The king is dead, long live My Kitchen Rules? Seven’s former ratings monster was a shadow of itself and became an also ran last night. Nine’s Married at First Sight (1.54 million) was the most watched non-news program in the metros and nationally and 5th in the regions. MKR was third with 1.53 million. Seven News (1.61 million nationally) was the most watched show nationally, but in the metros, Married was tops with 1.09 million with MKR third on 1.04 million. That was its lowest metro figure ever.

Seven was a narrow winner in overall and in the main channels, but Nine is the network making the gains. MKR is continuing to lose ground after starting this season around 1.8 million nationally, building to around 2 million, and then slumping. Married has built up from around 1.2 million and is now more than 1.5 million and holding its gains.

On the same Tuesday night in February of 2016, MKR was the winner (easily) with 2.13 million nationally, 1.44 million in the metros and 685,000 in the regions. On these figures, MKR has lost close to half a million viewers. This is now the biggest challenge for Seven management and the board – not fighting Amber Harrison. Kerry Stokes (chairman and biggest shareholder) needs to switch his attention to this problem. 800 Words (1.07 million, 639,000 metro and 433,000 regional viewers) dominated the 9pm timeslot and was the difference between a bad night for Seven and a neck and neck finish with Nine.

In the regions Seven News was top with 564,000, followed by Seven News/Today Tonight with 501,000, MKR was third with 486,000, followed by Home and Away with 478,000 and Married with Children was 5th with 458,000.

And look at 7.30 on the ABC – last night it managed just 721,000 nationally (908,000 a year ago on the same night), 469,000 in the metros, (612,000) and 252,000 in the regions (296,000). Yes there was a bit more political interest a year ago – but not much more.  And surely a younger skewing program like Married isn’t draining viewers from 7.30?

It has been a subpar start to 2017 by 7.30 and many of its evening news and current affairs programs. If this continues for much longer, even the ratings rejecting ABC might start wondering about a change in personnel. But the real story is that ABC TV has been drifting since Michelle Guthrie came on board as MD of the organisation and is still putting together a new structure, restructuring and cost cuts, which may well wipe out 2017. 

The two new additions to the ABC board are there to fight cultural wars, and will not help guide the management in making TV and radio programs that viewers and listeners (even in the core older demos) will watch, while making sure it maintains its the digital edge that former MD Mark Scott gave it. 7.30’s metro ratings last night were diabolical. The Project on Ten is a far more focused and relevant program so far as the TV audience (especially the remaining 16 to 49s are concerned), and that is showing in the ratings. And shouldn’t the ABC also try and attract younger viewers, as well as holding onto the core demos? — Read the rest on the Crikey website

Peter Fray

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