Image: (AAP Image/Albert Perez)

What happens if it was your last chance to broadcast an event that supposedly stops the nation, and most other big viewing events of the year (from episode finales to sporting grand finals) have flopped in terms of audience appeal, or seen big slides in viewing figures? Well that’s the position Seven found itself in yesterday leading up to its broadcast of the Melbourne Cup before Ten gets it in 2019.

But luckily for Seven, and no doubt for Ten, the TV audience for the Cup held up — 2.48 million nationally against 2.49 million last year. And remember, like the AFL and NRL Grand Finals, the viewing audience at home for the Cup isn’t the whole story — out of home viewing includes clubs, pubs, offices, bars, streaming online and mobile. The audience measurement is tough, and the figures always understate the real audience.

There was a sort of halo effect, but Seven had better programming last night. The Good Doctor averaged 1.01 million, its best figures this season. Seven News dominated from 6-7pm. Bride and Prejudice: The Forbidden Weddings averaged 1.05 million. Seven’s night, though ABC again had more viewers than Ten, sharing the main channels.

In regional markets, it was the Cup with 653,000 (down from 701,000 for 2017), then Seven News/Today Tonight with 543,000, Seven News with 540,000, the Cup presentation with 514,000 and the Cup pre-race (mounting yard) with 455,000.

Network channel share:

  1. Seven (32.7%)
  2. Nine (25.5%)
  3. ABC (16.9%)
  4. Ten (16.5%)
  5. SBS (8.4%)

Network main channels:

  1. Seven (24.0%)
  2. Nine (16.2%)
  3. ABC, Ten (11.8%)
  4. SBS ONE (5.9%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. GO (5.0%)
  2. 7mate (3.8%)
  3. 10Boss (3.0%)
  4. 7TWO (2.8%)
  5. ABC Kids/Comedy (2.7%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. The Melbourne Cup (Seven) — 2.489 million
  2. The Melbourne Cup – Presentation (Seven) — 1.953 million
  3. The Melbourne Cup – Mounting Yard (Seven) — 1.696 million
  4. Seven News — 1.615 million
  5. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.580 million
  6. Nine/NBN News 6.30 — 1.166 million
  7. Nine/NBN News — 1.163 million
  8. 7pm ABC News — 1.059 million
  9. Bride and Prejudice _The Forbidden Weddings (Seven) — 1.057 million
  10. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.015 million

Top metro programs:

  1. The Melbourne Cup (Seven) — 1.836 million
  2. The Melbourne Cup – Presentation (Seven) — 1.439 million
  3. The Melbourne Cup pre-race (Mounting Yard)  (Seven) —1.241 million
  4. Seven News — 1.075 million
  5. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.037 million

Losers: No one really except one poor horse in the cup.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.075 million
  2. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.037 million
  3. Nine News — 889,000
  4. Nine News 6.30 — 887,000
  5. 7pm ABC News — 719,000
  6. A Current Affair (Nine) – 717,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 629,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 481,000
  9. Ten News First — 385,000
  10. The Project 6.30pm (Ten) — 309,000

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 477,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 320,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC, ABC News) — 269,000
  4. Mornings (Nine) — 164,000
  5. Studio 10 (Ten) — 74,000

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. Paul Murray Live (Sky News) — 72,000
  2. Jones & Co Sky News) — 69,000
  3. Melbourne Cup (Sky Racing) — 61,000
  4. Back Page (Fox Sports) — 55,000
  5. The Battle of The River Plate (Foxtel Classics) — 49,000

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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