More problems for Ten — revenue is weak, profits are non existent and The Biggest Loser: Transformed is flopping, as are US imports such as This is Us, Homeland and 24:Legacy. A new problem has emerged at 6pm, with the usually reliable Family Feud having faded to the point where its future is in danger. Ten this week stopped simulcasting it One and Eleven without telling anyone.  It is running repeats (or ‘encores’) of The Biggest Loser in the late afternoon on ONE and or Eleven to try attract more viewers, but it can’t disguise the collapse in Family Feud’s ratings.

On Wednesday night it averaged 479,000 national viewers (313,000 in the metros and 149,000 in the regions). A year ago it averaged 720,000 nationally, 541,000 in the metros and 179,000 in the regions (including an unknown number watching the simulcast on One and Eleven). The drop at a national level is 291,000 or 40%, while in the metros its 42% or 228,000. Underlining Family Feud’s problems, its national figure fell to 328,000 last night, with 281,000 watching in the metros. 

The only parts of Ten’s evening line up maintaining their figures are the 5 to 6pm news and The Project at 7pm. The 6.30 first part of the Project hasn’t cracked 400,000 so far this year . If daylight saving was a factor (it generally depresses ratings for both breakfast TV and the evening news) then Family Feud’s figures would be roughly unchanged this year from the same week in 2016. They aren’t and like so many other parts of the Ten schedule, its ratings are sliding, along with revenues.

The Biggest Loser isn’t Transformed. Last night saw just 542,000 watch, down from the 611,000 for the Tuesday night debut, and 387,000 metro viewers, down from a peak of 453,000 on Wednesday night. When Ten was running I’m a Celebrity on Thursday nights it regularly cracked the million metro viewer mark.

Who would have thought the most gripping thing on TV last night was the last minute drama in Nine’s NRL game as the Melbourne Storm broke Brisbane’s heart with a late try (the ball bounced off a Bronco player’s head and into the hands of a Melbourne player) and then a tough conversion from the sideline by Cameron Smith and victory. It had 821,000 national viewers and helped The Footy Show to average a high 697,000 from 9.50pm onwards in Sydney and Brisbane and 8.30 elsewhere for the AFL Show (which has made a slow start to year with 174,000 last night after 1,999 a couple of weeks ago). It moves to Wednesday nights next week with Seven starting the AFL on Thursday night.

But then there was Newton’s Law (729,000) on the ABC . The story line was current, well done and with some nice touches. And in breakfast, another weak effort from Today as it was again trounced by Sunrise. Sunrise had 544,000 national and 323,000 metro viewers. Today had 421,000 national and 274,000 metro viewers. Time to add another gazillion dollars to the cash giveaway Nine, because what you are now doing isn’t grabbing viewers.

Overall it was Nine’s night in the metros, not so solid in the regionals, but the NRL is starting to come into its own in the regions of NSW and Queensland. Add in the 263,000 who watched on Fox Sports last night and the total audience for the game was a very solid 1.26 million. Next Thursday, the NRL goes head to head with the AFL – on Nine, Seven and Fox Sports. The third test cricket averaged a solid 203,000 in the Fox Sports wilderness areas last night for the final session, up against the NRL.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (29.7%)
  2. Seven (27.5%)
  3. Ten (19.2%)
  4. ABC (17.2%)
  5. SBS (6.4%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (21.0%)
  2. Seven (16.6%)
  3. Ten (13.4%)
  4. ABC (11.6%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.5%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7TWO (4.4%)
  2. ONE (3.5%)
  3. GO (3.3%)
  4. 7mate (3.2%)
  5. ABC 2 (3.1%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News  — 1.477 million
  2. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.333 million
  3. Nine News (6.30) — 1.106 million
  4. Nine News — 1.104 million
  5. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.069 million
  6. 7pm ABC News — 1.058 million
  7. Gogglebox Australia (Ten) —994,000
  8. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 926,000
  9. NRL (Nine/Gem) — 907,000
  10. 7.30 (ABC) — 815,000

Top metro programs: None with a million or more viewers

Losers: Ten – The Biggest Loser.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News —921,000
  2. Seven News/Today Tonight — 877,000
  3. Nine News  — 849,000
  4. Nine News (6.30) — 834,000
  5. 7pm ABC News — 729,000
  6. A Current Affair (Nine) — 565,000*
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 561,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 441,000
  9. Ten Eyewitness News — 431,000
  10. The Project 6.30pm (Ten) — 276,000

*Pre-empted by the NRL in Brisbane

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 544,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 421,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC,  163,000 + 81,000 on News 24) — 244,000
  4. The Morning Show (Seven) — 231,000
  5. Today Extra (Nine) — 176,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 125,000

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. NRL: Melbourne v Brisbane (Fox League) — 263,000
  2. Cricket: 3rd Test, India v Australia, Day 1 (Fox Sports 503) — 203,000
  3. Cricket: 3rd Test, India v Australia, Day 1 (Fox Sports 503) — 174,000
  4. The Late Show With Matty Johns (Fox League) — 148,000
  5. Cricket: 3rd Test, India v Australia, Day 1(Fox Sports 503) — 135,000

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey