Up at the Willoughby, the Sydney HQ of the Nine Network they were confident that The Block would return last night bigger and stronger and rate its socks off. The confidence about the return of this ratings giant for its 13th season was firm, unlike the hesitancy about how Australian Ninja Warriors would go (it flattened the opposition). Unfortunately for Nine and Ten the royalist streak in Australians — especially female viewers — emerged thanks to the appearance of Princes William and especially Harry in the ITV special on Princess Diana that was the Sunday Night program on Seven last night. 

The ITV doco had 2 million national viewers making it the second most watched program after Seven News and the most watched after 7pm — it had 1.334 million in the metros (No. 1 on the night) and 666,000 in the regionals (second most watched after Seven News). The Block managed a solid 1.616 million nationally — 1.117 million in the metros and 499,000 in the regions. Australian Survivor was watched by 639,000 metros viewers, 190,000 in the regions for a weak 839,000 nationally. One thing to remember is that The Block starts slowly as viewers dip in and out as the story is established and audiences build as the backbiting develops.

And why did Seven code (for the ratings) a doco as Sunday Night with an intro from Mel Doyle done in London on a recent trip? Easy. It boosts Sunday Night’s audience figures for the year in the battle with 60 Minutes on Nine. High ratings means more money in ad revenues. 

The result was Seven easily won the night as the special flattened the return of The Block and squashed Australian Survivor — which if it doesn’t improve soon will be lucky to be seen next year. A million national viewers first up would have been more impressive. Nine quite rightly pointed out that The Block won the demos, which it did, but the Diana doco won the night because of its appeal to female and older viewers. So much for the triumphal march of the returning series of The Block. It will do this time round — it is more than a match for the confected stuff that is now Australian Survivor on Ten. 

Network channel share:

  1. Seven (35.1%)
  2. Nine (30.9%)
  3. Ten (15.1%)
  4. ABC (14.0%)
  5. SBS (4.8%)

Network main channels:

  1. Seven (26.9%)
  2. Nine (22.7%)
  3. Ten (10.4%)
  4. ABC (9.7%)
  5. SBS ONE (3.4%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. GO (3.6%)
  2. 7mate (3.2%)
  3. Eleven (2.7%)
  4. 7flix (2.6%)
  5. 7TWO, Gem (2.4%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News  — 2.002 million
  2. Sunday Night (Seven) — 2.000 million
  3. The Block (Nine) — 1.616 million
  4. Nine News — 1.585 million
  5. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.223 million
  6. ABC News — 1.070 million
  7. Movie: The Dressmaker (Seven) — 1.035 million
  8. Australian Survivor (Ten) — 839,000
  9. Grand Designs NZ (ABC) — 752,000
  10. Poldark (ABC) — 700,000

Top metro programs:

  1. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.335 million
  2. Seven News — 1.303 million
  3. Nine News — 1.164 million
  4. The Block – Return (Nine)  — 1.117 million

Losers: Australian Survivor, Ten.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.335 million
  2. Seven News — 1.303 million
  3. Nine News — 1.164 million
  4. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 813,000
  5. ABC News – 740,000
  6. Ten News — 298,000
  7. SBS World News  — 163,000

Morning TV:

  1. Insiders (ABC 1,  103,000 + 554,000 on News 24) — 158,000
  2. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) — 469,000
  3. Weekend Today (Nine) —410,000
  4. Landline (ABC) — 399,000
  5. Sports Sunday (Seven) — 281,000
  6. Offsiders (Nine) — 238,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox Footy  (4.2%)
  2. Fox League  (3.5%)
  3. Fox Sports 506  (3.4%)
  4. Fox Sports 503 (2.6%)
  5. TVHITS (2.4%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. AFL: Footscray v Essendon (Fox Footy) — 186,000
  2. NRL: Gold Coast v Wests (Fox League) — 179,000
  3. AFL: Collingwood v Adelaide (Fox Sports 503) — 175,000
  4. NRL: Melbourne v Manly (Fox League) — 172,000
  5. F1: Hungary GP (Fox Sports 506) — 141,000

*Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2013. 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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