The Pink Ball Third Cricket Test won Nine last week with Friday night (a national audience of 1.081 million from the start to the finish) with the third (night session) averaging a solid 1.081 million across the seven and a bit hours. On Saturday Nine won with the seven hour average 1.316 million and the third session averaging a very good 1.524 million viewers. And then yesterday, an average across the seven hours of 1.409 million and the third session averaging 2.356 million. Naturally Nine easily won last night. Nine also won the regionals as cricket fans strongly supported the game.

Now I am ancient enough to vaguely remember the shock and pleasure of seeing the early World Series day night games under lights from the SCG in Sydney (on Nine and how rapidly they improved), and the night sessions of the Adelaide test had that impact — amazement at how good it looked. Some changes will have to be made to even up the contest between bat and ball, but it was a stunning success. If I had to make a prediction, watch now for News Corp/Fox Sports/Foxtel try and scheme to split the cricket tests and other coverage away from Nine and grab the Big Bash back from Ten (Foxtel’s affiliate) after losing it because of weak audiences and coverage. Undermining the anti-siphoning rules will become an even bigger priority for the News-Foxtel empire. Thankfully we have a media-savvy Prime Minister in Canberra rather than someone dependant on Rupert Murdoch’s blessings, as Tony Abbott was.

Nothing else mattered last night on the first Sunday in summer ratings. There was only one TV even — that was on Nine and it stood out for the success it was. The $20 admission for the night session in Adelaide was a great idea because of the way the crowd built, not fell the longer play went on during the day and evening. Nine’s commentary team is something that needs adjusting — it is overly loud, insistent, telling us what we could work out easily, little insight and badly missing the late Richie Benaud’s cool analysis and cricket memory, and Tony Greig for that matter. Little or no context about the historic broadcast.

In the morning Insiders (382,000 on News 24 and ABC and 552,000 nationally) again flattened the rest of the morning chats and talkies, especially rival program, The Bolt Report on Ten. Even his supporters seem to be tiring of the constant negativity and Mr Bolt telling us how clever he is. Offsiders (218,000, and 308,000 nationally) at 10am can take a big bow as well — it easily beat Bolt yesterday by around 100,000 viewers. In fact it nearly doubled his audience (113,000 at 10 am and 192,000 nationally).  SBS’s Food channel popped up for the first measured and reported night last night with a 1.3% share, and Nine’s new digital channel Nine Life had a 2.3% share. Seven is preparing to reshuffle its digital channels to match both. Otherwise it will be left behind. It has a digital narrowcast channel, 4Me with some content in place.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (36.4%)
  2. Nine (25.7%)
  3. Ten (15.6%)
  4. ABC (14.2%)
  5. SBS (8.1%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (29.2%)
  2. Seven (18.9%)
  3. Ten (10.2%)
  4. ABC (9.4%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.8%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. GO (3.7%)
  2. 7TWO (3.6%)
  3. Gem,7mate (3.3%)
  4. ONE (3.1%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Third Cricket Test, Day 3, Session 3 (Nine) — 2.356 million
  2.  Nine News — 1.960 million
  3.  Seven News — 1.839 million
  4. Third Cricket Test, Day 3, Session 2 (Nine) — 1.757 million
  5. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.466 million
  6. Third Cricket Test, Day 3, Session 1 (Nine) — 1.113 million
  7. The Force repeat (Seven) — 1,092 million
  8. The Force episode 2 repeat (Seven) — 1.052 million
  9. ABC News — 1.001 million
  10. TBL Families (Ten) — 913,000

Top metro programs:

  1. Third Cricket Test, Day 3, Session 3 (Nine) — 1.670 million
  2. Nine News — 1.459 million
  3. Seven News —  1.264 million
  4. Third Cricket Test, Day 4, Session 3 (Nine) —  1.222 million

Losers: Anyone who missed any of the Pink Ball test from Adelaide. It was a history making broadcast, and I don’t care if it was sport. It was an innovation that millions of Australians young and old and other ages enjoyed. Now what can you say about anything else that got that such support this year from viewers?Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Nine News — 1.459 million
  2. Seven News  —  1.264 million
  3. Sunday Night (Seven)  — 935,000
  4. 7pm ABC News –  679,000
  5. Ten Eyewitness News — 332,000
  6. SBS World News —132,000

Morning TV:

  1. Insiders (ABC, 287,000, plus 95,000 on News 24) — 382,000
  2. Weekend Today (Nine)  – 286,000
  3. Weekend Sunrise (Seven)  – 273,000
  4. Offsiders (ABC) — 218,000
  5. The Bolt Report (Ten) — 113,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Foxtel Movies Premiere (2.7%)
  2. TVHITS  (2.3%)
  3. Fox8, LifeStyle  (2.0%)
  4. Fox Sports 4 (1.8%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. A Place To Call Home (SoHo)  – 164,000
  2. American Sniper (Foxtel Movies) — 130,000
  3. 24 Hours in Emergency (LifeStyle) — 57,000
  4. The Simpsons (Fox8) — 66,000
  5. Grand Designs Australia (LifeStyle) – 55,000

*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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