Channel Nine's The Block (Image: Nine)

It’s late September and we’re still in the 2020 ratings battle, but prime time last night looked like the desert that Australian TV becomes over the long summer break.

Boring, dull, silly programs and viewers — who are not as stupid as the networks think they are — reacted accordingly, either turning off and Netflixing or tuning to the digital channels in the tens of thousands instead of watching the dross-laden main channels.

The turn on to the digital channels was so noticeable that 35.7% of people watching free-to-air TV last night were tuned in to the 19 digital channels (Seven Two, 7mate, 10 Bold, GO et al). That is the sort of share you get on an average summer evening. 

It was a replay of a week ago in terms of where the networks finished prime time in total people — Nine, Seven, the ABC and Ten — but on the main channels last night a big change as the ABC rose to second behind Nine and pushed Seven to third, with Ten fourth.

Ten naturally suffered (as it does on many nights) because of its just pitiful line-up, but Seven was again the major casualty (as predicted on Tuesday).

To make matters worse, from 7.30 to 8.30pm Seven ran fifth in market behind Nine (The Block with 1.14 million); the ABC, 7.30 with 878,000 until 8pm and Anh’s Brush With Fame from 8pm with 979,000; SBS’s Everyone Has A Secret averaged 373,000 from 7.30 to 8.30pm.

And Seven? The first ep of America’s Got Talent from 7.30pm to 8.40 or so averaged 356,000, and the second ep which ran until 10.15pm averaged 272,000 and just beat SBS’s Insight with 250,000 from 8.30 to 9.30pm.

In breakfast Sunrise led, though, with 467,000 national and 267,000 metro viewers and Today was on 307,000 and 212,000, but ABC News Breakfast again lost ground to average 278,000 and 183,000. That’s down more than 30,000 a morning on a fortnight or so ago.

In regional markets Seven News, 563,000; Seven News 6.30, 555,000; Home and Away, 396,000, The Chase Australia 5.30pm 383,000; 7pm ABC News, 345,000.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (30.3%)
  2. Seven (24.0%)
  3. ABC (19.7%)
  4. Ten (15.3%)
  5. SBS (9.2%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (21.2%)
  2. ABC (15.3%)
  3. Seven (14.6%)
  4. Ten (8.8%)
  5. SBS ONE (5.5%)

Top five digital channels: 

  1. 7mate (4.0%)
  2. 7TWO, 10 Bold (3.5%)
  3. GO (3.3%)
  4. 9Life (3.1%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.63 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.57 million
  3. Nine/NBN News 6.30  — 1.2 million
  4. Nine/NBN News   — 1.17 million
  5. The Block (Nine) — 1.14 million
  6. 7pm ABC News — 1.12 million
  7. The Chase Australia 5.30pm; Home and Away (Seven) — 985,000
  8. A Current Affair (Nine)  —- 980,000
  9. Anh’s Brush With Fame (ABC) — 979,000

Top metro programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.069 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.024 million

Losers:  Seven — bad.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.069 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.024 million
  3. Nine News 6.30 —923,000
  4. Nine News  — 910,000
  5. 7pm ABC News — 784,000
  6. ACA (Nine) — 678,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 615,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 462,000
  9. Ten News First — 318,000
  10. The Project 6.30 (Ten) — 282,000

Morning (national) TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) — 467,000/267,000
  2. Today (Nine) — 307,000/212,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC, ABC News) — 278,000/1832,000
  4. The Morning Show (Seven) — 231,000 
  5. Today Extra (Nine) — 159,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 473,000

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. Paul Murray Live (Sky News) —78,000
  2. The Bolt Report (Sky News) — 77,000
  3. Credlin (Sky News) — 76,000
  4. Wentworth (Fox Showcase) — 65,000
  5. Alan Jones (Sky News) —  64,000

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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