The Renovators of 2013? Seven’s much-hyped property renovations program House Rules debuted last night to disappointing figures — just 803,000 watched in metro markets from 7.30pm and 1.246 million nationally (and just 443,000 in regional markets). That’s nowhere enough to justify the budget, promotional spend and effort Seven has pout into the program.

Tonight it flies solo without The Voice  on Nine, but will be up again half an hour of The Block, which means another big test. Another sub 1 million figure for metro markets won’t be a good look and will recall the experience Ten had with The Renovators, which started Ten on its journey to the depths of despair, such was the shock of ratings worse that House Rules.

Seven though has more to lose — a lot of money has been spent on the program, and a lot has been promised to sponsors. Weak audience figures will get TV land talking about Seven “losing” its touch — it’s the industry leader, so the stakes are high. It should be remembered that the first episodes or two of these programs are always slow — the contestants have to be seen by viewers and their stories start appearing.

But for the second night in a row, The Voice shed several hundred thousand viewers to average 1.597 million in metro markets, 2.21 million nationally and 724,000 regionally (around the same as Monday night, but still solid. Just not as solid as last week or last year). If this is a new, lower trend for the program in the run up to the final next month, it will be an important change in the TV pecking order and could help help offset whatever damage a weak outing by House Rules causes to Seven.

The upshot though was that Seven lost the night and Nine’s big win has set it up to win its second week in a row. The Voice and The Block give Nine better demographics than Seven as well. Seven won Adelaide and Perth, again (overall and the main channels). Nine also won again in regional markets.

The budget: Three hours is a long time in politics on budget night, and for the viewers watching coverage. That’s about how long it took for the budget to go from interesting to old news. Look at the figures. The Treasuer’s speech at 7.30pm on ABC1 averaged 945,000 nationally/ 620,000 metro/ 225,000 regional, and the disjointed interview/discussion from 8pm (which masqueraded as 7.30) averaged  958,000 national/ 663,000 metro/ 185,000 regional.

News 24 averaged a high 1.5% share last night in prime time and a very solid 3.0% in regional markets because of the budget. On News 24, the speech averaged  223,000 national/ 137,000 in metros, and the 7.30 special at 8pm averaged  204,000 national/ 125,000 in metros. In fact, the ABC says News 24 had its best figures for a federal budget since it started. 

Sky News averaged  1.7% on Foxtel with Paul Murray Live averaging 58,000 viewers from 9pm (which is very high for Sky News at that time of night), but its budget coverage from 7.30pm to 8.10pm averaged just 180,000 viewers. Nine’s 10.30pm budget special had 777,000 national viewers and 515,000 in metro markets (262,000 in regional markets). By the time Lateline arrived at 10.30pm, the budget was old news and  251,000 watched nationally and 187,000 in the metro markets (and 64,000 in the regions), which is about what it normally gets on a Tuesday night. And SBS’s 10.30pm news broadcast averaged about normal figures of  66,000 nationally, 55,000 metro and 11,000 in the regions. Ten’s Late News at 10.30pm  had 191,000 viewers, which is about normal. So by 11pm, the budget was fish and chip wrappers.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (33.4%)
  2. Seven (25.8%)
  3. ABC (17.7%)
  4. Ten (16.6%)
  5. SBS (6.5%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (28.1%)
  2. Seven (19.2%)
  3. Ten (12.3%)
  4. ABC1 (12.2%)
  5. SBS ONE (5.5%)

Top five digital channels: 

  1. 7TWO (3.6%)
  2. GO (3.2)
  3. 7mate (2.9%)
  4. Eleven (2.6%)
  5. ABC2 (2.5%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. The Voice (Nine) – 2.221 million
  2. Seven News — 1.958 million
  3. Nine News – 1.937 million
  4. The Block (Nine) — 1.871 million
  5. Packed To The Rafters (Seven) — 1.696 million
  6. Celebrity Challenge — The Challenge (Nine) — 1.466 million
  7. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.383 million
  8. Today Tonight (Seven) — 1.367 million
  9. ABC1 News –– 1.298 million
  10. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.253 million

Top metro programs:

  1. The Voice (Nine) — 1.597
  2. The Block (Nine) — 1.308 million
  3. Seven News — 1.307 million
  4. Nine News >– 1.294 million
  5. Today Tonight (Seven) — 1.085 million
  6. Packed To The Rafters (Seven) — 1.081 million
  7.  A Current Affair (Nine) – 1.069 million
  8. Celebrity Apprentice — The Challenge (Nine) — 1.026 million

Losers: Anyone who watched the budget on ABC1 or News 24, or Pay TV on Sky News. Talk about an unedifying spectacle. 

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.307 million
  2. Nine News – 1.294 million
  3. Today Tonight (Seven) — 1.085 million
  4. A Current Affair (Nine) – 1.069 million
  5. ABC1 News — 899,000
  6. Ten News  — 695,000
  7. 7.30 Budget Special (ABC 1, 8pm) — 663,000
  8. Treasurer’s Special (ABC 1, 7.30pm) — 620,000
  9. Nine Budget Special (10.30 pm) — 515,000
  10. The Project (Ten) — 503,000

Metro morning TV:

  1. Today (Nine) – 353,000
  2. Sunrise (Seven) – 329,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC1) – 50,000 + 38,000 on News 24

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox 8 – 2.8%
  2. TV1, LifeStyle – 2.2%
  3. Fox Footy, Sky News – 1.7%
  4. Fox Classics – 1.6%.
  5. A&E – 1.5%

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. AFL: On The Couch  (Fox Footy) – 124,000
  2. ÅFL: 360 (Fox Footy) – 107,000
  3. Family Guy (fox 8) — 94,000
  4. Modern Family (Fox 8) — 92,000
  5. The Simpsons (Fox) – 87,000

Tonight: Tonight With Adam Hills debuts (or returns after some changes — no Gordon Street reference from 2012) at 8.30pm. Will it be any more interesting than last year? The last epsidoe of The Thick of It is on at 10 pm on ABC1. Seven continues House Rules and then Criminal Minds. Nine has The Block and then a fresh Big Bang Theory and then Arrow. Ten has Modern Family, the final Mr and Mrs Murder and The Good Wife.

*Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2013. The data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of OzTAM. (All shares on the basis of combined overnight 6pm to midnight all people.) Plus network reports.

Peter Fray

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