On the metro ratings last night, you’d be entitled to think that’s Nine’s big win would have been repeated in the regionals. Far from it. In fact Seven won — clearly, but not as big a margin as on Sunday night. As a result of the undoubted popularity of The Voice in most metro markets and the strength of Nine News, you’d also be entitled to wonder what does Nine have to do to win notch up a convincing national win? Are regional markets a no go zone for Nine? Not when the State of Origin Rugby League games are on.

The Voice again won nationally and in the metros and as did Lip Synch Battle which followed straight after (it’s a US format, although the unkind among us claim it could apply to The Voice. It doesn’t. They sing and some sing with a lot of heart). But that combination wasn’t enough in regional markets.

The ABC pushed Ten into fourth with its very strong line up last night, especially Four Corners, Media Watch and Q&A. Ten would argue it got the desired viewers in the demos that matter, but it can also be argued that once again Ten was squeezed by Nine, Seven and the ABC and it’s uncomfortable being in that position. Masterchef Australia held up with 1.446 million national viewers.

Four Corners was a very good program — it zipped along and deserved more than the 1.275 million national viewers who watched last night. One of the news and current affairs highlights of the year, and an object lesson to the ABC and management of Q&A about protecting the brand name.

From what was explained on Q&A last night it is now clear that the producers and host Tony Jones failed the most basic point of TV. Having built up the prestige of Q&A over the years to the point where it is a flagship show on ABC  TV and on TV generally, being one of a kind, no one among the producing team or Mr Jones stopped to think of the possible adverse impact having Zaky Mallah live could do to the program if it went wrong. And if they did stop and think, then they made a big mistake because they had a precedent in protecting the program.

If it was good enough to pre-record a question from David Hicks for John Howard years ago, why wasn’t the same done for Zaky Mallah? (and John Howard in his reaction, as we saw on Media Watch last night, exposed the fraudulent nature of the current conservative government’s attitude to free speech and national security. It was far more fraught under Howard — remember 9/11, the Bali and Jakarta bombings and other threats)? Howard’s reaction back then also exposed the confected nature of the reactions last night from Tim Wilson and Paul Kelly, the ageing News Corp dinosaur who was sent onto Q&A to issue a fearsome (or what he thought was fearsome) warning to the ABC on behalf of his company and the Murdochs (no doubt he didn’t speak to the Murdochs, but Kelly has always been one who could read their moods very well).

In that brief clip from Q&A years ago and John Howard’s appearance (who, it must be said, also showed up Tony Abbott to be the fair weather person when it comes to exposing himself to his opponents) we saw how and why the ABC got it wrong, and how the producers and Tony Jones failed to protect the program’s prestige (which is bigger and more important than those who are involved in it). They should have pre-recorded Mallah.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (30.8%)
  2. Seven (23.9%)
  3. ABC (20.3%)
  4. Ten (20.0%)
  5. SBS (5.1%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (23.3%)
  2. Seven (17.1)
  3. ABC1 (16.5%)
  4. Ten (14.7%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.4%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. GO (4.2%)
  2. 7TWO (3.7%)
  3. Gem (3.3%)
  4. 7mate (3.0%)
  5. ONE (2.8%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. The Voice (Nine) — 1.876 million
  2. Nine News — 1.675 million
  3. Lip Synch Battle (Nine) — 1.579 million
  4. Masterchef Australia (Ten) – 1.446 million
  5. House Rules (Seven) — 1.417 million
  6. ABC News — 1.358 million
  7. Seven News — 1.357 million
  8. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.299 million
  9. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.283 million
  10. Four Corners (ABC) — 1.275 million

Top metro programs:

  1. The Voice (Nine) — 1.397 million
  2. Nine News 1.200 million
  3. Nine News 6.30 — 1.150 million
  4. Lip Synch Battle (Nine) — 1.124 million
  5. Masterchef Australia (Ten) — 1.077 million
  6. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.076 million
  7. Seven News 1.032 million

Losers: No one can complain. Plenty of choice last night, even for these ferals who don’t like the ABC or Q&A.Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Nine News 1.200 million
  2. Nine News 6.30  1.150 million
  3. Nine News (6pm) – 1.147 million
  4. A Current Affair (Nine)  1.076 million
  5. Seven News  1.032 million
  6. Seven News/ Today Tonight  964,000
  7. ABC News  936,000
  8. Four Corners (ABC)  863,000
  9. Media Watch (ABC)  848,000
  10. Australian Story (ABC) 820,000

Morning TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 288,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 236,000
  3. The Morning Show (Seven) – 165,000
  4. News Breakfast (ABC 1,  97,000 + 27,000 on News 24)  124,000
  5. Mornings (Nine)  123,000
  6. Studio 1o (Ten)  63,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox Sports 1 (3.3%)
  2. Fox8  (2.3%)
  3. LifeStyle  (2.0s)
  4. Disney (1.9%)
  5. Nick Jr, TVHITS (1.6%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. NRL: Canterbury v Melbourne (Fox Sports 1)  254,000
  2. Monday Night With Matty Johns (Fox Sports 1)  153,000
  3. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy)  108,000
  4. AFL: on The Couch (Fox Footy)  84,000
  5. The Simpsons (Fox8) – 82,000

*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.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.