It was an easy win for Seven in the regions, and a bit closer in the metros where Seven finished in front in total people. Masterchef Australia grabbed good demos, Nine did better thanks to the AFL Footy Show and the NRL game, but Cleaver Greene was greeted like along lost friend by viewers, though not as enthusiastically by those in regional viewers.

Rake was back to its improbable best in the first episode of the new series. In the metros Rake almost beat the Queen’s Birthday Celebration program on Seven and dusted the NRL on Nine and Gogglebox Australia on Ten, once Masterchef had finished around 8.40pm. Rake had 895,000 national viewers (but only 243,000 in the regions), the Queen’s 90th celebrations had 1.040 million, Masterchef Australia, 1.243 million, Goggle Box, 871,000 and the NRL game, 726,000 (including the small audience on Gem). In the metros Rake managed 653,000 viewers, The Queen, 675,000, Masterchef Australia, 908,000, Goggle Box Australia, 582,000 and the NRL game, 426,000, including Gem.

In the regions, Seven’s dominance continued. Seven News was tops with 635,000 viewers, followed by Home and Away with 522,000, Seven News/ Today Tonight with 500,000, The Chase Australia 5.30pm with 477,000 and Nine News with 407,000. On pay TV, Sky News had another good night with The Bolter’s program grabbing 50,000 viewers at 7pm and Paul Murray’s 39,000 a little later in the night.

And as interesting as the new netball deal is, it has to be remembered that Saturday night is the low point for TV viewing, especially on Free To Air TV and especially for Nine. Autumn, winter and early spring viewing is dominated by sport (AFL, NRL soccer and Rugby Union), while in summer it is cricket – One day internationals and Big Bash games – plus tennis and soccer which dominate. Nine doesn’t have a sport for  Saturday nights for autumn winter and early spring. The network did with its first bid for the NRL, but it gave up the right to one Saturday night game to Fox Sports/Foxtel in exchange for $25 million a year (the deal allowed Nine to establish a Thursday night NRL game and allows Foxtel to co-broadcast NRL games, as it does with Seven in the AFL). Nine has programmed Saturday nights with low cost movies (as Seven does in non-AFL markets) to cut costs. The netball coverage will raise costs at a time when revenue is under pressure. But Nine obviously feels the need to improve the demographics of its already shrinking Sydney night audiences and it is looking to netball to achieve this with the five year contract.

Network channel share:

  1. Seven (28.9%)
  2. Nine (27.2%)
  3. Ten (20.3%)
  4. ABC (18.1%)
  5. SBS (5.6%)

Network main channels:

  1. Seven (20.3%)
  2. Nine (18.7%)
  3. Ten (15.4%)
  4. ABC (12.6%)
  5. SBS ONE (3.3%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. GO (4.9%)
  2. 7TWO (3.9%)
  3. ABC 2, 7mate (3.0%)
  4. ONE (2.7%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.691 million
  2. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.348 million
  3. Nine News — 1.402 million
  4. Masterchef Australia (Ten) — 1.243 million
  5. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.224 million
  6. ABC News — 1.169 million
  7. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 1.112 million
  8. Queen’s Birthday Celebrations (Seven) — 1.040 million
  9. A Current Affair (Nine) — 975,000
  10. Nine News 6.30 — 929,000

Top metro programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.055 million

Losers: No one really, there was more than enough choice on TV last night.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.055 million
  2. Nine News 994,000
  3. Seven News/Today Tonight — 930,000 million
  4. Nine News (6.30pm) — 929,000
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) – 819,000
  6. ABC News – 805,000
  7. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 586,000
  8. 7.30 (ABC) — 582,000
  9. Ten Eyewitness News — 520,000
  10. The Project 6.30pm (Ten) — 497,000

Morning TV:

  1. Today (Nine) –358,000
  2. Sunrise (Seven) – 317,000
  3. Today Extra (Nine) — 152,000
  4. News Breakfast (ABC,  99,000 + 52,000 on News 24) — 151,000
  5. The Morning Show (Seven) — 150,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 76,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox Sports 1 (3.1%)
  2. LifeStyle, TVHITS  (1.8%)
  3. Sky News (1.7%)
  4. Fox8, UKTV (1.6%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. NRL Souths v St George (Fox Sports 1) — 208,000
  2. NRL Thursday (Fox Sports 1 — 132,000
  3. NRL Thursday (Fox Sports 1 — 132,000
  4. AFL: 360  (Fox Footy) – 96,000
  5. NRL: 360  (Fox Sports 1) – 67,000

*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.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey