Ahh, the Ashes -- the rattle of Australian wickets, the thud of ball on pad for LBW’s, the snick of ball on Australian bat, the faint but reassuring dancing of Steve Smith as he dragged his team out of a hole. By the time I bedded, it was 8 for 124, so imagine my surprise to awaken at the score 284 and England batting when 130 looked along way off. The first session saw 932,000 watch on 9 and 9Gem. The second session after Lunch saw 503,000 watch (that’s very solid figure). Lunch by the way was watched by 635,000 nationally -- so 30% of the first session audience had vanished because of the inept Australian batting.
The Cricket World Cup recently saw viewing figures for the Lunch break broken out by Nine and Foxtel. Now Nine is doing it in the tests. It’s done to tell advertisers just how many people could be watching their ads. As in AFL with quarter and half time and the NRL and Rugby Union with half time -- the breaks are important ad breaks for the networks where more can be crammed in than during play -- though cricket now has two ads after every over and one after every wicket; so at least Nine made a lot of money out of Australia’s inept display! Seven’s The Front Bar averaged 469,000 nationally and 197,000 in Melbourne -- that was down 80,000 to 100,000 because of the Test on Nine.
So the night was Nine’s and nothing else mattered and it will be that way through the weekend, if Australia improves. If it doesn’t then it will be a tough haul for team and network alike. In regional markets it was Seven’s 6pm News with 562,000, Seven News/TT with 547,000, The Chase Australia 5.30pm with 333,000, Home and Away with 332,000 and ACA with 308,000.