(Image: Adobe)

A plaintive call from Australia’s TV executives was heard just after nine o’clock on Friday morning. “Come out, wherever you are … just come home … please, there’s millions of dollars riding on your return”.

So far no answer as the Great Australian TV Ratings Mystery continues for the third morning in a row. At this point it’s almost a miniseries. Call it My Ratings Rule. House Ratings. I’m A TV Rating, Get Me Out of This Box. Or maybe MasterTheft: Who Burned The Ratings?

The TV ratings for Thursday joined those from Tuesday and Wednesday in cyber limbo (or purgatory) as Nielsen, the company that collects and collates the data, struggles to get its system back online after a ransomware attack earlier this week.

That means measurements of Big Brother’s final shows, Bachelor in Paradise and last night’s NRL and AFL games remain, well, a mystery, stuck as they are in the thousands of ratings meters in panel homes (and apartments, townhouses, etc) across the country, in both metro and regional markets.

While the meters have storage capacity (as do the reference sites), three complete days is an awful lot of data to be holding untransmitted. And there’s more coming down the pipeline. According to OzTam, which is owned by the free-to-air networks and provides official TV ratings data, there won’t be anything from Nielsen until next Wednesday at the earliest.

A case of digital indigestion looms? Stay tuned.