A tale of two very different markets in TV last night. In the metros Seven edged Nine in total people and the main channels. Nine (thanks to The Block) did much better in the demos), with Ten also competitive. But in the regions, it was Seven first and daylight second and third.

In the metros Seven had an overall share of 29.5% to Nine’s 27.1% and a main channel share of 19.8% to Nine’s 19.5%. In the regions Seven had a total share of 37.2% and a main channel share of 23.9%. Nine’s overall share was 23.9%, with a main channel share of just 15.8%).

To further emphasise the split nature of the market, in the metros the ABC had a bigger total people share of Ten, which pipped the ABC for third in the main channels. But in the regions Ten was a clear (but narrow) third overall and in the main channels, pushing the ABC to fourth. It was a confusing night for anyone looking for a ’trend’.

We also saw this with the most watched programs in the regions. The top 5 were all Seven programs. Seven News, 585,000, The Secret Daughter, 558,000, Home and Away, 583,000, Seven News/Today Tonight, 483,000, The X Factor, 475,000. This dominance boosted the national figures for The Secret Daughter to 1.394 in million and third place across the country. The X Factor’s audience was boosted to 1.231 million nationally from the weak 756,000 in the metros, Home and Away saw its audience jump to 1.207 million nationally and Seven News’s audience in the metros of 1.017 million and number 1, was boosted to 1.602 million (and tops) nationally). Nine’s The Block hung in there with 1.320 million on a normally weak Monday night. Australian Survivor finally gained the million viewer mark the night before its finale tonight with 1.039 nationally (and 750,000 in the metros).

Seven’s News from 6 to 7pm was again dominant (thanks especially to Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the regions). Nine is under pressure, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. Don’t be surprised at changes at Nine at 6 pm, and in the 5.30 lead in, Millionaire Hot Seat. Time to ‘bone’ Eddie McGuire?

Now here’s news all networks will be watching closely. If this works and satisfies the demands of broadcast media and their advertising and market clients, TV ratings at all levels are about to undergo a revolution in the US – and eventually in Australia (but not for some time). Nielsen, the company that does US and Australian ratings (here for Oztam, owned by Seven, Nine and Ten) is about to start measuring out of home viewing- a development that will eventually boost the size of audiences of live events by tens of millions of people, especially sport (NRL and AFL and cricket in Australia for instance) and gridiron, baseball, hockey and basketball in the US).

Subscribers to the service will receive audience estimates that combine in-home TV viewing, based on Nielsen’s national TV ratings panel, with out-of-home viewing based on use of its Portable People Meter technology and panelists (more than 75,000 of them which are currently used for radio ratings). The company says it expects to launch the National TV Out-of-Home Measurement Service next April, with data effective in January. Data back to September 2016 will be added shortly after launch. The new offering will launch as a stand-alone service, but Nielsen plans to incorporate out-of-home viewing directly into its national television ratings in the future.

The big brawl will come as TV and cable companies use the data in the next couple of years to try and force advertisers to pay more for higher audiences. Marketing companies and their advisers in the US at least, claim current ad costs on TV and cable assume a large number of viewers of events such as live sport, outside the home. This year’s SuperBowl game in the US had a measured audience estimated at  114 million. But some analysts claim the real figure is over 150 million. This new system will eventually provide an estimated national audience in the US from all venues(not counting streaming). Advertisers say the $US4.5 million to $US5 million cost for a broadcast during the game itself, already includes estimated out of home viewing. But until we have a more accurate figure for out of home viewing, this argument is moot. — Click here to read Glenn Dyer’s full TV Ratings. 

Peter Fray

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