitter favourite for her performance). News 24 from the ABC wasn't as good as they thought it was in comparison. It lacked solid US-originated analysis of trends etc. When they went to Kim Landers in Washington with local talents, it improved. But Planet America's John Barron stood out on the coverage for his knowledge, while at times Alexander Downer was quite insightful. Last night's 7.30 though was light on for follow-up analysis, especially the gains made by women in the Senate and New Hampshire. The interview by Leigh Sales of Grover Norquist failed to point out that he is not a Republican Party operator, but the driving force behind the tax cut mentality among many conservative Americans through his Americans For Tax Reform group. He believes getting rid of tax rorts and breaks exploited by business and others is a tax increase! Some in the US argue he is part of the problem in the US and not the solution. Sales should have pointed out Norquist's background and questioned him more forcefully that the low tax, low spending push of himself and followers like the Tea Party and others had not gained ground in the US, or won the presidency. The ABC1 News at 7pm topped the news battle last night with slightly more metro and national viewers than Nine or Seven and you can put that down to the US election (plus daylight saving, as usual at this time of year). Apart from the weak-kneed Ten, the other networks had good coverage. Nine and Seven kept their coverage going up until 6pm because of the delays from the US and pre-empted kids and other programming. Seven started its coverage at 10.30am on 7TWO as did the ABC on News 24. SBS started its coverage at 1pm. Seven started its main channel coverage around 3pm. Nine's coverage proper started at midday. Because of the late changes and over-runs, it's hard to work out audiences, but from 5 to 6pm when the concession and acceptance speeches happened (around 1am Wednesday New York time), between half a million and just over 700,000 people were watching the coverage on Nine, Seven, ABC, 7TWO, News 24 and SBS and its HD channel across the country. Ten News at 5pm was also broadcasting US election coverage (at last). News 24 averaged 1.9% last night in prime time and 2.0% share in regional markets. Sky News on Foxtel also did very well. The top 10 national programs (metro & regional combined):
  1. Big Brother Winner (Nine) -- 1.927 million.
  2. Big Brother Grand Final (Nine) -- 1.666 million.
  3. Surveillance Oz (Seven) -- 1.643 million.
  4. ABC1 News (7pm) -- 1.566 million.
  5. Seven News (6pm) -- 1.551 million.
  6. Nine News (6pm) -- 1.547 million.
  7. Highway Patrol (Seven) -- 1.506 million.
  8. Criminal Minds (Seven) -- 1.474 million.
  9. Embarrassing Bodies (Nine) -- 1.295 million.
  10. Home and Away (Nine) -- 1.258 million.
The Metro Winners: Mid-morning and day and afternoon viewing was disrupted by the network's US coverage running over as the result dragged on past 3pm and Obama's speech didn't come until well after 5pm Sydney time. That's Nine, Seven (7TWO), the ABC (ABC1, News 24). But not Ten which stuck to normal programming and is about to start sacking up to 60 journalists and other staff from its successful news division. Talk about a stupid, short-sighted attitude by Ten management, from chairman Lachlan Murdoch down.
  1. Big Brother Winner (Nine, around 8.30 pm) -- 1.473 million.
  2. Big Brother Grand Final (Nine, 7 - 8.30 pm) -- 1.260 million.
  3. ABC 1 News (7pm) -- 1.087 million.
  4. Nine News (6pm) -- 1.078 million.
  5. Seven News (6pm) -- 1.033 million.
  6. Surveillance Oz (Seven, 8pm) -- 1.021 million.
The Losers: Ten has a weak night, which was to be expected. Glee, The Good Wife and the Modern Family repeat all suffered because Nine dragged many of Ten's core viewers in the 16 to 49 demos, across to the finale of BB. Seven's Home and Away also lost ground, but from tonight onwards, the Seven stalwart will return to being number one among commercial network programs at 7pm. Emily Owens MD seems to have steadied at 9.30pm for Ten on 1897,000 metro viewers and national viewers. The Bold and The Beautiful at 4.30pm did better with 353,000 metro viewers.Metro News & CA: The 7pm ABC News won nationally (beating the more-promoted Nine and Seven News) with its US election coverage and it also won Melbourne easily and was second in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. Nine news had more viewers than Seven in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as it got the bigger bounce from the poll than Seven did.
  1. ABC1 News (7pm) -- 1.087 million.
  2. Nine News (6pm) -- 1.078 million.
  3. Seven News (6pm) -- 1.033 million.
  4. A Current Affair (Nine, 6.30pm) -- 962,000.
  5. Today Tonight (Seven, 6.30pm) -- 899,000.
  6. 7.30 (ABC1, 7.30pm) -- 848,000 + 77,000 on News 24.
  7. Ten News (Ten, 5pm) -- 618,000.
  8. The Project (Ten, 6.30pm) -- 530,000.
  9. The Project (Ten, 6pm) -- 388,000.
  10. Lateline (ABC 1, 10.30pm) -- 218,000.
  11. Ten Late News (Ten, 10.30pm) -- 165,000.
  12. SBS ONE News, 6.30pm) -- 162,000.
  13. The Drum (News 24, 6pm) -- 127,000.
  14. The Business (ABC1, 11,05pm, repeat) -- 114,000.
  15. SBS ONE News Late (10.30pm) -- 69,000.
In the morning: News 24 easily eclipsed Ten's Breakfast.
  1. Sunrise (Seven, 7am) -- 392,000.
  2. Today (Nine, 7am) -- 346,000.
  3. The Morning Show (Seven, 9am) -- 142,000.
  4. Mornings (Nine, 9am) -- 111,000.
  5. News Breakfast (ABC1, 7am) -- 51,000 + 46,000 on News 24.
  6. Breakfast (Ten, 7am) -- 42,000.
Metro FTA: Nine (three channels) won with a share of 31.5%, from Seven (three) on 28.7%, the ABC (four) was on 19.0%, Ten (three) ended on 15.5% and SBS ONE (two) was on 5.2%. Seven still leads the week with 29.6% from Nine on 28.7%, Ten is on 18.4% and the ABC is on 18.1%. Main Channels: Nine's win was clearer with a share of 25.4% to Seven's 20.2%. ABC1 was on 13.1%, Ten was on just 9.6% and SBS ONE ended on 4.3%. Seven leads the week narrowly on 22.0% from Nine on 21.9%, ABC1 on 13.3% and Ten on 12.7. Metro Digital: Plus, 7mate won with 4.5% from GO on 4.0%, GO on 3.6%, Eleven on 3.3%, ABC2, 2.9%, Gem and ONE on 2.6% each, News 24 on 1.9% (boosted by the US poll), ABC3 was on 1.1% and SBS TWO was on 0.9%. That's a FTA viewing share last night for the 10 channels of 26.4%. 7TWO now leads the week with 4.0% from GO on 3.9% and 7mate on 3.6%. Metro including pay TV: Nine (three channels) won with a share of 26.3%, from Seven (three) on 23.9%, the ABC (four) was on 15.8%, Ten (three) ended on 12.9% and SBS ONE (two) was on 4.3%. The 15 FTA channels had a total share last night of 85.7% with the five main channels share on 62.7% after the 10 digital shares totalled 23.0%. The 200 plus channels on Foxtel gave pay TV a share of 14.3% last night. The other subscription TV channels had a share of 4.2%. Those channels are not broken out but include some US news channels such as CNN and Fox News. So with the US polls, it's no wonder the share was high. The top five pay TV channels were:
  1. Fox8 -- 2.8%
  2. TV1 -- 2.1%.
  3. LifeStyle -- 1.9%.
  4. Disney, Fox Sports 2 -- 1.8%.
  5. Sky News -- 1.7%.
The five most-watched programs on pay TV were:
  1. Futurama (Fox8) -- 67,000.
  2. The Simpsons (Fox8) -- 63,000.
  3. Abalone Wars (Discovery) -- 61,000.
  4. Coronation Street (UKTV) -- 59,000.
  5. The Simpsons (Fox8) -- 59,000.
Regional: Prime/7Qld (three channels) won with a share of 34.4%, from WIN/NBB (three) on 28.3%, the ABC (four) was on 18.0%, SC Ten (three) ended on 14.6% and SBS ONE (two) was on 4.8%. Prime/7Qld won the main channels with 22.7% from WIN/NBN on 20.4%, ABC1 was on 12.2% and SC Ten was on just 8.0%. 7TWO won the digitals with 6.1% from 7mate on 5.6% and GO on 4.3%. The 10 digital channels had a very high FTA share last night of 32.6%. Prime/7Qld leads the week with 33.7% from WIN/NBN on 27.1%, the ABC on 17.6% and SC Ten on 17.1%. The five most-watched programs in regional markets were:
  1. Surveillance Oz -- 623,000.
  2. Highway Patrol -- 581,000.
  3. Seven News -- 519,000.
  4. Criminal Minds -- 512,000.
  5. ABC1 News -- 479,000.
Major Metro Markets: Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane overall and in the main channels. Seven won Adelaide overall, but Nine got up in the main channels, while Seven won Perth overall and in the main channels as BB was rejected by WA viewers. In Sydney and Melbourne, Seven was second and the ABC/ABC1 were third. In Brisbane, Seven was second in both, while Ten was third overall and ABC1 was third in the main channels. In Adelaide it was Seven from the ABC/ABC1 in Perth It was Nine second and the ABC/ABC1 third. Meanwhile, 7mate was the digitals in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. 7TWO won Adelaide and tied Brisbane with GO. Nine leads the week in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Ten is third in Melbourne and Brisbane and the ABC is third in Sydney. Seven leads Adelaide (where Ten is third) and Perth, where the ABC is also third. (All shares on the basis of combined overnight 6pm to midnight All People) Source: Oztam, TV Networks data

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions



Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details