The NRL season started in Sydney last night with the temperature around 26 degrees, which is what it was close to midday. In other words, sweaty madness and sweaty blokes and it felt uncomfortable watching the whales — the Eels and Broncos — bouncing off other around on the grass. It was hard work, and rehydration was the key word and post match event. The Broncos won, but who cares, they should have been playing water polo in the humid Sydney evening. Whale wresting all the way to October.

Nine won the metros thanks to the NRL rating well in Sydney and Brisbane. Seven won total people in the regions, Nine easily won the metros. Digging out the NRL data from  the national figures was hard because Nine and WIN did not obviously talk before hand about the same coding for metro and regional figures. But after the excavation was over, the NRL averaged 959,000 viewers for the game on Nine’s main channel, Gem, and WIN (under two different codes for Queensland and NSW). That’s a solid audience for a Thursday night for the first game of the season (it was seventh most watched program nationally).

Add in the 210,000 who watched the game on Fox Sports 1 (the first NRL game to be simulcast) and the total audience was 1.169 million people. The game was the most watched program on Pay TV last night, again underlining the importance of the NRL to the fortunes of Foxtel Fox Sports and the Murdoch empire’s News Corp Australia and News Corp (remember all of Rupert Murdoch’s tosh and rubbish last year about how the NRL wasn’t important, the AFL was?). The AFL’s NAB Cup game last night on Pay TV’s Fox Footy averaged just 75,000 people for what was essentially a basic trial match between the coasts: West Coast and the Gold Coast.

Ten’s I’m A Celebrity averaged 957,000 national viewers, well behind Home and Away which averaged 1.165 million. Both were the most watched non-news and NRL programs last night. In the regions, the most watched programs were: Home and Away, 457,000; The Chase Australia 5.30pm 405,000; Nine News, 349,000; ABC News, 348,000 and Jack Irish, 297,000.

Nine News won the night in the metros. In the morning Nine’s Today with 341,000 metro viewers, beat Sunrise with 302,000.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (29.7%)
  2. Seven (27.7%)
  3. Ten (19.0%)
  4. ABC (17.8%)
  5. SBS (5.8%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (21.2%)
  2. Seven (19.0%)
  3. Ten (14.0%)
  4. ABC (13.1%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.0%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7TWO (4.4%)
  2. GO (3.5%)
  3. ABC 2 (2.9%)
  4. Gem (2.8%)
  5. 7mate, Eleven (2.7%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Nine News — 1.334 million
  2. Seven News — 1.193 million
  3. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.165 million
  4. ABC News — 1,107 million
  5. 7.30 (ABC) — 974,000
  6. Nine News 6.30 — 961,000
  7. NRL: Parramatta v Brisbane (Nine) — 959,000
  8. Seven News/ Today Tonight — 957,000
  9. I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here (Ten) — 957,000
  10. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 923,000

Top metro programs: Not one with a million or more viewers.

Losers: The NRL’s start to the season was predictable, the rest of the night’s TV was predictable. Celebrity should have really done better.Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.100 million
  2. Seven News/ Today Tonight — 1.093 million
  3. Nine News (6.30pm) — 1.037 million
  4. Nine News — 1.022 million
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) – 965,000
  6. ABC News – 918,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 776,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 613,000
  9. Ten Eyewitness News — 500,000
  10. The Project 6.30pm (Ten) — 451,000

Morning TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 309,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 291,000
  3. The Morning Show (Seven) — 158,000
  4. News Breakfast (ABC 1,  103,000 + 554,000 on News 24) — 158,000
  5. Mornings (Nine) — 122,000
  6. Studio 1o (Ten) — 50,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox Sports 1 (3.6%)
  2. LifeStyle, TV HITS  (2.3%)
  3. Fox 8  (2.0%)
  4. Arena (1.6%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. NRL: Parramatta v Brisbane (Fox Sports 1) — 210,000
  2. NRL: Thursday Night Football  (Fox Sports 1) – 139,000
  3. AFL: NAB Challenge, West Coast v Gold Coast (Fox Footy) — 75,000
  4. Grand Designs NZ (LifeStyle) — 65,000
  5. NRL: Thursday Night Football  (Fox Sports 1) – 64,000

*Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2016. 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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