In terms of the first State of Origin game itself, last night was a snoozefest, no thrills or spills (one controversial refereeing decision, maybe another). No barneys or brawls. It was a dour, boring game. There more action in the after game moaning and groaning from the NSW coach than there was on field. But it was also the most watched Origin game yet in the metros with an audience of 2.708 million. As Americans say, go figure. Just why amid all the gloom and doom and the dullness of the game did so many people in metro Australia tune in? In Sydney it game Nine a 52.1% share of the audience, 59% in Brisbane and a very sold 25% in Melbourne, the heart of AFL Australia.

Nine of course won the night easily in metro and regional markets. Pay TV viewing was also impacted and not one channel had a share of  more than 2% of Foxtel’s audience when several usually do. And that was that.

The first Origin game had just on 4 million viewers — 3.951 million — not a record. With a record 2.708 million in the metros and 1.243 million in the regions. The all time national high was 4.194 million for game 3 in 2013.  The previous metro records were 2.698 million set in 2013 for game 3 and game 2 in 2014. The 3.951 million figure is now the target for the next two gapes to top, along with the NRL and AFL Grand Finals later in the year.

Masterchef did well for Ten against this juggernaut, with a national audience of 1.163 million. Mad As Hell was hit by Origin — its national audience was cut to 694,000, down around 300,000 people on earlier weeks.

In regional markets Origin was the most watched with 1.243 million viewers (not a record, around 253,000 short of the all time high), followed by the pre-Origin game audience of 852,000, then Seven News with 601,000, the post-Origin game averaged 589,000 and Home and Away was fifth with 485,000.

Today and Sunrise drew the breakfast shift in metro markets with 338,000 viewers. Sunrise won nationally by around 100,000 viewers.

Tonight. Rake, thank you and the debut of Cleverman, also on the ABC at 9.30pm. Watch both and get a few more laughs and thrills than last night’s Origin whale wrestle.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (45.0%)
  2. Seven (20.2%)
  3. Ten (17.2%)
  4. ABC (12.3%)
  5. SBS (5.2%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (38.0%)
  2. Seven (13.5%)
  3. Ten (13.2%)
  4. ABC (8.4%)
  5. SBS ONE (3.5%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7TWO (3.7%)
  2. Gem (3.2%)
  3. GO (2.5%)
  4. ABC2, Eleven (2.3%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Origin Game 1 (Nine) — 3.951 million
  2. Origin Pre-Game (Nine) — 2.635 million
  3. Origin Post-Game (Nine) — 2.089 million
  4. Seven News — 1.724 million
  5. Nine News — 1.567 million
  6. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.450 million
  7. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.274 million
  8. ABC News — 1.304 million
  9. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 1.178 million
  10. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.176million
  11. 7.30 (ABC) — 1.163 million

Top metro programs:

  1. Origin Game 1 (Nine) — 2.708 million
  2. Origin Pre-Game (Nine) — 1.781million
  3. Origin Post-Game (Nine) — 1.479 million
  4. Seven News — 1.122 million
  5. Nine News — 1.094 million
  6. Nine News 6.30 — 1.086 million

Losers: Origin was a sluggish, boring game, but it grabbed the audience in record numbers. Ten battled on with Masterchef. Seven ran dead. House Rules is on tonight (‘a special night”, to quote Seven’s spiel, “special” in that the first Origin game is not on Nine).

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.122 million
  2. Nine News — 1.094 million
  3. Nine News (6.30pm) — 1.086 million
  4. Seven News/Today Tonight — 995,000
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) – 959,000
  6. ABC News – 772,000
  7. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 731,000
  8. 7.30 (ABC) — 564,000
  9. Ten Eyewitness News — 541,000
  10. The Project 6.30pm (Ten) — 505,000

Morning TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven),Today (Nine) – 338,000
  2. News Breakfast (ABC,  129,000 + 47,000 on News 24) — 176,000
  3. The Morning Show (Seven) — 145,000
  4. Today Extra (Nine) — 129,000
  5. Studio 10 (Ten) — 82,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. TVHITS  (1.9%)
  2. Disney Jr (1.8%)
  3. Fox8  (1.7%)
  4. UKTV (1.6%)
  5. LifeStyle  (1.5%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. Doc McStuffins (Disney Jr) — 83,000
  2. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy) – 76,000
  3. NRL: 360 (FoxSports 1) — 70,000
  4. Family Guy (Fox8) — 62,000
  5. The Simpsons (Fox8) – 61,000

*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 repor

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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