Another series of The Block, another very dominant win for Nine, a better ratings effort than a year ago. It’s the end of the ratings year for the network and the annual meeting of shareholders is tomorrow. There’s pressure on executive pay packages, the cricket is tanking, bring on summer and 2017.

The Block will end up at the most watched non-sports program of 2016 with 2.970 million national viewers and 2.104 million in the metros- higher than the network would have though after the fade in 2015 brought about by the ratings overkill by Nine management in running two series in the one year.  That was because Nine’s ratings fell in a hole in late 2015 and needed support from the network’s highest rating program.

That in turn left Nine under-resourced at the start of the year and it got creamed by Seven and has lost the year, comprehensively. The Block provides bragging rights and a late boost, but advertisers have put Nine on notice to improve next year or face financial penalties. Nine boss Hugh Marks has acknowledged that by promising to improve program scheduling in 2017, and a bigger spend.

60 Minutes’ figures were dragged up by having the finale of The Block as a lead-in, but that didn’t really help. One million viewers nationally turned off from the end of The Block through 60 Minutes. The program averaged a high 1.9 million, but it was a rating built on paying for the interview with Gable Tostee who turned out to be a singularly unattractive person with no redeeming features. Like the adventures of 60 Minutes in Beirut, it is one of the lowlights for the program.

Flop of the night was The X Factor. Yes it was squeezed last night by The Block, but it was still a poor effort and indicative of the problems with the ageing format and its meaning for viewers in the core demos. To attract just 868,000 national viewers and 559,000 in the metros tells us that there is no support for the program in core viewing demos it is aimed at. They were off blocking out their property fortunes on Nine. And speaking of property and cash, the contestants last night took home $2.835 million allow up, up on the $2.539 million taken for the second series in 2015 screened a year ago, but well under (around 10%) the $3.165 million taken for the first series of 2015 which ended in April of last year.

And at midday, Landline got 459,000 national viewers. It is continues to show the rest of the ABC and the commercial networks  how to explain what is happening in regional Australia. For all the talk and chat about Donald Trump, big city elites, urban media (of which all those Trump supporters work for) and One Nation, Landline does more each week showing us the reality of a large part of the country which is invisible every other day of the week unless there is bad news (cue the floods, drought, global warming, some disease, poverty, poor people etc etc). Explaining how regional Australians are coping with a lot of stress, and doing more to improve themselves than we realise (and their lazy political representatives care to acknowledge, except in political partisan terms). No one wonder many people in regional Australia reckon their fellow, urbanised Australians are bunch of bankers. It deserves more resources.

The winner’s part of The Block was the most watched program in regional areas last night with 866,000, followed by the Grand Final lead in with 670,000, then 60 Minutes with 624,000, Seven News was fourth with 536,000 and Sunday Night was fifth with 441,000.

Ten continues to drift towards summer and The Big Bash Cricket. Ten has now finished fourth in the past two weeks in total people behind the ABC in third spot, making it doubly insulting. The ABC’s line up is very weak as it runs out of new programs (like its commercial mates) so late in the ratings year. It was pushed into fourth spot again last night by a weak ABC line up (a repeat of Grand Designs, Poldark and Jamaica Inn — programming from and for the ageing.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (39.6%)
  2. Seven (26.0%)
  3. ABC (14.7%)
  4. Ten (14.1%)
  5. SBS (5.6%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (30.4%)
  2. Seven (16.8%)
  3. ABC (10.5%)
  4. Ten (9.5%)
  5. SBS ONE (3.7%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7TWO (5.4%)
  2. GO (4.7%)
  3. ABC 2 (2.6%)
  4. Gem, ONE (2.4%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. The Block Winner (Nine)  — 2.970 million
  2. The Block – Grand Final (Nine) — 2.382 million
  3. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.906 million
  4. Seven News (Seven) — 1.634 million
  5. Nine News — 1.417 million
  6. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.211 million
  7. ABC News — 1.203 million
  8. Grand Designs repeat (ABC) — 964,000
  9. The X Factor (Nine) — 868,000
  10. Murder in Melbourne (Nine) — 781,000

Top metro programs:

  1. The Block Winner (Nine)  — 2.104 million
  2. The Block – Grand Final (Nine) — 1.712 million
  3. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.332 million
  4. Seven News — 1.086 million
  5. Nine News — 1.013 million

Losers: The X Factor on Seven — fading to black.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.332 million
  2. Seven News — 1.086 million
  3. Nine News — 1.013 million
  4. ABC News – 790,000
  5. Sunday Night (Seven) — 770,000
  6. Ten Eyewitness News — 405,000
  7. SBS World News  — 193,000

Morning TV:

  1. Insiders (ABC, 287,000, 121,000 on News 24) — 408,000
  2. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) — 326,000
  3. Landline (ABC) — 268,000
  4. Weekend Today (Nine) — 244,000
  5. Offsiders (ABC) — 169,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. TVHITS  (1.9%)
  2. Fox Sports 1, UKTV, Fox8, Foxtel Movies  (1.5%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. A Place To Call Home (showcase) — 128,000
  2. A League: Sydney v Perth  (Fox Sports 4) — 66,000
  3. Saving Private Ryan (Foxtel Movies) — 51,000
  4. PJ Masks (Disney Jr) — 47,000
  5. Blaze And The Monster Machines (Nick Jr) — 47,000

*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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