(Image: C-Span)

In blood sports news, more than 1.08 million Australians watched the first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on free-to-air and pay TV. The ABC led with 305,000, then Nine with 235,000 and Seven with 204,000. Around 88,000 people watched on SBS. There’s no accurate comparison with 2016 figures in Australia, but metro-only figures from that year show that around 560,000 watched on Seven, the ABC and SBS.

Meanwhile, 73 million TV viewers tuned in across 16 channels in the US according to Nielsen.

The total fell 13% short of the gangbuster ratings for the first presidential debate in 2016, when an estimated 84 million watched. Neither figure includes people who watched the debate on streaming video (either directly from the source or from TV networks), tuned in on radio or watched the debate in hotel rooms, bars and other venues. Nielsen’s figures include people who watched via internet-connected TV sets, but not people who streamed the event on other devices.

It’s largely in line with the viewership of 2012’s first presidential debate, when an estimated 67.2 million watched Barack Obama debate Mitt Romney. It topped audiences for all other debates going back to the single Carter-Reagan debate in 1980, which was watched by 80 million people.

Fox News was the top US network, drawing 17.8 million, followed by ABC with 12.6 million, NBC with 9.7 million and CNN with 8.3 million. Fox News said that it was the highest-rated presidential debate in cable news history. A record 24 million viewers watched a Fox News primary debate between Trump and other GOP contenders in 2015.

Trump trumpeted the Fox record claim for cable, but didn’t acknowledge the 13% slide in the total audience …

Nothing locally matched the madness of what we saw from the US. Last night saw Nine win from Seven, the ABC and Ten. Hard Quiz on the ABC managed 998,000, just behind The Block on Nine with 1.11 million, while Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell pulled in 838,000.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (29.3%)
  2. Seven (27.2%)
  3. ABC (19.3%)
  4. Ten (16.7%)
  5. SBS (7.5%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (21.3%)
  2. Seven (18.1%)
  3. ABC (15.4%)
  4. Ten (9.1%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.3%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7TWO (4.8%)
  2. 10 Bold (4.5%)
  3. 10 Peach (2.6%)
  4. 7mate (2.5%)
  5. Gem (2.4%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.590 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.535 million
  3. Nine/NBN News 6.30 — 1.298 million
  4. Nine/NBN News  — 1.296 million
  5. 7pm ABC News — 1.117 million
  6. The Block (Nine) —1.114 million
  7. Hard Quiz (ABC)   —- 998,000
  8. A Current Affair (Nine) — 996,000
  9. Home and Away (Seven) — 945,000
  10. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 921,000

Top metro programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.049 million
  2. Nine News — 1.017 million

Losers: A weak Wednesday apart from the ABC, again.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.049 million
  2. Nine News — 1.017 million
  3. Seven News 6.30 — 993,000
  4. Nine News 6.30  — 990,000
  5. 7pm ABC News — 773,000
  6. ACA (Nine) — 691,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 654,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 524,000
  9. Ten News First — 355,000
  10. The Project 6.30 (Ten) — 319,000

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) — 454,000/261,000
  2. Today (Nine) — 306,000/211,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC, ABC News) — 291,000/196,000
  4. The Morning Show (Seven) — 232,000
  5. Today Extra (Nine) — 172,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) —60,000

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. Gogglebox Australia (LifeStyle) — 196,000
  2. Paul Murray Live (Sky News) — 80,000
  3. The Bolt Report (Sky News) — 67,000
  4. Credlin (Sky News) — 66,000
  5. Alan Jones (Sky News) — 65,000

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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