The audience for the country’s biggest annual sporting event — the three game State of Origin Rugby League series — seems to have hit its natural peak and is now on the way down, especially in regional areas of NSW and Queensland, one of Rugby league’s supposed heartlands. 

That could be the take from the weak figures for the first two games of the 2017 series. Queensland’s win in a thriller last night in Game 2 of Origin, but not for Nine where the audience fell on the first game, won by NSW. It was only down 44,000 viewers, but with the build up and the chance of a NSW win, you would expect a lot more viewers to tune in. They did in the metros, where the audience rose 32,000. But the regional audience dipped to 1.10 million from 1.17 million for game one.  In fact,  like game one,  game two’s audience last night was the lowest audience since 2011. 

The return of Mad as Hell on the ABC managed 793,000 nationally for its return last night — not bad against origin. And being a NSW fan, Mad As Hell was definitely the night’s winner! Nine’s night in metros and regionals, of course. Origin dominated the regions. First place with 1.10 million for the game, 717,000 for the pre-match, Seven News was third with 650,000. The post origin wrap was fourth with 629,000 and Home and Away was fifth with 511,000.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (45.0%)
  2. Seven (21.3%)
  3. Ten (15.0%)
  4. ABC (13.3%)
  5. SBS (5.4%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (28.3%)
  2. Seven (14.0%)
  3. Ten (10.7%)
  4. ABC (9.3%)
  5. SBS ONE (3.4%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7mate, Gem (2.9%)
  2. 7TWO (2.6%)
  3. ONE (2.3%)
  4. ABC 2 (2.2%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. State of Origin – Game 2 (Nine) — 3.48 million 
  2. State of Origin – Pre- Match (Nine) — 2.16 million 
  3. State of Origin – Post-Match (Nine) — 1.83 million 
  4. Seven News — 1.75 million *
  5. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.55 million
  6. Nine/NBN News — 1.29 million
  7. Nine/NBN News (6.30pm)— 1.27 million *
  8. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.22 million *
  9. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.20 million
  10. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 1.11 million

Pre-empted by the Origin Game – Seven News in Tasmania

Top metro programs:

  1. State of Origin – Game 2 (Nine) — 2.38 million 
  2. State of Origin – Pre- Match (Nine) — 1.44 million
  3. State of Origin – Post-Match (Nine) — 1.20 million 
  4. Seven News — 1.10 million
  5. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.04 million
  6. Nine News — 1.00 million

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.10 million 
  2. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.04 million
  3. Nine News — 1.00 million
  4. Nine News (6.30pm) — 956,000 *
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) — 854,000 *
  6. 7pm ABC News – 918,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 776,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 613,000
  9. Ten Eyewitness News — 500,000
  10. The Project 6.30pm (Ten) — 451,000

*Pre-empted by the Origin Game – Seven News in Tasmania

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 505,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 429,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC,  163,000 + 93,000 on News 24) — 256,000
  4. The Morning Show (Seven) — 223,000
  5. Today Extra (Nine) — 166,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 131,000

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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