NRL rugby tv ratings footy
Reagan Campbell-Gillard of the Eels (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

The NRL season started on Nine last night, not with a bang but with less than a whimper.

Compared to the first game of 2019 between the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, which was watched by 849,000 people nationally, last night’s Parramatta-Canterbury game attracted 680,000, a slide of 20%. Nasty.

The Foxtel audience also fell from 334,000 a year ago to 242,000 last night, a fall of 28%. Even nastier. There was poor publicity ahead of the game involving the Canterbury, but apart from that the pain for the NRL and Nine was self-inflicted by not starting with a Queensland side in the first game of the new season. 

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The 7pm ABC News with 1.04 million nationally had another big win over the struggling A Current Affair (735,000). ACA lost ground in the metros and in the regions. The ABC News also squeezed by the 6.30pm to 7pm part of the Nine/NBN News (1.04 million). 

In breakfast, the ABC’s News Breakfast gathered its highest ever non-election program of 311,000 and easily beat, for the second time this week, Nine’s Today with 300,000. News Breakfast also beat Today in the metros for the second time this week with 207,000 viewers to Today’s 192,000. Has the clock started ticking for Today’s Karl Stefanovic?

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (26.7%)
  2. Seven (25.5%)
  3. Ten (21.7%)
  4. ABC (17.7%)
  5. SBS (8.5%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (19.3%)
  2. Seven (16.4%)
  3. Ten (15.4%)
  4. ABC (10.7%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.9%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7mate (3.8%)
  2. 7TWO (3.6%)
  3. 10 Bold (3.4%)
  4. ABC News (3.3%)
  5. ABC Kids/Comedy (3.1%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News  — 1.395 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.374 million 
  3. Nine/NBN News   — 1.049 million
  4. 7pm ABC News —1.045 million
  5. Nine/NBN News 6.30  — 1.040  million
  6. Home and Away (Seven) — 928,000
  7. Gogglebox Australia (Ten) — 835,000
  8. 7.30(ABC) — 829,000
  9. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 740,000
  10. ACA (Nine) — 735,000

Top metro programs: None with a million or more viewers

Losers: Nine, NRL — no Queensland team in season opener so second biggest market didn’t care.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News  —909,000
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 879,000
  3. Nine News  —791,000
  4. Nine News 6.30 — 784,000
  5. 7pm ABC News —712,000
  6. 7.30 (ABC) —550,000
  7. ACA (Nine) — 525,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 431,000
  9. Ten News First — 415,000
  10. The Project 6.30pm (Ten) — 304,000

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Sunrise: National: 464,000, Metro: 270,000 
  2. News Breakfast (ABC, ABC News) — 311,000
  3. Today: National: 300,000, Metro: 192,000 
  4. The Morning Show (Seven) — 226,000
  5. Today Extra (Nine) — 139,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 67,000

Top five pay TV programs: N/A

  1. NRL: Parramatta vs. Canterbury (Fox League) —242,000
  2. NRL: The Late Show With Matty Johns (Fox League) — 93,000
  3. NRL: Pre-Game (Fox League) — 63,000
  4. The Bolt Report (Sky News) — 56,000
  5. Supercars Melbourne (Fox Sports) — 54,000

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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