So what are TV guides for? Well, last night Seven answered that by dropping broadcasts on 7TWO and 7mate at 7.30 and simulcasting House Rules across all three, like Ten is doing with Family Feud at 6 pm Monday to Friday. Nine started Reno Rumble (It was originally called Renovation Rumble, but got a name change a week or so ago) on a semi-simulcast on the main channel and Go. And Ten, well Masterchef Australia started on the main channel alone. Just why Ten didn’t simulcast it is odd given its experience with Family Feud. But oddly, (probably because of a coding error) there were small audiences on 7TWO for House Rules of just 6,000 people and 7mate of 10,000. Usually they don’t show up in simulcasts. Hardly worth it, but it means Seven was concerned and didn’t want anything on its popular digital channels to drain viewers away from House Rules.

This morning the ratings for last night showed first blood to Ten and Masterchef Australia, with Seven’s House Rules the loser (even though it is usually a slow starter) and Nine’s stopper, Reno Rumble in between. But that was in the metros. In the regionals a very different result. While Nine won thanks to higher viewing on its digital channels, Seven and House Rules won the main channels. Ten and Masterchef were surprisingly in third.  This is not the first time House Rules has started slowly and behind for Seven, and the network is sure to give it a whack to jazz it up and make it pacy. But House Rules last night was slow, dwelled at the start (like a startled race horse) and definitely needs a rocket. In the metros the audience margins were quite decisive —  more than 1.2 million for Masterchef Australia, 873,000 for Reno Rumble and just 791,000 for House Rules.

But for all three programs the opening nights of a new season are always the slowest as the contestants and the formats get introduced (or reintroduced) to viewers. Next Sunday night is when we can start making big calls. By then the first week of competition should be over and viewers should have decided what to watch, what to record and what to ignore. But Ten won the metros, it has the bragging rights, and if it can sustain this for the next couple of months, could have a chance of surviving the next year. Masterchef’s audience in the 25 to 54 age group was up sharply from a year ago, a good sign for the network. And if House Rules doesn’t work for Seven, stand by for changes. Nine would be happy, as Reno Rumble did what it was intended to do, drain viewers away from House Rules. Nine knew that to run The Voice (currently in production) against House Rules, as it did last year, would be to invite another ratings defeat. Love Child returned on Nine after Reno Rumble and had more viewers that Reno Rumble in a later time slot (nationally and in the metros), thanks to viewers moving from Masterchef to Nine. Love Child is the class program on Nine, Reno Rumble is negative. Nine will have its metaphorical fingers crossed that Reno Rumble doesn’t ruin the ground for the second series of The Block later in the year.

Practically the only saving grace for Seven was that House Rules beat Reno Rumble in the regionals and therefore had a slight advantage nationally — 1.285 million to 1.264 million. But Seven will want that 82,000 metro margin behind Reno Rumble closed by the end of this week.

Network channel share:

  1. Ten (27.4%)
  2. Nine (26.5%)
  3. Seven (22.1%)
  4. ABC (17.7%)
  5. SBS (6.3%)

Network main channels:

  1. Ten (21.0%)
  2. Nine (20.3%)
  3. Seven (18.2%)
  4. ABC 1 (13.2%)
  5. SBS ONE (5.2%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. Gem (4.2%)
  2. Eleven (3.3%)
  3. ONE (3.1%)
  4. ABC 2 (2.9%)
  5. 7mate (2.4%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Masterchef Australia (Ten) – 1.663 million
  2. Nine News — 1.543 million
  3. Seven News — 1.431 million
  4. Home and Away (Seven) – 1.414 million
  5. Love Child (Nine) — 1.324 million
  6. House Rules (Seven) — 1.285 million
  7. Reno Rumble (Nine) — 1.264 million
  8. ABC News — 1.254 million
  9. 7.30 (ABC) — 1.120 million
  10. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.074 million

Top metro programs:

  1. Masterchef Australia (Ten) – 1.231 million
  2. Nine News — 1.087 million
  3. Seven News — 1.079 million
  4. Seven News/ Today Tonight — 1.064 million

Losers: Seven. Even though it’s early days, the metro audience for House Rules could not have been encouraging for Seven. Plenty of meetings at HQ in Sydney today over that. A good day for a low profile in programming and program making? Fantas for everyone at Ten though, a free packet of house brand chips as a bonus!Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Nine News — 1.087 million
  2. Seven News — 1.079 million
  3. Seven News/ Today Tonight — 1.064 million
  4. Nine News 6.30 — 968,000
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) – 868,000
  6. ABC  News — 859,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 771,000
  8. Foreign Correspondent (ABC) — 727,000
  9. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 653,000
  10. Ten Eyewitness News — 592,000

Morning TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 348,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 291,000
  3. The Morning Show (Seven) — 157,000
  4. Mornings (Nine) — 136,000
  5. News Breakfast (ABC 94,000 + 36,000 on News 24) — 130,000
  6. Studio 1o (Ten) — 67,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox 8  (3.1%)
  2. TVHITS  (2.3%)
  3. LifeStyle  (2.0%)
  4. A&E (1.9%)
  5. UKTV (1.7%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy) – 107,000
  2. The Simpsons (Fox8) – 103,000
  3. Wentworth (SoHo) –  98,000
  4. The Simpsons (Fox8) – 88,000
  5. Game of Thrones (showcase) – 64,000

*Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2015. 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.) and network reports.

Peter Fray

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