It is Seven’s third consecutive year at the top – this year managing an audience share of 28.8%, followed by Nine (26.8%), Ten (22.2%), ABC (16.4%) and SBS (5.9%). Taking the various networks’ digital channels into account, Seven/7TWO wins on 28.1%, followed by Nine/GO (26.6%), Ten/One (22.4%), ABC1/ABC2 (17.0%), SBS1/SBS2 (5.9%).
Seven’s primary chanel won 34 out of the 40 ratings weeks, though when adding primary and digital channels together, the Nine/GO combination brings Seven/7TWO’s total wins down to 29 weeks.
In the more advertiser-friendly demographics, Seven will claim victory in the 18-49 and 25-54 age groups (although adding Nine + GO will see them just edge ahead in 25-54), while Ten will claim victory in the 16-39 age bracket.
Although Seven continued to maintain strong consistency with its early evening line-up – Deal Or No Deal, Seven News, Today Tonight, Home And Away – and continued to score highly with its weekly drama Packed To The Rafters, there was one series that surprised everyone and created the year’s biggest buzz – Ten’s Masterchef Australia.
There was a lot of scoffing when Ten announced that it had taken on the Masterchef format to replace Big Brother, but the new show turned around the 7.00pm timeslot for Ten and the grand finale captured a total of 3.726 million viewers (OzTam, 5 cities) – making it the most-watched program for the year, even out-rating the AFL Grand Final (2.878 million), the Melbourne Cup (2.673 million) and the NRL Grand Final (2.528 million).
Ten also managed a surprise hit when it launched Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation in the wake of losing Thank God You’re Here to the Seven Network. The new Shaun Micallef show returned high figures with an average of 1.601 million viewers over its series, while Thank God You’re Here in its first series on Seven averaged 1.515 million viewers.
The Nine Network had a couple of stand-out hits this year – the second series in the Underbelly franchise (averaging 2.158 million viewers) and two top-rating Hey Hey It’s Saturday reunion specials (2.149 million and 2.213 million). Nine also scored well with the NRL State Of Origin series (2.121 million average) and the TV Week Logie Awards (1.664 million).
ABC’s best figures came from Midsomer Murders (1.421 million), New Tricks (1.221 million), Spicks And Specks (1.219 million), The Chaser’s War On Everything (1.203 million) and The Gruen Transfer (1.176 million).
The 2010 ratings season starts on Sunday 7 February and continues through to Saturday 27 November, with a two-week break over Easter. Next year will also mark a significant change in ratings reporting as it will also incorporate time-shift viewing via devices such as VCRs, personal video recorders (PVR) or branded equipment such as Tivo or Foxtel IQ.