Scott Morrison on an ABC News special with David Speers (Image: screenshot from ABC)

More than 1 million extra viewers watched free-to-air news across all networks last night. It’s a massive upsurge in viewing that made programs like Married at First Sight (1.56 million) look irrelevant and indulgent. 

COVID-19 boosted news and current affairs audiences across the day. The 7pm ABC News averaged 1.39 million, up 170,000 from a week earlier. Nine News averaged 1.71 million, up 182,000 on the previous Sunday’s 1.52 million. SBS News lifted its national audience by 80,000, while Ten’s News saw an extra 100,000 people tune in last night compared with the previous Sunday.

But the biggest gain came for Seven News (boosted by the second last AFL game of the season) with 2.04 million — up a massive 519,000 from the previous Sunday’s 1.52 million. All up, that’s an extra 1.05 million who watched the five main news broadcasts.

There's more to Crikey than you think.

Get more and save 50%.

Subscribe now

When ABC News finished at 7.40pm, there was also a special hosted by Insiders host David Speers. He interviewed Prime Minister Scott Morrison in what turned out to be a somewhat messy and combative chat. The special averaged around 1.31 million viewers. Seven also showed a virus special and it averaged a solid 1.51 million, while Nine’s special averaged 1.25 million. 

60 Minutes was also all COVID-19, with the audience jumping by more than 400,000 people to 1.54 million from the previous Sunday’s 1.14 million. In the morning Insiders had its biggest non-election audience of 861,000, enough for a top 10 finish for a second week. That was up from the previous Sunday’s 775,000.

Network channel share

  1. Nine (34.32%)
  2. Seven (26.3%)
  3. ABC (19.2%)
  4. Ten (14.3%)
  5. SBS (5.9%)

Network main channels

  1. Nine (27.5%)
  2. Seven (20.4%)
  3. ABC (11.5%)
  4. Ten (10.4%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.0%)

Top five digital channels

  1. ABC News (5.1%)
  2. 7mate (3.4%)
  3. Gem(2.9%)
  4. 10 Bold (2.6%)
  5. GO (2.5%)

Top 10 national programs

  1. Seven News — 2.045 million 
  2. Nine/NBN News   — 1.710 million
  3. MAFS (Nine) —1.503 million
  4. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.548 million
  5. Seven News Coronavirus Special — 1.512 million
  6. 7pm ABC News — 1.394 million
  7. COVID News Special (ABC) —1.310 million (preliminary)
  8. Border Security (Seven) — 1.153 million
  9. Insiders (ABC, ABC News) — 861,000
  10. The Good Doctor (Seven) — 813,000

Metro news and current affairs

  1. Seven News — 1.384 million
  2. Nine News — 1.267 million
  3. MAFS (Nine) — 1.154 million
  4. 60 Minutes — 1.136 million
  5. Seven News Coronavirus Special — 1.023 million
  6. COVID News Special (ABC) —1.010 million (preliminary)
  7. 7PM ABC News — 974,000
  8. The Sunday Project (Ten) — 457,000
  9. 10 News First — 401,000
  10. The Project 6.30pm —368,000

Morning (national) TV

  1. Insiders (ABC. ABC News) — 861,000
  2. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) — 563,000
  3. Landline (ABC) —  390,000
  4. Weekend Today (Nine) — 379,000
  5. Offsiders (ABC) — 352,000
  6. Sports Sunday (Nine) — 242,000

Top five pay TV programs

  1. NRL: Wests v Newcastle (Fox League) —249,000
  2. AFL: Hawthorn v Brisbane (Fox Footy) — 232,000
  3. NRL: Gold Coast v Parramatta (Fox League) —218,000
  4. AFL: West Coast v Melbourne (Fox Footy) — 149,000
  5. Paul Murray Live (Sky News) — 149,000

There's more to Crikey than you think.

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

And now you get more from your membership than ever before.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
Get more and save 50%